Past Tense:

Types, Definition, & Some Examples

In English language, tenses are important skills that need to be mastered in order to be able to frame the sentence correctly for proper verbal and written communication. By the age of 4 or 5 years, most schools in Dubai & other regions, teach children what verbs are. Verbs are nothing but words that indicate an action. Some examples of verbs are; run, sing, jump, eat, etc. suggesting that an action is happening.

Tenses are related to verbs in the sense that it defines when the verb or action has taken place. All verbs follow three basic tenses; past, present, and future. This means the action (cooking) is either done in the past, is being done in the present, or will be done in the future. Let us study the Past Tense in detail, through this Blog.

Past Tense

As the name suggests, the past tense is used to speak about an event that happened in the past or talk about an action that has already happened. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines the term ‘past tense’ as “the form of a verb used to describe actions in the past.”

I jumped on the playground.
I completed my homework.
I was reading a book.
I got married in the summer season.

These are all activities that happened in the past, and they could be recent past or events that happened quite some time ago. Reading Eggs is an excellent platform that is available online for kids of ages 2 – 13 years. Children who are studying the concept of tenses can refer to story books available on Reading Eggs and practice their tense by finding sentences from the story and writing down the appropriate tense it belongs to. A single Reading Eggs account can be accessible by up to 4 children and therefore parents in the Middle East and GCC regions rely on it wholeheartedly.

We use four different types of past tenses so that there is enough clarity and the reference of the event is understood in the correct context.

Type of Past Tense


Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Simple Past Tense This indicates that the action or occurrence happened in the past and is over now John won the Gold medal I yawned I went to the mall
Past Continuous Tense It indicates that the event is still ongoing or happening and hasn’t ended yet I was playing tennis Thiea was working on her research paper He was smiling during his visit to the garden
Past Perfect Tense When an event precedes another event in the past, we use past perfect tense. In simple words, it is an event that happened before another event in the simple past tense I had already won 5 quiz competitions by the time I was 13 years old across the UAE The car had already exceeded the speed limit before they got caught by the cops My dog Scooby had already eaten all the chicken before we got home.
Past Perfect Continuous Tense It is an event that began in the past, continued for a period of time, and is still ongoing when another past event happened. John had been eating chocolates when Dad walked into the kitchen. You had been waiting here for 3 hours before your father arrived She had been going to the same gym glass for years before it shut down.
Type of Past Tense  Positive  Negative Question
Simple Past Tense I graduated from this school I didn’t graduate from this school Did I graduate from this school?
Past Continuous Tense I was working on my assignment I wasn’t working on my assignment Were you working on your assignment?
Past Perfect Tense I had completed my cooking before everyone else even started I hadn’t completed my cooking before everyone else even started Had I completed my cooking before everyone else even started?
Past Perfect Continuous Tense I had been repairing my phone, before the technician came over I hadn’t been repairing my phone, before the technician came over Had she been repairing her phone before the technician came over?

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