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Tuesday, July 12, 2016 Verbs: Past Tense

Have you ever talked to writers who are waaaay too smart, and they start talking about “present perfect verbs” or things like that? It can make you feel like you don’t know all that you should about grammar. Truth is, it is really helpful to learn the verb tenses, or at least recognize them, so you can have proper parallelism in your papers (where all the verb tenses are consistent). We’re going to start a min-series on the different verb tenses, so let’s get right into past tense verbs!

There are four past tenses that we can look at: simple past, past perfect, past continuous, and past perfect continuous.

Simple Past

This is definitely the most “simple” past tense verb because it defines an event that happened in the past. Here are a few quick examples of the simple past tense:

  • I wrote my paper.
  • I baked delicious brownies.
  • I stared out the window.
  • I cut out some snowflakes.

Past Perfect

This verb tense is used within a sentence to show that one thing in a sentence happened before another thing. This verb tense always uses the word “had” and then the past participle (form of a verb used as an adjective or noun). Here are some examples of the past perfect tense:

  • She had tripped down the stairs so many times.
  • The girl set the timer, but not until after she had put the cake in the oven.
  • The sunflowers had already bloomed.
  • After he had eaten, he went in the pool.

Past Continuous

When someone is talking about this verb tense, it means they are talking about a past tense of “be” (was and were) and the present participle. This one isn’t too difficult! Here are some examples of past continuous tense:

  • She was crying a lot.
  • The group was running quickly away from the mud monster.
  • His eyes were burning from a continuous eight hours of video games.
  • The fish was swimming upstream.

Past Perfect Continuous

Wow, this is a mouthful! But if you pay close attention, you’ll get it right every time. This verb tense includes "had been” and the present participle. Here are a few examples of past perfect continuous tense:

  • The dog had been waiting for his owner since he left that morning.
  • My friend had been eating all day since the food at the fair was free.
  • The plant had been growing steadily ever since I poured coffee in the soil.
  • Before we saw the movie, my dad had been mowing the lawn and my mother had been shopping for groceries.

If you want to get ahead, check out the grammar tenses from Grammarly. Work on identifying these and you will have verb tenses down in no time!

Posted at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)
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