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Past Tenses by Mind Map: Past Tenses

1. Past Simple (verb + ed or irregular past form)

1.1. past actions which happened one immediately after the other

1.1.1. She stood up, went up to her and grabbed her wrists (yesterday).

1.1.2. Time words/expressions: yesterday

1.2. completed actions or events which happened at a stated past time

1.2.1. I went to the cinema last night.

1.2.2. Time words/expressions: last week/month etc, just now

1.3. past habits or states

1.3.1. My grandfather always wore a hat then.

1.3.2. Time words/expressions: (how long) ago, then

1.4. completed actions not connected to the present, with a stated or implied time reference

1.4.1. Beethoven created wonderful classical pieces in 18th and 19th centuries.

1.4.2. Time words/expressions: when, in 1991

2. Past Continuous (was/were + verb -ing)

2.1. actions in the middle of happening at a stated past time

2.1.1. She was flying to Paris this time last Monday.

2.1.2. Time words/expressions: this time (some certain time in the past)

2.2. a past action in progress interrupted by another past action

2.2.1. I was watching television when my mother came home.

2.2.2. Time words/expressions: when

2.3. two or more simultaneous past actions of certain duration

2.3.1. I was reading while my brother was listening to the music.

2.3.2. Time words/expressions: while

2.4. background description to events in a story

2.4.1. As he was walking through the woods, the birds were singing and the sun was shining brightly.

2.4.2. Time words/expressions: as

3. Past Perfect (had + past participle)

3.1. a past action which occured before another action or before a stated past time

3.1.1. She had typed all the letters by 10 o'clock.

3.1.2. Time words/expressions: by, by the time, before, yet

3.2. completed past actions which had visible results in the past

3.2.1. She was crying because she had lost her job.

3.2.2. Time words/expressions: never, just, after

3.3. the Past Perfect is the past equivalent of Present Perfect

3.3.1. She is/was tired; she has/had painted the room.

3.3.2. Time words/expressions: already, since, for

4. Past Perfect Continuous (had been + verb -ing)

4.1. actions continuing over a period up to a specific time in the past

4.1.1. He had been working in Brussels for three years before he moved to London.

4.1.2. Time words/expressions: for, since

4.2. past actions of certain duration which had visible results in the past

4.2.1. Her feet were swollen because she had been walking all morning.

4.2.2. Time words/expressions: for, since

4.3. the Past Perfect Continuous is the past equivalent of Present Perfect Continuous.

4.3.1. I'm tired. I've been gardening/I had been gardening since early morning.

4.3.2. Time words/expressions: for, since

5. Present Perfect (have + past participle)

5.1. recently completed actions

5.1.1. My father has finished painting the house.

5.1.2. Time words/expressions: so far, how long

5.2. completed past actions connected to the present, with stated or unstated time reference

5.2.1. I have worked all day and I'm tired.

5.2.2. Time words/expressions: always, yet (negations & questions), already

5.3. personal experiences or changes which have happened

5.3.1. Sally has gained some weight recently.

5.3.2. Time words/expressions: never, ever, just

6. Present Perfect Continuous (have been + verb -ing)

6.1. actions started in the past and continuing up to the present

6.1.1. I have been studying for the Maths test for three hours.

6.1.2. Time words/expressions: for (=over a period of time), today, this week/month

6.2. past actions of certain duration having visible results or effects in the present

6.2.1. She has been lying in the sun for several hours and now she has sunburn.

6.2.2. Time words/expressions: just, ever

6.3. expressing anger, irritation, annoyance, explanation or criticism

6.3.1. Time words/expressions: since (= from a starting point in the past), recently

6.3.2. He has been playing that horrible music all day long since morning.