Past Complete

Report events that ocurred in the past

Young man thinking about speeding ticketspeeding
 

 

Past vs. Past Progressive

PAST

Past Tense is used for a completed activity or event before the current moment.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
NP PAST VERB NP / PP / AdjP

Jack

received 

a speeding ticket on June 16th. (exact time)

Jack

didn't think

responsibly. (more permanent – his character)

Jack

attended

traffic school online at night.  (indefinite time)

Jack

daydreamed  

a lot. (more permanent – his character)

Jack

was

more careful after that. (permanent)

PAST PROGRESSIVE

Past Progressive emphasizes the duration or the repetition of a past activity or event. When used with the past (nonprogressive) it indicates a background activity.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
NP PAST PROGRESSIVE NP / PP / AdjP

Jack

was receiving

a speeding ticket when a friend drove by.(relative time)

Jack

wasn't thinking

responsibly. (at the moment while speeding)

Jack

was attending

traffic school online every evening for a week. (repetition)

Jack

was daydreaming

while he was driving. (relative time)

Jack

was being

more careful after that.  (was becoming)
 

 

traffic school – a course that one has to take to reduce a traffic fine (penalty)
complement – a word, phrase or clause which is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and verb; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past

Adverbs and Time Expressions

 

 

 

Adverbs for Both Past & Past Progressive Tenses

PAST & PAST PROGRESSIVE ADVERBS

Past tense verbs are used with adverbs specifying a past time or frequency of occurrence. The emphasis is on action.

AT, IN, ON AGO, LAST THIS, THAT

A specific time in the past (calendar or clock times)

A past time based on quantity or calendar units

A past time before the current time  (near, far)

at 6:00 AM(at noon, at midnight)

a day ago (second, minute, hour, , week, month, year)  

this Monday (week, month, year)  "the near, recent one"

on January 10 (Thursday)

last night (week, month, winter, year) 

that Monday (week, month, year)  

in January (month)  / in 2006  (year)

yesterday

 

these/ those weeks (days, months, years) 

in the 1960s  (decade)

   
 

 

 
PAST & PAST PROGRESSIVE ADVERBS

Past progressive verbs are used with adverbs specifying a past time, or expressing duration. The emphasis is on time.

RELATIVE TIME  FREQUENCY DURATION

A time relative to another past activity

A time that reoccurred in the past   

A time with duration in the past   

when he saw it¹

always (routinely, customarily, as a rule)

for three weeks (days, months, years) "a quantity of time"

while he was looking at it¹

usually (in general, normally)

from Monday to Friday  (a span of time)

whenever he looked at it²

often (frequently, half of the time) /

during the 1960s  (a period of time)

anytime he looked at it²

sometimes (occasionally, on occasion)

over the past few years (days, months)

if he looked at it

rarely (seldom, hardly ever, not ever, never)
 

continuously (continually)

 

¹ a relative time When/While.
² Wh-ever  and anytime clauses.
³several times is not used with the progressive past tense
ago (prep.) – is originally from "agone" meaning past. It is currently analyzed as a post-position preposition (Huddleston 7 4.2)
last (adj.) – is the superlative form of late. late, later, last

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verb Pairing with Adverbs

Short and Long Duration

 

 

 

Short or Long Duration?

SHORTER DURATION

The action expressed by the meaning of a verb may have relatively short duration.

ask

answer¹

arrive

begin

break

buy

call

catch

close

drop

end

exit

fall

finish

give

look

meet

open

pay

pick

push

put

stand up

tear

thank

turn off

wave

LONGER DURATION

Or the action expressed may have longer duration.  The duration depends on the context.

argue

answer¹

build

carry

come

continue

cry

dress

drink

eat

explain

fight

grow

hope

keep

prepare

rain

read

ride

send

sit

sleep

study

travel

walk

wash

watch

 

¹ Short duration:  He answered my questions whenever I asked him something.  Long duration:  He was answering my question when the phone rang.

 

 

 

Matching Adverbs with Verbs

NONPROGRESSIVE VERB

Adverbs of short duration (specific time) are paired with verbs expressing activities with short duration.   Talk could be a short or long action. Arrive is usually a quicker action.

ADVERB OF SHORT DURATION

We arrived home at noon (v. – short)
We talked at noon (a quick exchange of words?)

ADVERB OF LONGER DURATION

We talked during our lunch hour. / for an hour.
*We arrived during our lunch hour. / for an hour

PROGRESSIVE VERB

Adverbs of longer duration are paired with verbs expressing activities of longer duration (whether or not the verb is progressive or nonprogressive.)

ADVERB OF SHORT DURATION

*We were arriving home at noon.¹ 

ADVERB OF LONGER DURATION

We were talking during our lunch hour. / for an hour.

 

¹ Except 1:  (routine)  At what time were you usually arriving? We were arriving home at noon. (A repeated activity may be expressed with past progressive.)

¹ Except 2:  (backgrounding)  What were you doing when the earthquake occurred? We were arriving home when it happened. (An ongoing activity or background activity at a specific point in time may be expressed with the present progressive.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past

Word Order

 

 

 

AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT AUXILIARY VERB MAIN VERB REST OF SENTENCE CLAUSE
STATEMENT           
 

Jack

 

drove

home carefully. 

 

 

Jack and his friend

 

drove

home carefully.

 

QUESTION          

Did 

Jack

 

drive   

home carefully?

 

Did 

Jack and his friend

 

drive   

home carefully?

 

*TAG QUESTION          
 

Jack

 

drove

home carefully,

didn't he?

 

Jack and his friend

 

drove

home carefully,

didn't they?

NEGATIVE           
 

Jack

didn't

drive

home carefully.

 

 

Jack and his friend

didn't

drive

home carefully.

 

†EMPHASIS          
 

Jack

did

drive

home carefully.

 

 

Jack and his friend

did

drive

home carefully.
 

 

A tag question can also occur with a negative main clause and a positive add-on clause: Jack didn't drive home carefully, did he?   Related page: And so / too   
†Use emphasis word order when contradicting or stating that the opposite is true: — I think that Jack didn't drive carefully.   — No, he did drive carefully." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spelling Patterns

Suffixes

 

 

 

Regular & Irregular Suffixes (endings)

Suffix –ED FINAL E

woman winkingFor most verbs, add -ed

phone userFor verbs ending in e, add -d.

wink

winked

phone

phoned

ask

asked

bike

biked

want

wanted

date

dated

need

needed

save

saved

FINAL -Y CONSONANT DOUBLING

friedFor verbs ending in -y, remove the y and add -ied.

For words ending with a stressed syllable [C+short vowel+C], double the final consonant and add -ed.

cry

cried

bag

bagged

fry

fried

wed

wedded

dry

dried

pop

popped

try

tried

excel

excelled

 

C – consonant, V – vowel

 

 

 

Double the consonant after a short vowel and add the suffix -ed.

What is a "short" vowel?  These words contain "short" vowel sounds.  

short a — /næp/

short e — /wɛd/

short i — /zɪp/

short o — /tʃɒp/

short u — /hʌg/

napnapping

wedwedding

zip zip

chop chop

hug bumble bee

  

Just a few past tense verbs with a doubled consonant

nap –   napped

wed – wedded

zip – zipped

chop – chopped

hug – hugged

bag –  bagged

step – stepped

clip – clipped

pop – popped

rub – rubbed

bat  –   batted

beg – begged

pit – pitted

jog –   jogged

hum – hummed

wrap – wrapped

trek – trekked

kid  – kidded (joked)

spot – spotted

sun – sunned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irregular Spellings

Vowel Changes

 

 

 

Irregular Past Tense Verb Forms

PRESENT PAST

awake

awoke

beat

beat

begin

began

bite

bit

blow

blew

bring

brought

buy

bought

choose

chose

cost

cost

dig

dug

draw

drew

drive

drove

PRESENT PAST

fall

fell

feel

felt

find

found

forgive

forgave

get

got

go

went

hang

hanged / hung

hear

heard

hit

hit

hurt

hurt

know

knew

lay

laid

 

 

 

 

 

PRESENT PAST

let

let

lie

lay

lose

lost

loosen

loosened

meet

met

put

put

read

read

ring

rang

run

ran

see

saw

send

sent

shake

shook

PRESENT PAST

shut

shut

sit

sat

slide

slid

spend

spent

stand

stood

stick

stuck

swim

swam

teach

taught

tell

told

throw

threw

wake

woke

wear

wore

 

Related page: Participle Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Focus and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

I worked there since a year ago.

I was attending classes several times.
 

ERROR

I worked there a year ago. (indefinite time)
I was working there for a year. (defined period)

I attended classes several times.   (repeated activity)
I was attending classes often. (routine activity)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

George's Study Abroad

Greece
 

 

Past Progressive versus Nonprogressive

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.


for good (expression) – forever

9.

10.


firm – a small company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

tent
 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select an option (correct or incorrect) as your response.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check button.

 

11.
Two friends, and my brother and I went on a weekend trip after school finished in June.

   

12.
We put everything in the back of my car and drived to the mountains to camp for a week.

   

13.
When we arrived there, we setted up our camp site and prepared for lunch.

   

14.
tentSuddenly, my brother said, "Dude, where you put the tent?"

   

15.
replied, "Uh…I thot you pack the tent."

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Camping (without a tent)

stream
 

 

Read for Errors

By accident, we left our tent at home.  We have no idea how to get by without a tent at night. The first night, we were hanging a string between two trees and throwed a blanket over it. However, the blanket falled in our faces, so we sleeping in the car. The next night, we tide the corners of the blanket down. The blanket was stayed in place, but the mosquitoes eating us alive.

As the campers next to us leaving, we ask to buy their old tent.  They agree to sold it to us for very little money. Our problem was solved.  The same day, we catched fish and fryed them. We staying up late and have a good time until the camp fire went out. So we called it a night, crawl into our tent and were falling peacefully asleep.

get by (phrasal verb) – survive with the minimum; live without something

ate us alive (expression) – bit or stung us several times

solve (v.) – to find a way to fix or end a problem

the fire went out – was extinguished, the flame was gone

call it a night (expression) – end the late-evening or late-night activity
crawl (v.) – move on hands and knees

 

 

 

 

Edit for errors.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.
16.
By accident, we left the tent at home.  We have no idea how to get by without a tent at night.


17.
Blanket and rope tentThe first night, we were hanging a rope between two trees and throwed a blanket over it.


18.
However, the blanket falled in our faces, so we sleeping in the car.


19.
tie cornersThe next night, we tide the corners of the blanket down.


20.
The blanket was stayed in place, but the mosquitoes eating us alive.


21.
As the campers next to us leaving, we ask to buy their old tent.


22.
They agree to sold it to us for very little money. Our problem was solved.


23.
The same day, we catched fish and fryed them.


24.
campfireWe staying up late and have a good time until the camp fire went out.


25.
crawlSo we called it a night, crawl into our tent and were falling peacefully asleep.