Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerbsPast › Past Series

Past — Series

Report a sequence of past events

Young man thinking about speeding ticket


Placing Importance on What versus When


The past tense is used to narrate a series of events. That is to say, we talk about one activity that happens after another. The focus is on what happened, not when.


napping1. Jack dozed off and started dreaming.  (fell asleep)

Babe sitting on hood of sports car2. Two "babes" (young women) in a Corvette waved at Jack.

Babe removing sunglasses and winking3. They pulled up next to his car and one winked, which he understood as an offer to a race.

car on highway4. He raced them down the highway.

Police car speed down road with siren on5. He heard a police siren.

car chase6. A highway patrol officer chased after him.

napping7. He woke up from his nap (daydream).


The past perfect tense contrasts the timing of two events in the past:  earlier past from later past. It clarifies which activity occurred before the other.   We use it when we place importance on the different timing of the activities.


Jack had noticed the women in their Corvette

before they pulled along side of his car and challenged him to race.



Jack had passed them at 120 mph

when he noticed the highway patrol behind him.




Jack woke up and realized  

that he had been dreaming.


babes – very informal word for young women








Jack's Day Dream




Select the verb tenses.

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


   Suddenly, I



  1. Select an option as your response.
  2. Compare your response to the answer by clicking the check button.


What tense was used to tell the sequence of events in the story above?

Why was the past perfect used in the last sentence? # 17

Can both these tenses be used?