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A pre-intermediate lesson on some past tenses

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There are many different verb tenses we can use to talk about the past.

The past simple is used to talk about finished and completed actions in the past, e.g. my friend phoned me last night.

We can also use two past simple verbs if there were two actions that happened right after each other, e.g. the cup fell and broke.

The past perfect is used to express the sequence of events/actions and to emphasize which one happened first, e.g. when I arrived at the party my friend had left. i.e. my friend was not there anymore. She had left before I came and I did not see her.

The past continuous is used to describe an action in progress at a particular time in the past.

Note: A flatmate is someone you share an apartment with. Flat is apartment in British English.

Look at the following sentences of my flatmate and I. Match them with the correct meaning.

Lesson by Danica, EC Cape Town English School

  • 1 - When I arrived home my flatmate made dinner




  • 2 - When I arrived home my flatmate had made dinner




  • 3 - When I arrived home my flatmate was making dinner




  • 4 - I cleaned the dishes after we had had our dinner



  • 5 - I cleaned the dishes after we had our dinner



  • 6 - When I was finished with the kitchen we drank a glass of wine




  • 7 - When I was finished with the kitchen we were drinking a glass of wine




  • 8 - When I was finished with the kitchen we had drunk a glass of wine




  • 9 - When we said goodnight we had a good conversation




  • 10 - When we said goodnight we had had a good conversation




  • 11 - When we said goodnight we were having a good conversation




  • 12 - When I closed my room door my flatmate was playing some music




  • 13 - When I closed my room door my flatmate had played some music




  • 14 - When I closed my room door my flatmate played some music