Past Tenses (Narrative Tenses)

Past Simple

Basic Logic

  • We use Past Simple to give the main story facts and actions

  • A story can be told in Past Simple alone. It will focus on the main facts, but won't be very interesting

Form

V2

didn't + V1

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Phyllis got ready for work, left home and fell down the stairs.

Our story makes sense. You've got the facts right. The story isn't interesting though because there is no picture.

Past Continuous

Basic Logic

  • Paints a picture

  • Gives context

Form

was/were + Ving

wasn't/weren't + Ving

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The sun was shining. She was leaving for work. She was wearing her favorite dress. She was thinking about her vacation so she wasn't paying attention.

Our original story is now much more interesting. We actually feel for the hero because we see a picture, we have context to what happened to her.

Past Continuous is used to paint pictures or give context in the past.

Past Perfect

Basic Logic

  • Explains the past

  • Gives background to the main facts and actions

Form

had + V3

hadn't + V3

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She had just booked her tickets.

Our story is now more engaging. We have background.

 

Past Perfect is used for actions external to the main story that help explain or give background. 

More complex timelines

Practice with 3D Stories

Build up the reflexes of your students with 3D stories.

Instead of doing classic fill-in-the-blanks type exercises where students simply pick up on a false logic that there is one Past Simple and one Past Continuous in each sentence, try something more real life.

Get your students to make a story more interesting. The story is dull simply because it is all in Past Simple: fact after fact, action after action.

 

Students will practice by painting a picture, adding context when they feel like it would enhance the story

 

Students will practice by adding background, explaining the past when they feel it would make the story clearer.

This is story telling. This is understanding and using Narrative Tenses fluently.

EFL Materials designed to be flexible and independent for the teacher, and to build up in fluency and confidence for the student.

 

Contact us if you have more questions about our teacher support.

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