Curso First Certificate Exam



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The past - Part 1






The Past Simple formula is:

verb  +  –ed   [for regular verbs]
verb  +  irregular past   [for irregular verbs]

The regular past form is made by adding -ed to the infinitive:

paint  >>  painted        look  >>  looked

Irregular past forms must be learnt by heart:

go  >>  went        know  >>  knew        rise  >>  rose

The past simple indicates an action which happened, or a state which existed, at a time in the past. The time reference is given or understood from the context:

I went back to it a few years ago.
The name of the house was Grasslands.

Some examples of adverbials used to refer to past time are:

yesterday   /   last year   /   in 2001
a week ago
   /   at the end of the last century
earlier this month
   /   when I was a child


You can express past habits with the past simple and an adverbial such as always or twice a week:

Mariana always made a delicious chocolate cake.
My grandmother baked bread twice a week.

You can also use the structures used to + infinitive or would/'d + infinitive:

My grandmother used to make ice cream and we'd eat it in the kitchen.

These forms show that something happened regularly in the past, but that it no longer happens. Please, remember that would is more common in written than in spoken English.


The Past Progressive (also Past Continuous) formula is:

was / were  +  –ing form

It was snowing but she left all the same.
Grandma was baking a coffee cake.

The past progressive indicates an action in progress at a particular time in the past. It suggests that the action was temporary and incomplete:

Her parents were working abroad at the time.

Often the past progressive action is interrupted by another action; the past simple is used for the interrupting action:

I was picking and eating the strawberries in the garden when my grandmother came to the window and told me to stop.

The past progressive also indicates background in a story:

All the furniture was wearing clothes.
It was snowing. Night was falling. Johnny walked to the window.
He was waiting for someone ...


The Past Perfect Simple formula is:

had  +  past participle

The house had shrunk.

The past perfect indicates an action that happened, or a state that existed, at some time before another action or state in the past:

Laura went back to it a few years ago and she had the feeling that the house had shrunk; it had become smaller.


Interesantes explicaciones de Mr. Grammar (y muy útlles los enlaces de Mr. Help) !!!En la página siguiente tendrás la oportunidad de poner en práctica los aprendido ...


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