Past Tense Verbs with Past Perfect Tense – Basics

Let’s learn Past Tense Verbs!

Past Tense Verbs with Past Perfect Tense – Basics

Past tense verbs along with past perfect tense are well explained with definitions, explanations, and a lot of examples. There are several examples for your better understanding, along with the definition, rules of use, and syntax. Let’s get into the article!

What are Past Tense verbs?

Past Tense Definition

According to the rules of English Grammar, there are four types of past tense in use. As you already know, past tense and past tense verbs are used to denote an action that is completed in the past.

Having a sound knowledge about this tense is very important since it helps us describe:

  • an incident,
  • our experience,
  • or a story that happened in the past.

In this post, we are going to examine these four types of the verb in detail with relevant examples for better understanding. So, let’s take a look at them one by one.

What are the Different Forms of Past Tense?

There are four types of past tense verbs, namely

past tense verbs past perfect tense types
Past tense verbs past perfect tense types
  • Simple Past Tense
  • Past Progressive Tense
  • Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Now, we are going to examine each of these verb tenses, coupled with a few examples for each one of them. But keep in mind, just knowing the concept and the usage is not enough.

You need to apply the knowledge in your day-to-day conversation.

Language can be best practiced with a partner. So after you study the following concepts just find a partner and keep on practicing.

Past Tense Examples

There are several examples for each type of present tenses. We will see many examples with all types of past tenses. So, let’s get started.

Simple Past Tense

What are the Simple Past Tenses?

The first part is the simple past. Most of the time, this past tense is formed by adding -ed’ to the infinitive form of the verb.

For example: to play becomes ——> I/you/he/she/it/we/they played).

[Here, play —> played]

But there are a few exceptions to this as well. Like for example, ‘to eat’ does not take ‘ed’ to become simple past tense.

  • It becomes I/you/he/she/it/we/they ate. [Here, eat —> ate]
  • Something similar can be seen with ‘to do’ as well, where the verb becomes I/you/he/she/it/we/they did. [Here, do —> did]

Also, with this form, you won’t need a verb modifier like to have or to be like you need to use for some of the other past tense verb forms discussed below.

Primarily, there are two reasons for which you can use the simple past verb tense. It describes –

  • You can use this tense to describe situations or activities that began in the past and finished in the past.
  • Also, you can use this tense to denote someone’s emotional state in the past (i.e., how they felt).

At times, this tense can take on some adverb time modifiers to describe the stretch of time. Like, how far in the past, the action, situation (or emotion) occurred.

Let’s understand this idea with a few examples:

  • I completed all my accounts yesterday.
  • My father bought a pie three days ago, and now it’s starting to smell a bit funny.

So as you can see here, the adverb is qualifying the time frame of the action.

Simple Past Tense Structure

The syntax:

Subject + Verb 2nd form + Object

I played football

Here, I (Subject) + played (2nd Form for Verb) + football (Object)

Simple Past Tense Examples

Let’s look at a few other examples that illustrate this tense:

  • I talked about my favorite sports-personalities in class yesterday.
  • The police arrested the thief last night.
  • He died two days ago out of a heart attack.

Past Continuous Tense

What is Past Tense Continuous?

The next tense we have is the past continuous progressive which is also known as the past progressive verb tense.

  • This tense is formed by adding the past variants of the ‘be verb’ along with the infinitive with ends with ‘ing’ (e.g., ‘to dance’ becomes I was dancing).
  • The past progressive tense is primarily used to talk or write about incidents or actions that started sometime before the present time, but it continued at one point in the past.

If we look at the example mentioned above, we can understand that the subject of the sentence is not dancing in the present. The action started in the past and has continued.

Instead of just stopping the dance and doing some other activity, the action continued; at least that’s what the tense is suggesting.

  • But the context is often a bit unclear.
  • Because, in such a scenario, we can also use the present perfect progressive tense like ‘I have been singing’.

But what if you wish to remove this vagueness? Then you would have to use a time-frame for the past progressive tense.

For that, you can use a time-based adverb to clarify the situation. But that will turn it into past perfect progressive tense.

I had been teaching his son every Saturday since last week.

Past Tense Continuous Structure


Subject + was/were + verb + ing + object

I was playing football

Here, I (Subject) + was + play (verb) + ing + football (Object)

Past Continuous Tense Examples

But now, let’s look at a few other examples that illustrate the use of past progressive tense.

  • I was eating an ice-cream at a party at my friend’s place when the child started crying.
  • They were fidgeting with their phones while the teacher was talking about all algebra.

Past Perfect Tense

What is Past Perfect Tense?

The next one we have is the past perfect, where the verb forms often take another verb to modify the primary action. Keep in mind that in this tense, the past form of the verb ‘to have’ tends to precede the simple past verb tense. Confusing?

Let’s look at one example.

  • They had worked on the project.

Past Perfect Tense Use

Primarily there are two reasons to use this tense form:

  • You can use this tense to denote a situation that happened in the past and completed in the past.
  • Plus, it must be followed by another action which is also completed before the present time.
  • This intermediate time-frame is indicated by this tense.
  • Also, this tense can be used to describe two different actions; both happened in the past but are directly related to each other despite taking place at a different point in time.

Past Perfect Tense Structure


Subject + had + verb 3rd form + object

I had played football

Here, I (Subject) + had + played [verb 3rd form] + football (Object)

Past Perfect Tense Examples

Let’s look at some examples that illustrate this tense:

  • My father had missed the birthday party with us because he had been working long hours at the office.
  • I had kept a goldfish for a pet when I was seven years old, but when it died suddenly, my mom brought home a puppy on my birthday.

Past Perfect Continuous

What is Past Perfect Continuous Tense?

The last tense is the past perfect continuous tense, which is also referred to as the past perfect progressive tense. The past perfect tense is formed using the past participle form of the verb ‘to have’ as the auxiliary verb along with the continuous of the main verb.

But much like present perfect continuous tense, here also, you need to use ‘been’.

For example: John had been talking for hours.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense use

Where can you use this tense?

  • It can be used to describe the cause of another activity.
  • You can also use this tense to describe a time-based activity that happened in the past.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Structure


Subject + had + been + verb + ing + object

I had been playing football

Here, I (Subject) + had + been + play (verb) + ing + football (Object)

Past Perfect Continuous Examples

Let’s look at a few other examples:

  • All my cousins had been hoping to go to watch the movie this Wednesday, but the plan had to be canceled due to bad weather.
  • He had been reading a book about India when his mom called him downstairs.

Negative Sentences in the Past Tense

Usually compared to the present tense, we use ‘Didn’t’ to turn the past sentences into negative sentences. This same rule is implied for both regular and irregular verbs in English except for the modals.

Always remember that the negative sentence will only be denoted by the auxiliary verbs in the past tense.

For example:

  • He didn’t want to go to school.
  • They didn’t listen to him at that time.

Questions in the Past Tense

Usually, we use ‘did’ to make the sentence into an interrogative one in the past tense. This rule is the same for both regular and irregular verbs in English except for the modal verbs like ‘Can’.

Always remember, it’s the auxiliary verb that makes the sentence interrogative.

Also, instead of ‘DO’ or ‘DOES’, we use ‘Didn’t’ in past tense questions.


  • Did you see that?
  • Did they reach the school on time?
  • Did you like the gift?

Past Tense & Various Rules and Uses

I believe, after reading the above discussion on the use of the past tenses, you now have a solid understanding of the various forms of past tense. The best way to judge your knowledge is to start,

  •  reading books,
  • comics, or
  • internet articles.

Start reading stuff like Wikipedia and see if you can identify the use of the tense and the verb forms.

  • So whenever you read something new, always refer back to the things you learned here.
  • You can use this method while reading, writing, or talking about something new.
  • Try and use these tenses while describing an incident that happened a few days ago to your parents or friends.
  • You can verify your mistakes with the help of your friends.
  • The moment you find a new verb or expression, look it up in the dictionary.
  • It is an outstanding practice to learn new things and expand your knowledge.
  • As I said earlier, practice is the key to everything.
  • If you continue practicing grammar, it will come naturally to you, and you will be able to express yourself much better than before.

You can check worksheets of past tense verbs for practice.

Past Tense Verbs Uses

Let’s us try to find out a list of past tense verbs used in our daily life:

Description Answers
Past tense lay Laid
Past tense see Saw
Past tense seek Sought
Past tense bite Bit
Past tense wear Weared / Wore
Past tense buy Bought
Past tense think Thought
Past tense rise Rose
Past tense of ride Rode
Past tense drink Drunk
Past tense of buy Bought
Past tense of fly Flew
Past tense eat Ate
Past tense hear Heard
Past tense of run Ran
Past tense hide Hid
Past tense throw Threw
Past tense run Ran
Past tense go Went
Past tense of swim Swam
Past tense sing Sang
Past tense catch Caught
Past tense hit Hit
Past tense leave Left
Past tense of be Was
Past tense cost Cost / Costed
Past tense beat Beat
Past tense lose Lost
Past tense hurt Hurt
Past tense learn Learned
Past tense cut Cut
Past tense put Put
Past tense take Took
Past tense have Had
Past tense bear Borne
Past tense build Built
Past tense write Wrote
Past tense ring Rang
Past tense quit Quit / Quitted
Past tense grind Ground / grinded
Past tense add Added
Past tense begin Began
Past tense sleep Slept
Past tense give Gave
Past tense hold Held
Past tense pay Paid
Past tense do Did
Past tense make Made
Past tense come Came
Past tense break Broke
Past tense keep Kept
Past tense get Got
Past tense arise Arose
Past tense blow Blew
Past tense are Broke
Past tense talk Were
Past tense play Played
Past tense grow Grew
Past tense become Became

Further Study


Let us know your questions on the different forms of past tense verbs and their uses in the comments section, and we’ll indeed get back to you with befitting examples.

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