Past simple

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The Past Simple Tense

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The past tense is used to indicate actions or events that happened in the past time. It is of three types:

  1. The Simple Past Tense
  2. The Past Continuous Tense
  3. The Past Perfect Tense

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The objective of this coarse is to facilitate to stakeholders how to improve quality of work on distant learning mode online.

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(a)The Simple Past Tens This is used to indicate that an action which happened in the past is finished or completed. Examples:

  • Ama bought a new television yesterday.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mensah travelled to Tamale on Monday.
  • Mother cooked soup last night
  • The messenger swept the office yesterday

(b) The Past Continuous Tense This is used to show that one of the two actions that occurred in the past was unfinished. The unfinished action is said to be in past continuous tense form while the finished action is in the simple past tense. Examples:

  • While Abu and I were visiting our friends yesterday, we saw our teacher.
  • When our plane landed this afternoon, it was raining.
  • The past continuous tense is formed by putting the -ing verb form after was or were.

This tense is often used to show an action that was interrupted in the past, as in the following:

(c) The Past Perfect Tense We use this tense form to show that two actions took place in the past and one was finished first. The finished action is in the past perfect tense and the other is in the simple past tense. Simple Sentences in Past Perfect Tense (i) I had never seen an ostrich until I visited my Uncle’s farm in the North. (ii) The fire had destroyed the house before the fire-fighters arrived. (iii) Ama had already got home before it began to rain. (iv) Ayi had eaten his dinner by the time his friend Ami arrived.

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A knowledge of tenses in English language is essential for you to be a good user of the language. Such

knowledge will enable you to tell or describe actions according to the times of their occurrence whether in the present, past or future. In this Unit, you learnt about tenses, their types and how to use them to tell, describe or report actions. You learnt that English has three major tenses, namely, the present, the past and the future. You learnt that each of these major tenses is of more parts.

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Here is a story to test your ability to use correct verb forms.
  • Re-write the passage, putting the verbs in the

brackets in the correct tense forms.

  • Libya Accepts Responsibility for Lockerbie Bombing

The Libyan government (accept) responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and (set) up a fund to compensate victims’ families. The U.S.A. (demand) that Tripoli (accept) the responsibility for the bombing and (pay) compensation before U.N. and U.S.A. sanctions can be (scrap), a moment eagerly (await) by at least four U.S. oil companies. A British official (say) after the announcement that Washington and London already (discuss) the outstanding requirements. “We (take) on the responsibility for this case on the basis of the international law which states that the State (take) on the responsibility for what its employees do”, Chalgam said.


Abibata031 12:12, 28 February 2007 (CET)