Transcript NARRATIVE TENSES
When we narrate a story, we use:
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS
We use narrative tenses when telling a story, or
talking about situations and activities which
happened at a past time.
When telling past events, DO NOT mix past and
PAST SIMPLE TENSE
We use simple past tense
to express a completed action at a definite time in the past
I woke up at half past seven yesterday, I had a
shower and ate some breakfast. I I left home at
quarter past eight.
to express past habits.
I woke up very early when I was a kid.
I used to wake up very early when I was a kid.
I would wake up early when I was a kid.
REMEMBER! 'WOULD' CAN NOT BE USED FOR
I used to live in London.
We can’t say I would live in London.
PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE
We use past continuous tense
for an action which was in progress at a stated time
in the past.
At 1 o’clock in the morning, I was sleeping.
For a past action which was in progress when an
other action interrupted it. We use the past
continuous for the action in progress (longer action)
and the past simple for the action which interrupted
the longer action.
I was washing the dishes when I cut my finger.
For two or more actions which were happening at
the same time in the past.
I was cooking the dinner while my daughter was
laying the table.
To give background information in a story
The sun was shining brightly and the birds were
chirping happily as I was walking to work.
PAST PERFECT SIMPLE
We use past perfect simple to go back to a second
past. We use it to talk about things that had already
happened before that specific time in the past.
I got to the party late. When I arrived there,
everybody had already left.
We use it to make the narrative more interesting and
easy to read.
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS
We use past continuous tense to talk about longer
actions or situations which had continued up to the
When the teacher entered the classroom, the
students had been fighting
Yesterday 2 days ago
at 2 o’clock
WHEN+SIMPLE PAST, SIMPLE PAST
When I helped her complete her work, she thanked
When I read the letter, I cried.
WHEN+SIMPLE PAST, PAST CONTINUOUS
When she called me, I was cooking the meal.
When I met him, he was working in a hospital.
WHEN+SIMPLE PAST, PAST PERFECT/PAST
They had been touring the country for a month
when we last saw them.
When he arrived there, they had already gone.
WHILE/AS/JUST AS+PAST CONT, SIMPLE PAST
He fell asleep while I was cleaning the room.
As we were walking by the sea, we noticed a huge
bin near the small hut.
WHILE/AS/JUST AS+PAST CONT,PAST CONT
As I was cleaning the kitchen, my sister was tidying
the dining room.
While you were reading the newspaper, I was
working on my project.
AS+SIMPLE PAST,SIMPLE PAST
As I opened my eyes I heard a strange voice.
The doorbell rang just as I picked up the phone.
JUST AS+BE ABOUT TO, SIMPLE PAST
Just as I was about to resign from my position, I
Just as we were about to go out, it started to rain.
IT/THIS WAS THE
It was the last time we had seen each other.
That was the last word she had said.
AFTER+PAST PERFECT/SIMPLE PAST, SIMPLE
She went to America after she graduated from
After I had written the letter, I went out.
BEFORE+SIMPLE PAST, PAST
I bought a lot of new clothes before I went to Italy.
Before he got married, he had spent most of his
time in Europe.
BY THE TIME+SIMPLE PAST, PAST PERFECT /PAST
By the time he published his first novel, He had written
10 short stories.
By the time we arrived there, the movie had already
UNTIL/TILL+SIMPLE PAST+SIMPLE PAST/PAST
Until the war was won, a lot of innocent people had
We waited until he finished his homework.
AS SOON AS/THE
PERFECT/SIMPLE PAST,SIMPLE PAST
As soon as I had seen her, I understood that something was
Once she (had) decided to leave him, nobody was able to
change her mind.
Immediately we (had) stepped out, it started to rain.
BY+PAST EXPRESSION+PAST PERFECT/PAST PERFECT
By the mid 20th century, many women had gained the right
By the end of the Great Depression, a lot of people died of
Hardly had I entered the classroom when I noticed a
student on the floor.
She had hardly left the doctor’s office when a car
NO SOONER+PAST PERFECT(INVERSION)
No sooner had I left the office than it started to rain.
No sooner I had left the office than I caught a taxi.
Prepared Eva Büyüksimkeşyan
Resources:Basic English Usage