Past Tense In English – Grammar Rules, Examples, Structues | English Grammar


Past Tense Grammar Rules: In English, we can observe mainly three types of tenses. They are Present tense, Past tense, Future tense. In this article, we will discuss Past tense rules and its structure. And the usage of Past tense. Simple Past Tense is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. The simple past is the basic form of past tense in English. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past and action duration are not important.


  • She kissed me on the cheek.
  • Rohan wanted to climb the mountain.

Past Tense Verbs are mainly comprised of four types. They are:

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

Simple Past Tense

The simple past tense is used to indicate or describe something that happened or existed in the past. The situations or conditions to use a simple past tense is to:

  • To describe an action, event or condition that occurred in the past or at a specified time.
  • To refer or describe an action that has been completed and there is no time mentioned.
  • Describe an action or occurrence of an event that is done repeatedly and regularly.
  • Describe a state of mind in the past or a feeling that was felt in the past.


To formulate the simple past tense verb, we add ‘- ed’. For verbs ending in ‘e’, we add ‘-d’ and. However, there are some simple past tense verbs such as cut, put, set etc which remain the same in the present and past tense.

For Example:

  1. He played Chess with his friends.
  2. She cut the vegetables yesterday.

Also, Read Present Tense In English – Grammar Rules, Examples, Structure

Past Continous Tense

Past continuous tense is used to indicate an ongoing event in the past. Other conditions where past continuous tense is used are:

  • To show that someone is in the middle of an action.
  • Is used to describe an action taking place when another occurred.
  • For an action that was taking place in the past when an interrupted action happened.


The past continuous tense is formed using the past tense of the verb to be(was/were) and the present participle verbs ending in -‘ing’. These two tenses can be used together to indicate that an action happened while another was in progress.

For Example:

While she was cooking the food, the phone rang.

Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense in a sentence or conversation describes an event that happened in the past before another event in the simple past tense was completed in the past. The situations where this Tense is used is:

  • To indicate an action that has occurred and been completed in the past.
  • Describe an event or action which happened before a definite time in the past.
  • To describe an action that happened in the past before another action took place.


The past perfect tense is formed with the past tense of the auxiliary verb have i.e which is had and the past participle of the main verb.

For Example:

They lost many of the games because they had not practiced enough.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Perfect Continous tense is used to describe actions that were going on in the past up until another action in the past happened. They are often used in the following situations:

  • For an action that has occurred over a period of time has begun in the past.
  • To describe an action which started and finished in the past before another past action.
  • It is also regularly used in the reported speech where the present perfect continuous tense becomes past perfect continuous tense.


  1. This tense is formed with the past perfect tense of the verb ‘to be’, which is ‘had been’ and the present participle of the verb i.e ‘-ing’.
  2. Unlike the past continuous and past perfect tenses, past perfect continuous tense is not used to indicate state, state of mind or feelings.

For Example:

She had been drawing the diagram for two hours.

Follow and Subscribe to Learning Guide @Learning Guide for more information about Tenses and also for latest job alerts. You can get more latest updates by joining our Facebook Page i.e., Learning Guide. And you can also follow us on Instagram, Twitter etc.

Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here