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Basic English Grammar: Tense – 2
PAST SIMPLE (PAST INDEFINITE)
Subject + V2 + Object
Use of Past Simple Tense
To indicate an action completed in the past at a definite time. Definite point of time is denoted by- Ago, since, ever since, last, yesterday, the other day, before, after, back, formerly, any fixed time in the past, etc.
(a) I did/have done this.
to indicate past habits, indicated generally by the following words – Often, seldom, never, usually, normally, generally, always, frequently, rarely, daily, used to, would, etc.
(a) As a kid, I often, went to school on foot.
(b) My friend frequently visited his home town in the past.
If two or more actions took place in sequence, we use Simple Past to express the actions (otherwise Past Perfect is used to denote the earlier action). Conjunction ‘before’ is usually used in such cases.
(a) He switched on the light before he opened the door.
(b) The train started just before I reached the station.
Past Simple is also used when two actions happen simultaneously with each other. For example:
(a) As the President entered the hall, the orchestra played the national anthem.
(b) As the Chief Guest entered the hall, all stood up.
the use of Past Simple with ‘wish, if only, as if, as though’ shows unreal past and present state of things. For example:
(a) I wish I were a millionaire.
(I am not a millionaire)
(b) If only he allowed me to deliver a lecture.
(He doesn’t allow me).
Note: In conditional sentences, Past Indefinite is used with ‘if’.
(a) If I had a map, I would give it to her.
(b) If he tried to blackmail me, I would inform you.
In the above two sentences, the second form of verb has been used. Therefore they appear to be in Past Tense. In reality, the first sentence represents Present Tense and the second sentence represents Future Tense.
Rule 6: After ‘it is time’.
(a) It is time Indian cricket team starts/started winning tense matches.
(b) It is time we started studying.
The use of ‘would rather’ in the following Sentence Structure is used to show Preference in the Past Tense.
Subject + would rather + Object + Past Tense
(a) I’d rather you went office now.
(b) Would you like him to paint it? I’d rather he didn’t (paint it).
‘Had rather’ also carries the same sense as ‘would rather’, although ‘would rather’ is used more frequently.
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