2 The Past vs. The Perfect The Perfect The Past Used for an action which took place in a completed period of time in the past. This action generally has no link to the present.Used for narratives in the past and historical events.Used with intellectual states in the past and for expressing a tentative attitude.The PerfectUsed for an action that began in the past and may continue up to the present time.Used for an action that still has some relevance to the present time.
3 Signal Words The Past ago, at Christmas, at Easter, at 4 pm, earlier this week,on Monday, once,the other day,until recently,until yesterday.The Perfectlately, since, so far, until now / up to now, hitherto.In British English:already, just, not yet, ever, never, still.**Unless the period of time is completed:We already discussed this problem yesterday.
4 The Past Tenses The Simple Past Describes an action that took place in a completed period of time:I lived in Sheffield for 4 years.(I don‘t live in Sheffield anymore)Shakespeare wrote many famous comedies.(Shakespeare is no longer alive)As a child I ate lots of sweets.*(I am no longer a child)*When talking about past habits, it is also possible to use the phrase used to.
5 Simple Past with Stative Verbs With type II stative verbs (verbs of knowing, thinking etc.) we use the past to show that the state described by the verb is completed:I didn´t know that you were a vegetarian. (But now I do)To express politeness, we often use type II and III stative verbs in the past (attitudinal past):I just wanted to ask you...
6 The Past Tenses The Past Progressive Describes an action that was in progress around a particular point in time in the past:What were you doing around 7 pm last night?Used to describe a background situation or a situation of temporary duration:He was smoking all the way through the interview.Can you come up with examples to express the following?1. An action interrupted by another action2. Two actions simultaneously happening in the past
7 The Past Progressive vs Past Simple The Past Progressive and Past Simple are often used to contrast two clauses. In this case the Progressive is used for background information, and the Simple Past for actions of a shorter duration:I was working in the garden when you rang.Compare:The baby was crying while I was speaking on the phone.They laughed when they saw him.
8 The teenagers _________ (throw) popcorn all the way through the film. Whilst we __________ (watch) the film, someone ________ (answer) their mobile phone.I __________ (be aware) that the race was so dangerous.Yes, I _______ (assume) Mr Smith was a lawyer.I ________ (wonder) if you could answer my question.Whilst we __________ (listen) to the lecture, Mark _________ (sleep).
9 Present Perfect Progressive The Perfect TensesPresent Perfect SimpleUsed for an activity that is finished but still relevant to the present.“I’ve brought Porky with me”Emphasis on the result of the activity, or how something happened.“You’ve lost my car?”Often used for situations that are long lasting / permanent.“I’ve killed the spider ”Present Perfect ProgressiveOften used for an activity that is not yet finished.“My mother has been reading that Dan Brown book”Emphasis on the duration of the activity.“You have been studying for ages”Often used when the effects of the action are still visible.“I’ve been working out”
10 Compare the following sentences: „Ann has been painting the ceiling. Her clothes are covered in paint.“(Emphasis is on the action. It is not important if the action has been completed.)“Ann has painted the ceiling. It´s now a nice shade of magnolia.”(Emphasis is on the result of the action and that it´s completed)
11 __________ (you/run)? You are covered in sweat! I’m so sorry. How long _________ (you/wait)?I ___________ (go) to that new gym on the High St. for three months now.It __________ (snow) for 2 hours.How ________ (you/save) so much money? £1,000 is a lot!
12 The Past PerfectThe Past Perfect is used to talk about an action which happened before another action in the Past.We often use it when events are being told out of order:When I arrived home I was surprised to see my husband had done the washing.Often used after the conjunctions after, before, since.
13 Since SentencesIf since is followed by a point in time, use the present perfect:I have been living in Dortmund since 2008.Or: I have been living in Dortmund for two years. (length of time)
14 Since Sentences (cont.) By the same logic, if since is followed by an action that is seen as taking place over a short period of time or a point in time, we use past for this clause and present perfect for the main clauseI have been living in my apartment since I moved to Dortmund.
15 Since Sentences (cont.) However, if both clauses are seen to be taking place over a period of unfinished time, then we use present perfect for both.Ever since I have been living in Dortmund I have been learning German.