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How to Use Past Tense Correctly?

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30 May 2018

 

Past tense is one of the three types of tenses; present, past and future. It refers to actions in the past and has further four types as follows:
Simple Past:

She worked hard a lot to win the game.
Past Continuous:

She was working hard a lot to win the game.
Past Perfect:

She had worked hard a lot to win the game.
Past Perfect Continuous:

She had been working hard a lot to win the game.
You should also learn the three forms of verbs in order to correctly use the second form of verb in simple past tense and the third form of verb in past perfect tense. For example, three forms of verb for work are:

1st Form2nd Form3rd Form
WorkWorkedWorked

Using past tense in correct form is essential to avoid mistakes in IELTS Writing and Speaking.

Past Tense in IELTS Academic Task 1

In IELTS Academic, you should describe the bar graph in the past tense if the graph refers to past years such as 1990s, 1980s etc.
For example,

  • In 2010, the percentage of students who qualified the exam was 70%.
  • The average price increased to 50% by the year 2000.
  • The trend of online shopping was continuously increasing from 2012 to 2016.
  • Before it could reach the peak level of 25000, a sharp fall was observed after 2013.

Past Tense in IELTS Speaking Cue Card

We are generally asked cue card where the topic refers to the past and hence it would be good enough to you speak in the past tense while describing that topic.
For example,

Describe a historical place you visited recently

Last month, I visited Agra city to see Taj Mahal along with my family and friends. It was so mesmerizing that I felt like being on top of the world watching that historical monument. In my childhood days, I had only heard long tales about its beauty but when I saw it with my own eyes, it was then only that I realized its importance.

Exercise:

1. Describe the following table in past tense:

Scores Achieved by 3 Teams in Quiz Contest
Year200020052010
Team A20%40%60%
Team B50%60%10%
Team C70%30%70%

2. Describe the following topics in past tense:

  • Describe a road accident you saw.
  • Describe a new activity you did in your childhood.
  • Describe about the day you won a contest.

3. Complete the following sentences using past tense. 

  1. Last night, I ………….(play) guitar and …………..(enjoy) a lot.
  2. It ……………..(observe) from the report that investing in the new product …………..(lead to) reduced growth of business.
  3. Hitler was not born a brutal tyrant, he…………………….(become) one. Hitler………….(dream) of a career as an artist.
  4. His father …………………..(reject) the idea but after he………………..(dead) in 1903 Hitler would try to make his dream a reality.
  5. World War Two was the most destructive global conflict in history. It …………..(begin) when Nazi Germany ……………….(unleash) ferocious attacks across Europe – but it ………………….(spread) to the Soviet Union, China, Japan and the United States.
  6. For decades, immigration …………………(change) the face of Britain, and now mainstream culture became increasingly fascinated by diversity.
  7. Dominic Sandbrook explains how the glossy pages of The Face …………………(champion) street fashion and club culture and ………………………….(become) a source of inspiration for many British youngsters.

Answers:

  1. played, enjoyed
  2. was observed, led to
  3. became, dreamt
  4. had rejected, died
  5. began, unleashed, spread
  6. had been changing
  7. championed, became

 

 

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