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2.7: Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses

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    52281
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    Reading Exercises

    Read the following sentences. What are the verbs? What tense is used for each verb?

    • They had already packed a survival kit when the earthquake hit
    • When the wildfires swept across California, many people hadn't been ready

    In each sentence, which event happened first? Which event happened second? How is the past perfect formed?

    Answers

    • In the first sentence, the verbs are "had," "packed," and "hit," they had packed first and the earthquake hit second
    • In the second sentence, the verbs are "swept" and "hadn't been," the wildfires swept second and people hadn't been ready first
    • The past perfect is formed with "had" + past participle

    What are the verbs in these sentences? Do the sentences have the same meaning, or different?

    • They were packing a survival kit when the earthquake hit
    • They had packed a survival kit when the earthquake hit

    In which sentence are they ready for the earthquake? In which sentence are they not yet ready? How is past present continuous formed (this is used in the first sentence)?

    Answers

    • In the first sentence, the verbs are "were packing" and "hit," they are not yet ready in this sentence
    • In the second sentence, the verbs are "had packed" and "hit," they are ready for the earthquake in this sentence
    • The past perfect continuous is formed with "had" + "been" + verb + -ing

    Spelling Rules for Adding -ing to a Verb (Present Participle)

    No change

    Most verbs:

    Add -ing

    Read--reading

    Talk--talking

    Say--saying

    Want--wanting

    No change

    Verbs that end in -y:

    Add -ing

    Study--studying

    Carry--carrying

    Play--playing

    Change

    Verbs that end in -e:

    Drop the -e and add -ing

    Wake--waking

    Make--making

    Tape--taping

    Change

    Verbs that end in -ie:

    Change the -ie to -y

    Die--dying

    Lie--lying

    Change

    Verbs the end in CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) one-syllable:

    Double the last letter

    Stop--stopping

    Sit--sitting

    Ban--banning

    Change

    Verbs that end in CVC two-syllable:

    If the stress is on the last syllable, double the last letter

    Begin--beginning

    Refer--referring

    BUT

    Listen--listening

    Cancel--canceling

    Ninety Common Irregular Verbs

    Be--was/were--been

    Beat--beat--beaten

    Become--became--become

    Begin--began--begun

    Blow--blew--blown

    Break--broke--broken

    Bring--brought--brought

    Build--built--built

    Burst--burst--burst

    Buy--bought--bought

    Catch--caught--caught

    Choose--chose--chosen

    Come--came--come

    Cost--cost--cost

    Cut--cut--cut

    Deal--dealt--dealt

    Do--die--done

    Drink--drank--drunk

    Drive--drove--driven

    Eat--ate--eaten

    Forgive--forgave--forgiven

    Freeze--froze--frozen

    Get--got--got/gotten

    Give--gave--given

    Go--went--gone

    Grow--grew--grown

    Have--had--had

    Fall--fell--fallen

    Feed--fed--fed

    Feel--felt--felt

    Fight--fought--fought

    Find--found--found

    Fly--flew--flown

    Forbid--forbade--forbidden

    Forget--forgot--forgotten

    Hear--heard--heard

    Hide--hid--hidden

    Hit--hit--hit

    Hold--held--held

    Hurt--hurt--hurt

    Keep--kept--kept

    Know--knew--known

    Lay--laid--laid

    Lead--led--led

    Leave--left--left

    Let--let--let

    Lie--lay--lain (be in horizontal position; "lie" is regular when it means not to tell the truth)

    Lose--lost--lost

    Make--made--made

    Meet--met--met

    Pay--paid--paid

    Put--put--put

    Quit--quit--quit

    Read--read--read

    Ride--rode--ridden

    Ring--rang--rung

    Rise--rose--risen

    Run--ran--run

    Say--said--said

    See--saw--seen

    Seek--sought--sought

    Sell--sold--sold

    Send--sent--sent

    Set--set--set

    Shake--shook--shaken

    Shine--shone--shone

    Sing--sang--sung

    Sleep--slept--slept

    Speak--spoke--spoken

    Spend--spent--spent

    Spring--sprang--sprung

    Stand--stood--stood

    Steal--stole--stolen

    Swim--swam--swum

    Swing--swung--swung

    Take--took--taken

    Teach--taught--taught

    Tear--tore--torn

    Tell--told--told

    Think--thought--thought

    Throw--threw--thrown

    Understand--understood--understood

    Wake--woke--woken

    Wear--wore--worn

    Win--won--won

    Write--wrote--written

    Past Perfect Meaning and Use

    Past perfect is used when we want to talk about two events in the past. The first event uses past perfect and the second event uses simple past or past continuous. Both events are completed in the past

    • They packed first; then the earthquake hit

    Past Perfect Continuous Meaning and Use

    Past perfect continuous is used when we want to discuss two events in the past. The first event began before the second event. The second event interrupted the first. We use past continuous for the first (long) event and simple past for the second (interrupting) event

    • They had been packing when the earthquake hit
      • (They were packing, but the earthquake interrupted them and they had to stop)

    Videos and Other Resources

    Watch this video for more explanation of past perfect tense...

    Practice past perfect with this fun grammar gameshow...

    For more written explanation and exercises, try this website and this website...

    Practice the Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses

    • Watch the Nepal Earthquake video again. Write three sentences using the past perfect continuous. The earthquake hit at 11:52. What had people been doing when the earthquake hit?
    • Read the article "Alaska Earthquake" again. Had Kirsten Arnold experienced an earthquake before the one in Alaska? Where?
    • Write three sentences. What are some things you hadn't tried before you started this class?

    2.7: Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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