Narrative tenses (Past simple (We can use the past simple for actions…
We can use the past simple for
actions that started and
finished in the past
Bobby didn’t answer.
“Did you hear the storm last night?”
When Bobby went down for breakfast, Matt looked up.
Bobby’s heart sank. She knew exactly where Dan had gone…
For background information and to
describe a scene or situation
that continued for some time
At 6 o’clock that evening Dan was still missing. Bobby was feeling worried.
Bonnie was barking loudly.
Past simple and past continuous
We often use the past simple and past
continuous together when one action interrupts another.
It was still raining when Bobby woke up the next morning. Dan was sitting at the table when she went into the kitchen.
I was strolling along the beach one day when suddenly, Bonnie ran off.
Past simple and past perfect
To describe an action that
happened before another
I quickly realised that the storm the previous
night had washed up the body.
Bobby knew that Dan
hadn’t wanted to come home
but she also knew that he hadn’t
had any other option.
Past perfect continuous
We use this tense to describe
something that has been
happening over a long period of time.
I could tell that the body had been lying on
the beach for several hours because the
man’s clothes were dry.
Britain had been trying to negotiate a
peaceful settlement between Poland