The Past Tenses - Past Simple - Teaching Ideas

 

This video is part of our series on the past tenses in English. We start off the series with the past simple tense. In this video, we focus on useful teaching ideas for this tense. A great idea to practice this tense is a picture story. Here, the teacher provides the students with various photos or images and the students are asked to piece them together to make a story in the past.


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The Present Tense can be unpacked further into four parts: Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous. These can be identified by the action and time of the activity in relativity to the time of speaking. The auxiliary verbs and subsequent conjugation of the verbs differ for each of these four aspects and also differ depending on the positive, negative or question form. These aspects can be summarised briefly as follows: The Present Simple relates to the immediate actions and uses the subject plus base form of the verb, with the auxiliary verb ?do? and ?not? in the negative and ?does? in the question form. It relates to habits, routines, facts and simple things. Eg ?I work?, ?She plays?, ?He does not play?, ?Does he play?? The Present Continuous relates to actions at or around the time of speaking and uses the subject plus the auxiliary verb ?to be? plus ?ing?, using ?not? in the negative. Eg ?I am working at the moment?, ?She is working?, ?He isn?t working?, ?Are you working?? The Present Perfect always relates the past to the present and uses the subject plus the auxiliary verb ?have? plus ?ing? plus the past participle ?ed?, using ?not? in the negative. Eg ?I have worked hard this week?, ?She has worked hard this week?, ?He hasn?t worked many days this week?, ?Have you worked many days this week?? The Present Perfect Continuous expresses an action continuing up to the present point in time. It is more focussed on the duration or continuity of the action. It uses the subject plus the auxiliary verbs ?have? and ?been? plus ?ing?, using ?not? in the negative. Eg ?I have been sleeping all day?, ?She has been sleeping all day?, ?He hasn?t been sleeping all day because he has been working hard?, ?Has she been sleeping all day?? A basic rule of thumb to determine the Present Tense is to look at the structure of the sentence rather than the usage. If it lacks the auxiliary verb ?have? or a past participle, then it is not a Present Tense sentence.

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