Grammar Time: Past Tenses Revision

Let’s revise Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous. Have practice doing these exercises devoted to past tenses revision.

Exam in Mind Level B1/B2

Task 1. Put the verbs in the Present Perfect or Past Perfect.

  1. It isn’t raining now. It (stop)__________ at last.
  2. We had no car at that time. We (sell)__________ our old one.
  3. It’ll soon be warm in here. I (turn)__________ the heating on.
  4. I spoke to Mary at lunch-time. Someone (tell)__________ her the news earlier.
  5. I was really tired. I (have)_________ a hard day.
  6. Don’t you want to see this programme? It (start)__________.
  7. The park looked awful. People (leave)__________ litter everywhere.
  8.  At last the committee was ready to announce their decision. They (make)__________ up their minds.
  9. You can have the newspaper. I (finish)__________ with it.
  10.  It was twenty to six. Most of the shops just (close)__________.
  11. There’s no more cheese. We (eat)__________ it all, I’m afraid.
  12. That man looks familiar. I (see)__________ him somewhere before.
  13. There was no sign of a taxi, although I (order)__________ one half an hour before.
  14. My wallet wasn’t there. I (leave)__________ it behind.
  15. The bill isn’t right. They (make)__________ a mistake.
  16. Ann didn’t understand why her friend (send) __________ her such a strange letter.

Task 2. Past tenses revision. Put the verbs in brackets into the proper past tense forms.

  1. Few people in Victorian times (take)__________ a bath every day.
  2. We (walk)__________ along the street when a car (stop)__________ next to us.
  3. I (see)__________ Rita a minute ago but she (go)__________ straight past me.
  4. They (sail)__________ for a month before they (reach)__________ the port.
  5. As I (drive)__________ home I (listen)__________ to music on the car-radio.
  6. They (discuss)__________ the plan at midnight.
  7.  In those days people (to wash)__________ their clothes by hand.
  8. He always (go)__________ to work by train.
  9. She (tear)__________ the letter into pieces and (throw)__________ it into the bin.
  10. He (leave)__________ the work because he (feel)__________ dissatisfied for months.
  11. I (take)__________ a shower when the phone (ring)__________.
  12. She (get)__________ on the motorbike and (ride)__________ away.
  13. By the second day at camp he (make)__________ several friends.
  14. In those days she constantly (criticize)__________ my appearance.
  15. The room was empty – everyone (go)__________ out.
  16. He (work)__________ late at night.
  17. When I was a child I (to go)__________ to the cinema every Sunday.
  18. She (miss)__________ the end of the film because she (fall)__________ asleep.
  19. Meg (lie)__________ in the sun while the children (play)__________ in the pool.

Task 3. Past tenses revision. Use the verbs in the proper past tenses.

  1. Last year Tom and Fiona (decide)_______________ to buy a house. They (save)_______________ for ages and by the end of May they (put up)_______________ enough for the deposit on a house. They (live)_______________ in a tiny flat at the time and Fiona (insist)________________ that she (want)_______________ a house with a big garden. They (search)_______________ for only a few days when they (find)________________ exactly what they (look for)________________. Unfortunately, when they (look)______________ more closely at the interior, they (see)_______________ that whoever (live)________________ there before, (make)_______________ an absolute mess of the walls and the floors. Still, Fiona (manage)________________ to convince Tom that despite all that, the house (be)______________ the perfect home for them.
  2. Last summer some of my friends and I (arrange)_____________ to go camping. We (look)_______________forward to going for weeks when finally the date of departure (arrive)_______________. We (load)______________ the car with our luggage and (set off)_______________ early in the morning. Shortly, afterwards, while we (travel)_______________ along the motorway, we (notice)______________ that the car (make) a strange sound. Pete, who (drive)________________ very fast, suddenly (stop)_______________ the car. To our surprise the boot was wide open – whoever (load)_______________ the luggage (not/close)________________ it properly, and everything (fall out)_______________!
  3. In 1894 a steamship (sail)_______________ across the Atlantic Ocean from England to America. The sun (shine)_______________ and a light breeze (blow)_______________. The ship (sail)_______________ for three weeks and (be)_______________ halfway to its destination – New York. The passengers (relax)_______________ on deck when suddenly they (hear)_______________ a loud bang. They all (jump)_______________ up, (run)_______________ to the edge of the boat and (look)_______________ over the side. To their terror they (see)_______________ that they (hit)_______________ some hard object which (tear)_______________ a hole in the side of the ship. Water (pour)_______________ into the steamship at an alarming speed. Fortunately another ship (arrive)_______________ half an hour later. The ship (sink)_______________ but the passengers and the crew (be)_______________ safe.
  4. James (sit)_______________ outside the office for an hour already waiting for the interview. He (feel)_______________ so nervous that he (not/know)_______________ what to do with himself. The problem (be)_______________ that he (want)_______________ this job so much. It (mean)_______________ everything to him. He (think)_______________ about it such a lot before the day of the interview. He (imagine)_______________ himself behaving brilliantly at the interview but now he couldn’t remember all those things he (plan)_______________ to say. His arms (tremble)_______________, his forehead (sweat)_______________ and his mouth (feel)_______________ dry. At that moment, he almost (decide)______________ to get up and leave. But hardly he (rise)_______________ to his feet when the door of the office (open)_______________ and the woman who (go in)_______________ an hour earlier (come out)_____ looking very pleased with herself. She (smile)_______________ at James.
  5. If it (not/be)_______________ by Louis, Joan never (survive)_______________ her trip to Paris last month. She (not/meet)_______________ him before but certainly (be)_______________ glad that they (become)_______________ friends by the end of her stay. The first thing that (happen)_______________ was that the hotel she (plan)_______________ to stay (not/receive)_______________ her booking, so they (have)_______________ no room for her. Then, as she (try)_______________ to get a taxi to take her to another hotel, someone on a motorbike (snatch)_______________ her bag with all her tickets and credit cards in it. As her French (be)_______________ quite rusty, she (not/know)_______________ how to explain what (happen)_______________. Nobody (be able)_______________ to help her until Louis (approach)_______________ her and (introduce)_______________ himself. 

Task 4. Open the brackets using the correct tense form.

  1. Excuse me, but this seat is mine! – I am sorry. I (not/know)_______________ that you (sit)_______________ here.
  2. Why are you late? – Oh Jenny (get)_______________ ready at six o’clock.
  3. How long you (learn)_______________ Italian? – I (start)_______________ learning the language when I (be)_______________ six.
  4. I (live)_______________ in Germany for five years now. I (move)_______________ here in 2005. I (live) _______________ in Berlin for a time, but I (live)_______________ in Rome now.
  5. You hair (look)_______________ different last night. – I know. I (want)_______________ to dye it, but I (not/realise)_______________ until it (be)_______________ too late that I (buy)______________ the wrong colour.
  6. You (look)_______________ miserable. What’s up? – I (work)_______________ on my thesis when my computer suddenly (make)_______________ a strange sound and the screen (go)_______________ blank.
  7. What (be)_______________ wrong with Jim at the party last night? – I don’t know. He (get)_______________ up, (burst)_______________ out of the room and (slam)_______________ the door.
  8. George really ought to lose some weight. – You’re right. He (breath)_______________ very heavily when he (climb) _______________ the stairs yesterday.
  9. You (get)_______________ to see Helen in the end? – No, she (leave)_______________ for the airport when we (arrive)_______________ at her home.
  10. It’s a pity she had to pull out of the competition. – Yes, especially, since she (make)_______________ such excellent progress.
  11. I (need)_______________ a holiday. I only (have)_______________ two days off this year. – Yes, but last year you (go)_______________ on holiday four times!
  12. I (try)_______________ to get in touch with you all day yesterday.  What you (do)_______________ when I last (call) _______________ at 7? – I (lie)_______________ in the bath. I (hear)_______________ the phone ringing but it (stop)_______________ after a few rings.
  13. I see you (get)_______________ soaked to the skin. How it (happen)_______________? –  I (not/realise) _______________ that I (leave)_______________ the umbrella on the bus until it (start)__________ to rain.
  14. Thank you for looking after my dog while I (be)_______________ on holidays! – Well, you know we (have)_______________ a terrible time looking after Spot. It constantly (chase)_______________ the cats next door.
  15. The news of your new job (sound)_______________ great. But what about your old job at the tourist office then? – Well, I (work)_______________ there for ten years and I quite (enjoy)_______________ the job but I (want)_______________ to do something different so I (start)_______________ a new job at the sailing centre.

Task 5. Past tenses revision. Read the conversations. Complete it with the correct forms of the verbs in brackets. 


– You (stand)_______________ here when the accident (happen)_______________?
– Yes, we (wait)_______________ at the bus stop when we first (notice)________________ the car.
– The car (speed)_______________ when it (get)_______________ to the junction?
– Yes, it (go)_______________ very fast when it (reach)_______________ the corner. But those men (cross)_______________  on a red light when the car (hit)_______________ them.
– The driver (stop)_______________ when he (see)_______________ the men?
– As far as I could see the driver (talk)_______________ on his mobile phone while he (drive)_______________ that’s why he (not/stop)_______________ in time. But the men (not/pay)_______________ attention either while they (cross) _______________.
– It (snow)_______________ when the accident (happen)_______________?
– No, it (stop)_______________ by that time and the road was very slippery.


– David, you just (win)_______________ the marathon. Congratulations! You (train)_______________ for it for a long time?
– For more than five years. I (plan)_______________ to enter the race since I (watch)_______________ the Boston Marathon.
– The start of the race was rather dramatic, wasn’t it?
– Yes, up to that point we (laugh)_______________ and (joke)____________________, but we (be) serious when we (line) ____________________ up.
– You (trip)_______________ during the race. How long you (run)_______________ when that (happen)_______________?
– By that time we (run)_______________ for almost three hours. Luckily it (not/keep)_______________ me from winning.
– You (look)_______________ very calm when you (cross)_______________ the finishing line. You (expect) _______________ to win?
– Well, I (be)_______________ really surprised. And very happy.


– You (have)_______________ a good meal at Hilary’s?
– Well no. It (be)_______________ the most embarrassing experience I ever (have)_______________. When we (arrive) _______________, we (know)_______________ immediately that she (forget) _______________ about the whole thing.
– So what she (do)_______________?
– Well, she (pretend)_______________ that she (not/forget)_______________ and (say)_______________ that the meal (not/be)_______________ ready because she (get)_______________ home from work very late.
– Oh no, how mean of her. She forever (do)_______________ things like that!