Helping Hints for the Past
Auxiliary Verbs Used with Past Tenses
Knowledge of auxiliary verbs used in various tenses is the key to correct tense conjugation. Here is a review of auxiliary verbs for past tenses:
Use 'did' in the question and negative form to express something that happened at a specific moment in the past. Use no auxiliary verb in the positive form.
The primary supervisor didn't give him a raise last quarter.
When did they call room service for dinner last night?
Jason visited the art expositions on Broadway last weekend.
Use 'was / were' in the past tense for the positive, negative and question forms in the past continuous tense to express what was happening at a specific moment in the past.
The Chicago branch of our restaurant business was struggling when Brando called.
I wasn't feeling hungry when the buffet opened.
Past Simple Passive:
Use 'was / were' in the past for positive, negative and question in the past simple passive to express a past passive operation. Remember that the passive takes the participle form of the principal verb.
The wholesaler was pleased by our haggling.
The concierge wasn't hired last week.
Use 'had' in the past for the positive, negative and question forms for the past perfect tense to express something that had happened before another action occurred in the past.
Our public areas were sold to industry in the seventies.
He had been sticking to his special-diet for six months before his blood pressure fell.
Past Perfect Continuous:
Use the verb 'had been' in the past perfect for the positive, negative and question forms for the past perfect tense to express the duration of something that had been happening up to another past moment in time.
How long had the appetizers been laying on the plate before the party goers consumed them all?
He hadn't been staying up late in conversation with the mice during the six weeks before he called pest control.