Which one do you use?
Past?: He worked
Present perfect?: He has worked
Past perfect?: He had worked
Past?: He was working
Present perfect?: He has been working
Past perfect?: He had been working
I read a book last night.
It was very exciting.
He had studied Arabic before, so
it was easy for him to understand.
The car is OK now. They have repaired it.
She watched TV last night.
I didn't know anybody there.
They liked fruit more than anything else.
I believed all his stories.
IT IS NOT IMPORTANT or NO
I was reading a book. That's why I missed the TV show.
He had been studying Arabic for four years and he wanted to practice.
Their hands are dirty because they have been repairing the car.
She was watching TV when the phone rang.
NOT I wasn't knowingNOT They were liking
NOT I was believing
You cannot decide to do these things and then stop. They are not actions, so we cannot use the continuous formation.NOTICE: If you want to show clearly that the state is now finished, you can use used to (Lesson 38). For example:
I used to believe all his stories, but now I know he's a liar.
I didn't use to know anybody there, but now I have lots of friends.
I saw the film yesterday.
Did you go to England on your holiday?
He didn't do his homework last night.
I broke my leg, so I had to go to the hospital.
It wasn't a comfortable trip. I needed two days to recover from it.
Charles Dickens, the famous author, died at the age of fifty-eight.
(This is history.)
Shakespeare wrote many plays.
(He is dead now.)
I've seen the film. It's good.
Have you ever been to England?
He has not done his homework yet.
Help! I think I've broken my leg.
It hasn't been a comfortable trip. I feel terrible.
Maria Jones, the famous singer, has died at the age of seventy-six.
(This is news.)
My friend Sam has written many plays.
(He may write more.)
I was in Toronto for three days. (finished)
I have been in Toronto for three days. (unfinished)
Use past perfect when it is important to show what happened first (Lesson 26).