How to Use Past Tense Correctly to Avoid Mistakes in IELTS Writing and Speaking Test?

It is important to use the past tense correctly to avoid unnecessary mistakes in the IELTS writing and speaking test. Read on to know how to use this tense correctly and how many types of past tenses are there.

Past tense is one of the three types of tenses; present, past and future. It refers to actions in the past and has further four types as follows:

Simple Past Tense Example:

She worked hard a lot to win the game.

What is Past Continuous Tense?

This tense is used when a continuing action of the past if talked about.

Past Continuous Tense Example:

She was working hard a lot to win the game.

What is Past Perfect Tense?

The use of past perfect tense is seen where an action which took place once or for many times before another point in the past is talked about.

Past Perfect Tense Example:

She had worked hard a lot to win the game.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Example:

She had been working hard a lot to win the game.

What is Past Indefinite Tense?

This tense is used when an action or habit of the past is referred to.

Past Indefinite Tense Example

She preferred red to black.

Three Forms of the Verb

You should also learn the three forms of verbs in order to correctly use the second form of the verb in the simple past tense and the third form of the verb in the past perfect tense.

For example, three forms of the verb for work are:

1st Form2nd Form3rd FormWorkWorkedWorked

Using the past tense in the right form is essential to avoid mistakes in IELTS writing and speaking.

Past Tense in IELTS Academic Task 1

In IELTS academic, you should describe the bar graph in the past tense if the graph refers to past years such as the 1990s, 1980s etc.

Example
  • In 2010, the percentage of students who qualified for the exam was 70%.
  • The average price increased to 50% by the year 2000.
  • The trend of online shopping was continuously increasing from 2012 to 2016.
  • Before it could reach the peak level of 25000, a sharp fall was observed after 2013.

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