Exercise 3

Fill in the gaps with the verbs in brackets in the correct verb tense or form. Use would/used to in a couple of gaps.

A long time ago, my first wife and I 1 (decide) to go on a trip to London for a few days. Before the trip, we were very excited because we 2 (never/be) to London before. We 3 (want) to visit Miguel, a close friend who 4 (move) to Britain for work and who 5  (work) in London for a couple of months. He was very homesick because he still 6  (not have) any friends in England, and Laura and I 7  (want) to pay him a visit to cheer him up a bit. However, Miguel 8  (tell) us we had to stay in a hotel, because he 9  (rent) a room in a shared flat and we couldn’t stay in his home.

Back then, when my ex-wife and I travelled anywhere, we 10  (book) hotel rooms well in advance, and we 11 (check) hotel reviews on TripAdvisor every time, but this time we 12  (be) very busy the weeks before the trip so a few days before the trip, we 13  (decide) that we would look for a hotel once in London. Unfortunately, hotel rooms in London are quite popular in August, and several hours after our arrival in the big capital we still 14 (not find) a room in any affordable place.

Eventually we 15 (find) a hotel which, surprisingly, was well located and not very expensive. But we soon 16 (discover) why there were available rooms in that so well-located hotel. To start with, the room number was a scribble written on a sheet of paper that someone 17 (hang) on the door with sellotape, and once you were in, the room was dirty and horribly smelly. It looked as if nobody 18 (clean) it for ages. In the bathroom there was no mirror, the toilet was clogged and there were lots of hairs in the basin. It was so disgusting that we 19 (decide) to pay for a much more expensive room in a much less well-located hotel and we 20 (end up) as depressed as our good friend Miguel.


 

 

Past simple

 
We use the past simple to talk about past events in chronological order; i.e. the main events of a story.

  • When she opened the door, she pretended that we weren’t there and she went to her room. 
  • He called me and asked me to pick him up, but when I arrived he wasn’t there. 

We also use the past simple to talk about past habits or past states.

  • We often went to the bar for a drink before dinner.
  • He really liked sport, and was very fit.

 

Past continuous

 
We use the past continuous the set the scene in a story.

  • Last night I was walking home and listening to my ipod when …
  • The sun was shinning and lots of tourists were lying on the beach. Suddenly …

We use the past continuous for actions in progress in the past or longer actions interrupted by shorter actions in past simple.

  • After dinner I went into the living room and saw that she was crying
  • When she opened the door, we were talking about her. 

 

Past perfect simple

 
We use the past perfect simple to talk about an earlier past: events which happened before the main event.
 

Earlier single events

 
We use the past perfect simple to talk about earlier events and experiences, or single actions completed earlier in the past.

  • When she opened the door, he had already left.  
  • I realised that I had been there before. 
  • When I met her, I had never been in a serious relationship. 
  • He noticed I had cleaned the car. It was smooth and shiny. 

We also use the past perfect simple (and not continuous) to say how much or how many we had done of something earlier in the past.

  • We had driven 500 miles and we needed some rest. 
  • How many hours had he slept when you woke him up?

 

Duration from earlier in the past (stative verbs)

 
We use the past perfect simple with stative verbs to talk about states or situations that had started earlier in the past. We often use how long, for or since, always, etc.

  • The day Anne died, they had been married for 48 years. 
  • The day I left, I had been in England for exactly 4 years. 
  • She told me she had always hated her sister. 

 

Past perfect continuous

 

Duration from earlier in the past (dynamic verbs)

 
We use the past perfect continuous with dynamic verbs to talk about longer continuous actions that started earlier in the past than the main events of the story.

  • I was very angry. I had been waiting for him in the cold, and he didn’t call to say he’d be late. 
  • We had been driving for less than an hour when the car broke down. 

 

Repeated actions from earlier in the past (dynamic verbs)

 
We use the past perfect continuous with dynamic verbs to talk about repeated actions from earlier in the past.

  • I couldn’t believe it. She had been writing a letter every day for over a year. 

 

Used to + infinitive

 

Repeated actions in the past

 
We can use used to + infinitive to talk about things that we did repeatedly in the past.

  • When I was a child, I used to go skiing every winter. 
  • From the age of 12 till I was 16, I used to dance at weekends. 
  • I didn’t use to smoke before I got this job. 

 

Situations or states that are no longer true

 
We can use used to + infinitive to talk about situations or states (stative verbs) which were true in the past, but they are no longer true.

  • As a child I used to be blond. 
  • I used to live with my mum when I was a child.

 

Would + infinitive

 

Repeated actions in the past

 
We can use would + infinitive to talk about things that we did repeatedly in the past.

  • Every Saturday we would go to the shopping centre with my parents. 
  • My 5th grade teacher would tell me to shut up at the beginning of every class.

 

Situations or states that are no longer true

 
We cannot use would to talk about situations or states (stative verbs) which are not longer true.

  • I used to be blond as a child. (NOT I would be blond as a child.)
  •