English Grammar Exercises for B2 – Past tenses

1. Complete the sentences with the past simple or past continuous form of the verb in brackets.

I ____________ (have) a shower when the postman ____________ (arrive).

Sandra ____________ (drop) her bag while she ____________ (run) for the bus.

He ____________ (read) the letter when he suddenly ____________ (start) to laugh.

The sun ____________ (shine), so we ____________ (decide) to have a barbecue.

She ____________ (hurt) her finger while she ____________ (cut) some bread.

Pat ____________ (live) in Greece when he ____________ (meet) Hannah.

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1 was having, arrived   2 dropped, was running

3 was reading, started   4 was shining, decided

5 hurt, was cutting   6 was living, met

2. Complete the sentences with the past simple or past perfect form of the verbs below.

arrive      be      complete      decide      finish      get      go      lose

not know      pass      put      start      take      tell

After we ____________ eating, we ____________ to go to the shops.

By the time they ____________ at the theatre, the play ____________

He only realised he ____________ his keys when he ____________ to his front door.

Jerry ____________ delighted because he ____________ all his exams.

When everyone ____________ a chocolate, she ____________ the box away.

They ____________ out for a pizza after they ____________ the project.

I ____________ about the accident because no one ____________ me about it.

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1 had finished, decided   2 arrived, had started

3 had lost, got   4 was, had passed   5 had taken, put

6 went, had completed   7 didn’t know, had told

3. Choose the correct verbs to complete the sentences.

father worked / has worked as a policeman since he left / has left school.

Linda called / has called me this morning. She has decided / decided to come out with us later.

Tom never drove / has never driven a car because he’s not old enough.

bought / have bought a new shirt at the weekend, but I didn’t wear / haven’t worn it yet.

Pablo loves Sam Smith’s new album, but I haven’t heard / didn’t hear it.

spilled / have spilled water on phone earlier; I think I broke / I’ve broken it.

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1 has worked, left   2 called, has decided

3 has never driven   4 bought, haven’t worn

5 haven’t heard   6 spilled, I’ve broken

4. Complete the dialogue with the present perfect simple or continuous form of the verbs in brackets.

Eve  Hi, Will. 1 _________ (you finish) reading that magazine yet?

Will Not quite. I 2 _________ (read) this article about Paris. It’s really interesting.

Eve  3 _________ (you visit) France, then?

Will Lots of times – we 4 _________ (go) there on holiday for years. Recently, aunt and uncle 5 _________ (buy) a house there so we’ll go even more often.

Eve Lucky you. I 6 _________ (never visit) another country. Anyway, I 7 _________ (make) a cake if you’d like a piece?

Will That’s really kind, but no thanks. I 8 _________ (eat) biscuits all morning and I’m full!

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1 Have you finished   2 have been reading

3 Have you visited   4 have been going   5 have bought

6 have never visited   7 have made   8 have been eating

5. Choose the correct verbs (a-c) to complete the text.

Last night, I 1 ___ to music when phone 2 ___ ringing. It was sister. She 3 ___ her bag and 4 ___ enough money to get a cab home. She 5 ___ to walk, but when it 6 ___ to rain, she 7 ___ to go to a café. She 8 ___ there and she wanted me to ask if Mum or Dad would drive over and pick her up!

1   a  listened  b was listening   had listened

2   a  started  b had started   was starting

3   a  was losing  b lost   had lost

4   a  didn’t have  b hadn’t had   wasn’t having

5   a  was starting  b started   had started

6   a  began  b had begun   was beginning

7   a  decided  b was deciding   had decided

8   a  had waited  b was waiting   waited

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1 b   2 a   3 c   4 a   5 c   6 a   7 a   8 b

6. Complete the sentences with the verbs in brackets. Use the correct past tense.

1 ‘Why is your face so red?’ ‘I ________ (sit) in the sun all morning.’

2 I ________ (try) to do this crossword all morning and I still can’t finish it.

3 They were driving to the sea when the car ________ (run out) of petrol.

4 After they’d woken up, they ________ (cook) a big breakfast.

5 Rosa has eaten octopus, but she ________ (not try) snails before!

6 I ________ (guess) what was inside the parcel before I opened it.

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1 ’ve been sitting   2 ’ve been trying   3 ran out

4 cooked   5 ’s not tried   6 ’d guessed