Unit 3.2

Narrative Tenses


We find narrative tenses in stories and past events.


There are four narrative tenses:
past simple;
past continuous;
past perfect;
past perfect continuous

The most commonly used is the past simple.


  • They finished studying, and started thinking about the tedious day they had.
  • It was dark in the night. The fireplace was radiating a soothing heat and the children were carefully listening to the radio programme.
  • The people of this small village had already been uneasy and restless before the war was declared and they couldn’t find peace for a long time even after the war ended.
  • We had been trying hard to make them meet before the end of the party but all the effort was in vain, they menaged to avoid each other.


We use narrative tenses to tell stories and to talk about past events.

We can use these tenses when we decribe past events such as personal anecdotes.


We use narrative tenses to talk about past. Generally, narrative tenses are used in stories and past events.

Narrative tenses are: past simple, past continuous, past perfect and past perfect continuous.

For example:

“One day we were chatting in the kitchen, when suddenly the front door opened with a slam and in entered Thomas. He was breathing heavily as if he had been running all the way there and looked as if he had seen a ghost.” = In a narrative we can find a combination of tenses and not just one of them.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.