0

Past Simple can be use to describe past habits same as would and use to. Hence, I am getting difficulties to differentiate and understand the meaning of Simple past tense or Past habits while reading. How to overcome of this, Please help.

Like.

E.g. 1) "He spoke of it when he was drunk."

It could mean

a) Every day or whenever He was drunk he spoke of it. (Past Habit)

b) Once he was drunk he spoke of it. (Past Tense)

E.g. 2) "He did not allow children to play in front of his house"

It could mean

a) Every day or whenever children come to play in front of his house every day he did not allow them to play. (Past Habits)

b) Once when children came to play in front of his house he did not allow them to play there. (Past Tense)

3
  • Being a native speaker? Anyway, none of your sentences mean 'every day' in this context IMO! – Maulik V Sep 5 '17 at 5:38
  • @ Maulik V...... IMO?.... That is what I mean to say without context how to identify if it is Past habit or just past tense? It could mean both in context? – user4084 Sep 5 '17 at 6:59
  • @ Maulik V .....Past Simple can be use to describe past habits like would and use to. – user4084 Sep 5 '17 at 9:07
-1

Hence, I am getting difficulties to differentiate and understand the meaning of Simple past tense or Past habits while reading.

English words do not exist in a vaccuum, each word is affected by just about every other in a sentence and other sentences. This is probably more so than in other languages that encode a lot of meaning in word endings.

You must be aware of context and be able to create it. Jumping in the middle of a conversation requires anyone to ask questions about things unless they have knowledge beforehand about what is going on.

If the difference matters, the speaker/writer will have qualified it with additional words.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.