Past Simple: States and Stative Verbs

Past states:

I knew how to swim at the age of 5

She looked beautiful at the party

I felt cold

They were tired after work

The difference between states / stative verbs in Present Perfect and Past Simple

We use Present Perfect If a state started some time ago and continues until the moment of speaking the sentence or if expressing the fact on recent events (see Present Perfect: Actions started in the past and continuing in the present):

There`s been no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 since it disappeared. The families of the missing have been angry with Malaysia`s government. They say it`s been slow to release information.

If we don’t want to show the above mentioned duration or stress the fact of being in a particular state, we use Past Simple:

I was happy (because I earned 12 dollars, here it’s more of a reason rather than a bare fact. We can explicitly add a reason to the sentence or we can understand it from the context, it’s not a piece of news where they want to show a fact)

Back to: Past Simple Tense

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