English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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3.4 Using the past tense

You have identified the use of past verb tenses in academic texts. You now focus on using past verb tenses.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Using the right verb tense (past)

In the box below is an example of a historical recount taken from the teaching material for a social sciences course, with some blank spaces. In the spaces insert the correct past verb tense of the verbs in brackets.

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During both world wars there were quite dramatic changes in that women were encouraged out of the home and into production. This happened both in 1914 and in 1939. In some ways the working lives of women were different after each war too. Certainly new employment opportunities were opening up for women in the 1920s, with the growth of office and shop work. Similarly, there were new opportunities for employment in the period after the Second World War with the expansion of part-time work. Part-time work had been virtually unknown before the war and many of the part-time jobs created by the state in the service sector (in teaching, nursing and clerical work) were taken up by married women.

(The Open University (2008) Y157 Understanding society, Text 4, p. 20)

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