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Learn one simple rule to cover three grammar structures

By upper intermediate level, students have normally learnt the following three grammar structures involving past participle verbs (eaten, given, seen, known, taken, …):

  1. present perfect” – e.g. I have seen that movie already.
  2. past perfect” – e.g. Before I moved to Japan, I had studied Japanese for 2 years.
  3. 3rd conditional” – e.g. If you had told me it was your birthday today, I would have given you a present.

Remember this one rule for all three structures to avoid a common grammatical mistake:

  • Rule: Any time you use the helping verb ‘have’ or ‘had’ in front of a main verb, the main verb must be in the past participle form (never the past simple form).

For example, depending on which is required, use either:

have taken” or “had taken

Never use:

have took” or “had took“.

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