Biographies and Past Tense Verb Forms

Dear Friends,

I’ve started this blog as a way of enriching your English language learning, and I will post items of interest and links from time to time, as a way of supplementing what we are doing in class.  Feel free to add your questions, comments or feedback on classroom or homework tasks.  These will be of benefit to all 2013 Year 8 Students of English at Sirius.

Right now, you’re working on a few things, simultaneously.  You’ve been preparing and delivering oral presentations, researching the context of the novel, Mao’s Last Dancer, maintaining a detailed reading diary as well as studying and completing assessments on language conventions. It’s certainly a busy subject, but it’s good to be busy.  The better your English language skills are, the more smoothly you will move through the academic years to come. (Congratulations on the Verb Tenses Test results, by the way!)

Your additional writing task this week is to compose a biography about someone you know well.  I hope you’ve been having fun with that.  Your pieces are due by this Friday, and should be handsomely presented, as I will be displaying your work on the pinboard in the classroom.  If you can, borrow a photo of the person you have interviewed, just to make your writing look all the more professional.  You may type the biography if you wish, but you know how fond I am of admiring excellent handwriting skills.  It’s completely up to you.

Writing a biography is the perfect opportunity to showcase your mastery of past tense verb forms; hence the task having been set. Check out this groovy verb tense timeline site!  I hope it helps to confirm what you have already learned.


  • we use the simple past tense to talk about things which happened in the past (eg. He grew up in a place called Hastings in Sussex, England)
  • we use the past continuous tense when we are writing about two actions which were happening simultaneously.  The continuous tense is used for the action that was continuing over a period of time (eg. Whilst he was studying at university, he met the love of his life)
  • we use the past perfect tense when we are trying to give the reader a sense of the logical order in which things happened (eg. They had been living in London when the war began, but they soon moved to the south of England to escape the danger of the bombing.)
  • The past perfect can also be used in the continuous form, as demonstrated in the example above.

Here’s a sample biography to help you further understand what I’m looking for.  It’s about the right word count, but your biography can be as long as you want it to be. You may also use subtitles if they will assist in structuring the information so that it is reader-friendly.  The minimum number of words is 250.

Good Luck and see you in class!  Ms K :)


11 thoughts on “Biographies and Past Tense Verb Forms

  1. dear mrs k can u please give me ideas in which i can add in my bography i need it asap can u comment on this blog as comment for me asap
    thank you
    sincerly: monera

    • First things first. Address me in complete sentences. Secondly, don’t beg. Thirdly, I can’t see your biography, so I have no idea what it ‘needs’. If you’ve interviewed someone in your family, I’m sure it will be fine. Remember to showcase your past tense verbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>