What are Narrative Tenses? Definition and Examples

Definition and Example Sentences with Narrative Tenses

What are Narrative Tenses? Definition and Examples

What are Narrative Tenses?

Narrative tenses can be used with four different tense and we often use to talk about past events. In the analysis made for short stories, transfers are made with different genre categories such as stage, painting, summarizing and commenting which constitute the units of the fictional narration. Based on the narrative tenses functions, each of these information is given a proper name. The most common tenses is the past simple.

Another three tenses, the past continuous, the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous, in this way it can help us to say what we want more efficiently.

Past Simple

Past Simple is used for actions that have been completed in the past. It is used to tell the main events of the story and their order of occurrence.

For example:

Mandela was born in 1918.Mandela became the first black President of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in his battle against the system of apartheid.

A day, she went for a walk in a forest and came across an abandoned hut.

Also the past simple is often used in dialogue.

– When Dobby went down for dinner, Matteo looked up.

– “Did you hear the storm last evening?”

– Dobby didn’t answer to matteo.

– “Your brother went out last evening. He didn’t come back again. Do you know where he went?”

– Dobby’s heart sank. She knew exactly where Danilo had gone…

16 Tenses and Example Sentences in English

Past Continuous

Past Continuous is used for a longer action in progress while another action is in progress. In other words, “Past Continuous sentences tell us that a job has been done for a while”.

Note: Past Continuous tense should also be used if two long actions occur at the same time.

For Example:

At 7 o’clock that evening Sam was still missing. Allie was feeling worried.

Bonny was barking loudly.

While she was walking past the house, she heard a strange sound coming from it.

That summer, Christian and his family were taking a holiday in France.

The child read the letter, the sun was shinnig.

The wind was blowing outside, she opened the bag.

She was walking her dog when a bird attacked her.

Jenny was talking to my friend on the phone while Jenny was walking on the Street.


Past Perfect Continuous

Past Perfect Continuous used to talk about a completed action before any other action in the past. Past Perfect Continuous tells us that a job, situation or event has been done at a time in the past and has been going on for a while.

Note: If the sequence of events is clear, we usually do not use past perfect continuous.

For Example:

Robin could tell that the body had been lying on the beach for many hours because the women’s clothes were dry.

America had been trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Germany and Poland.

When a story is told and its time is carefully determined, we can continue the story with Past Continuous or Past Perfect Continuous. In this case it is not necessary to continue using Past Perfect Continuous.

Past Simple and Past Continuous

I was strolling along the beach one day when suddenly, Betty ran off.

It was still raining when Halsey woke up the next night. Danny was sitting at the table when she went into the bathroom.

Past Simple and Past Perfect

I quickly realised that the storm the previous day had washed up the body.

Becky knew that Danial hadn’t wanted to come home but she also knew that he hadn’t had any other option.