Narrative Tenses- Guess the Year Game

Level: Intermediate

Topic: General

Grammar Topic: Verbs and Tenses

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

 

Narrative tenses Guess the Year Game (Past Continuous/ Past Perfect Simple/ Past 
Perfect Continuous) 
 

Think of one year in your past, e.g. 1983. Give information about your situation in the 
middle of that year, using only the Past Perfect (I had been/ done etc.) and the Past 
Continuous (I was doing/ living etc.), for example by giving full sentence answers to 
some of the questions below. Can your partner guess which year you are describing? 

 
Home 
What kind of accommodation were you living in (a house/ a flat/ company 
accommodation/ student halls etc.)? 
How long had you been living there? 
Who were you living with? 
Which country/ area/ city were you living in? How long had you been living there? 
 
Work and studies 
Where were you working or studying? 
What was your job (I was working as…) or what were you studying? 
How long had you been doing that? 
What things had you already achieved by that point? 
Were you studying anything in your free time? 
What level had you reached? 
What particular projects were you working on or what particular subjects and topics 
were you studying (e.g. trigonometry)? 
What projects or topics had you already finished? 
 
Friends and family 
What were you friends and family doing at that time? 
How many years had you been married/ engaged/ going out with your boyfriend/ 
girlfriend? 
Had your children already started school/ started kindergarten/ learnt to talk/ learnt to 
walk/ started studying English? 
 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007 

 

Travels 
How many countries/ which countries had you visited? Where were you thinking of 
visiting next? 
What famous sights had you already seen? 
 
Possessions 
What car were you driving? / What bicycle or motorbike were you riding? How long had 
you had it? 
What major possessions had you recently bought? What were you planning to buy next? 
 
Trends 
What things were improving in your life? (e.g. your physical fitness) 
What things were deteriorating? (e.g. your knowledge of French) 
What things had reached a peak? (e.g. your weight) 
What things had bottomed out? 
 
Politics and society 
What wars were being fought? 
Were people getting richer or poorer? 
How had people’s attitudes and values changed, or how were they changing? 
What things were becoming more and less popular? 
 
Technology 
What things had recently been introduced? 
What things had recently disappeared? 
What things were becoming more and less popular? 
 

Continue the game with different years, this time asking each other questions like those 
above using only the Past Continuous and Past Perfect (the answers can use other 
tenses) 
 
Continue guessing by asking questions in the Past Continuous and Past Perfect, but 
this time not looking at the questions above 

 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007 

 

Narrative tenses Guess the Year Game (Past Continuous/ Past Perfect Simple/ Past 
Perfect Continuous) 
Worksheet 2- Grammar Presentation and Further Practice 
 
Grammar Point 1 

What is the difference in structure and meaning between the tenses used in these 
questions? 

What level had you reached? 
How long had you been living there? 
 

Which tense is the Past Perfect Continuous and which one is the Past Perfect Simple? 
 
Which tense is used when what you have achieved is more important (e.g. finishing a 
marathon), and which tense is used when the action is more important (e.g. running in 
the heat and therefore sweaty)? 

 
Grammar Point 2 

What is the difference in structure and meaning between the tenses used in these 
questions? 

What wars were being fought? 
What things were becoming more popular? 
 
Further Practice 

Pick a different year in your life. How many true sentences can your partner make 
about your situation in that year? 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007