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Grammar Lessons: Simple Past Tense

Grammar Lessons: Simple Past Tense

What’s the Simple Past?

The Simple Past is used to talk about actions completed in the past.

  1. She came back last Thursday.
  2. I saw her in the building.
  3. They didn’t agree with me.

It can also be used to talk about a period of time

  1. She lived in California for seven years.
  2. They were in London from monday to friday

You will often find the past simple used with time expressions such as these:

  1. I met him yesterday
  2. I saw him two weeks ago
  3. She came to visit me last year
  4. The last time I went to concert was in 2009
  5. I played soccer from May to June
  6. I have known him for a long time
  7.  I worked there for 4 weeks
  8. in the 1990s, I stole many cars
  9. She was the best singer of the last century
  10. In the past, I made so many  mistakes

How to Make Negative Statements in the simple past

To make the negative form, we add the negative form (didn’t) between the pronoun or sunject and the verb. The verb in negative statements wil be in infinitive.

Simple Past AffirmativeSimple Past Negative
I went to the storeI didn’t go to the store
She wanted moneyShe didn’t want money
He played soccerHe didn’t play soccer
It worked wellIt didn’t work well
We watched a movieWe didn’t watch a movie
you cooked dinnerYou didn’t cook dinner
they ran yesterdayThey didn’t run yesterday

How to Make Questions in the Simple Past

To make a question in the simple past, you have to add the word “did” at the beginning of every question and keep the verb in its infinitive form.

Simple Past AffirmativeSimple Past Questions
I went to the storeDid I go to the store?
She wanted moneyDid you want money?
He played soccerDid he play soccer?
It worked wellDid it work well?
We watched a movieDid we watch a movie?
you cooked dinnerDid you cook dinner?
they ran yesterdayDid they run yesterday

Common Verbs in the Past Tense With Examples

  • I went to school
  • I ran yesterday morning
  • I watched a movie
  • I saw a cat
  • I cooked dinner
  • I had a great time last night
  • I did my homework
  • I made a cake
  • I walked around the park
  • I slept in a hotel
  • I opened the door
  • I cried a lot

Simple Past: Irregular Verbs

bewas/werelight*lit
beatbeatloselost
becomebecamemakemade
beginbeganmeanmeant
blowblewmeetmet
breakbrokepaypaid
bringbroughtputput
buildbuiltreadread
buyboughtriderode
catchcaughtringrang
choosechoseriserose
comecamerunran
costcostsaysaid
cutcutseesaw
dealdealtsellsold
dodidsendsent
drawdrewsetset
drinkdrankshakeshook
drivedrovestealstole
eatateshineshone
fallfellshootshot
feedfedshow*showed
feelfeltshutshut
fightfoughtsingsang
findfoundsinksank
flyflewsitsat
forgetforgotsleepslept
freezefrozeslideslid
getgotspeakspoke
givegavespendspent
gowentspringsprang
growgrewstandstood
hanghungstickstuck
havehadswearswore
hearheardsweepswept
hidehidswimswam
hithitswingswung
holdheldtaketook
hurthurtteachtaught
keepkepttelltold
knowknewthinkthought
laylaidthrowthrew
leadledunderstandunderstood
leaveleftwake*woke
lendlentwearwore
letletwinwon
lie**laywritewrote

Exercises

Simple Past

For more information about other grammar related explanations, worksheets and exercises. Visit the Grammar Page

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