What’s the Simple Past?
The Simple Past is used to talk about actions completed in the past.
- She came back last Thursday.
- I saw her in the building.
- I made a cake for my mom, it was delicious
- I ran to the train station every day
- I sent some flowers to my girlfriends, today it is her birthday
- They didn’t agree with me.
- They did their homework, it was kind of difficult
- They played video games the whole night
- Yesterday I did exercise.
- I didn’t go to the gym last sunday.
It can also be used to talk about a period of time
- She lived in California for seven years.
- They were in London from monday to friday
- Last week, I stayed with my sister for a few days
- Joe lived in Boston for ten years.
- From 1981 to 1984, he worked for a large multinational company.
You will often find the past simple used with time expressions such as these:
- I met him yesterday
- I saw him two weeks ago
- She came to visit me last year
- The last time I went to concert was in 2009
- I played soccer from May to June
- I have known him for a long time
- I worked there for 4 weeks
- in the 1990s, I stole many cars
- She was the best singer of the last century
- In the past, I made so many mistakes
How to Make Affirmative Statements in the Simple Past
These are some examples of affirmative sentences in the simple past:
|Base Form||Past Simple||Example|
|Go||Went||I went to the store|
|Play||Played||You played video games last night|
|Run||ran||She ran 5 KM yesterday|
|Say||Said||He said that she was beautiful|
|Make||Made||They made a cake for us|
|Fix||Fixed||We fixed her bike|
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 Affirmative||Simple Past Negative|
|I went to the store||I didn’t go to the store|
|She wanted money||She didn’t want money|
|He played soccer||He didn’t play soccer|
|It worked well||It didn’t work well|
|We watched a movie||We didn’t watch a movie|
|you cooked dinner||You didn’t cook dinner|
|they ran yesterday||They 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.
Yes or No Questions in the Simple Past
|Simple Past Affirmative||Simple Past Questions|
|I went to the store||Did I go to the store?|
|She wanted money||Did you want money?|
|He played soccer||Did he play soccer?|
|It worked well||Did it work well?|
|We watched a movie||Did we watch a movie?|
|you cooked dinner||Did you cook dinner?|
|they ran yesterday||Did they run yesterday|
Wh-Questions in the Simple Past
|Where did you go last night?||I went to the club with some friends|
|What did you do last night||I watched a couple of movies|
|What movie did they watch?||They watched a horror movie|
|Who did she meet?||She met a company executive|
Common Verbs in the Past Tense With Examples
These are some common verbs in the simple past tense
- 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: Questions about the Past
These are some common questions you can make when talking about the past
- Where did you go on your last vacation?
- What did you do for your last birthday?
- What did you do last week?
- How did you spend your weekend?
- What did you do yesterday morning?
- Did you watch any movies last night? What movies did you watch?
- Who was your frist crush?
- What did you do for the last 24 hours?
- What was the last movie that you watched?
- When was the last time you went shopping?
- When was the last time you went on a date?
- When was the last time you had a party?
- Did you do any exercises last week? What exercises did you do?
- How did you spend your days when you were a kid?
- How did you have fun when you were in highschool?
Simple Past: Irregular Verbs
For more information about other grammar related explanations, worksheets and exercises. Visit the Grammar Page