Grammar Explanation and Exercises: 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. Yesterday
  2. two weeks ago
  3. last year
  4.  in 2009
  5. from May to June
  6. for a long time
  7. for 4 weeks
  8. in the 1990s
  9. in the last century
  10. in the past

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.

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.

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


If you want to learn more about how to make questions using the Simple Past, you should consider watching this Youtube video that covers the basics on making questions

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

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