Past Simple

The Past Simple

 

 

When do we use the past simple?  

 

 

To talk about actions completed in the past at a definite time.
When did you meet him?
I met him many years ago.

 

 For actions in the past whose time is not specified, but which happened at a period of time which is now over.
I failed the driving test.
The dog ate my homework
 
 
For a habit in the past 
She never listened to her parents as a teenager.
I ate a lot when I was pregnant.  

 

 

 

Remember: if you can substitute your idea using "used to", then it’s the Past Simple.

 

 How do we use the past simple? 

 

 [+] Add -ed at the end of the verb
       Unless it's an irregular verb (V2- there are many of them.
 We (/ I / you / he / she / it / they) worked here last year.
  I (/ you / he / she / it / we / they) studied at the University of Connecticut

 

 

 

[-] Add the helping verb did and negation word not = did not = didn't
       The main verb then goes back to its base form - V1 (didn't already indicates the past) 
She (/ I / you / he / it / we / they) didn't see it coming.
They (/ I / you / he / she / it / we) didn't attend the meeting.

 

 

 

[?] The helping verb Did begins the question
        The main verb then goes back to its base form - V1 (Did already indicates the past)
Did you (/ I / he / she / it / we / they) find a good parking spot?
Did it (/ I / you / he / she / we / they) work?
   What did you have for breakfast?
    How much did you pay for your bike?
 

 

 

The relevant form is V2

 

 

 

 

V1  

V2 

V3   

base form
same as
the infinitive without to
past simple
(instead of
-ed)
used in the
present perfect
and passive
   
to bet  bet     bet       
to buyboughtbought
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
forgetforgotforgotten
seesawseen
sellsoldsold
thinkthoughtthought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  

 

 
 
 
 
 
   
Time Expressions used in the Past Simple:

 

Last (week, year…) 
(2 minutes, 5 weeks…) ago 
A specific date (In 1994, On July 11th…) 
When (I was in the army…) 
Yesterday, the previous day (…) 
  
  

 

 Now practice the past simple.  
The links below provide exercises with immediate feedback so you can test yourself.
  
** For kids:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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