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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How to use the ENGLISH SIMPLE PAST Tense


Simple past, form for regular verbs: base+ed

Example; walked, showed, watched, played, smiled, stopped

Simple past for irregular verbs.

Simple past, be, have, do:

Subject  Verb

Be  Have Do 

was  had  did 

You  were had did 

He was  had  did 

We  were had did 

They  were had did 


I was in Canada last year

She had a headache yesterday.

We did our homework last week. 


We didn't do our homework last night. 

They weren't in Canada last summer. 

We hadn't any money.

We didn't have time to visit the Eiffel Tower.

We didn't do our exercises this morning.


Were they in Vancouver last January?

Did you have a bicycle when you were a boy?

Did you do much climbing in British Columbia? 

Simple past with regular verbs: verb + ed 


I washed 


I did not wash. 


Did she arrive? 

Interrogative negative 

Didn't you like? 

Example: to walk, simple past.

Affirmative  Negative  Interrogative 

I walked  I didn't walk  Did I walk? 

You walked  You didn't walk  Did you walk? 

They walked  They didn't walk  Did they walk? 

For the negative and interrogative form of all verbs in the simple past,

 always use the auxiliary 'did''.


Simple past, irregular verbs  'to go'

He went to a gym last night.

interrogative form

Did he go to the club last night?

negative form

He didn't go to bed early last night.

Examples: Simple past, irregular verbs "to give"

We gave her a doll for her birthday.

They didn't give John their copy.

Did Barry give you my report?

Examples: Simple past, irregular verbs "to come"

My parents came to visit me last year.

We didn't come because it was snowing.

Did she come to your open house last week?

Simple past function is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. Duration is not important. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past. 


John Cabot sailed to Canada in 1498. 

My father died last year. 

He lived in Calgary in 1986. 

We crossed Lake Superior yesterday. 

You always use the simple past when you say when something happened, so it is associated with certain past time expressions.


Yesterday, I arrived in Montreal.

She finished her work at five o'clock.

We saw a good play last week.

I went to the hockey game last night.

She played the piano when she was a child.

He sent me a report six months ago.

Peter left five minutes ago

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