The English simple past tense (sometimes also called the past simple) has various different uses. Let’s take a look at the different ways we can use this English verb tense.
How do you form the simple past tense?
For regular verbs, it’s very easy. All we do is add -ed to the end of the verb. However, there are many irregular verbs that you will need to learn.
[note color="#DBEEF4"]Structure: subject + verb + object
Example: Andy saw John[/note]
|I||I visited London||I didn't visit London||Did I visit London?|
|You||You broke the TV||You didn't break the TV||Did you break the TV?|
|He/She/It||She walked to work||She didn't walk to work||Did she walk to work?|
|We||We opened the door||We didn't open the door||Did we open the door?|
|They||They ate the apple||They didn't eat the apple||Did they eat the apple?|
Uses & Explanations:
1. Completed action/event in the past
- I visited London last year
- Lewis went to a posh restaurant last night
- Andy worked very hard last week
2. Series of completed actions/events in the past
- Yesterday morning I woke up, showered, brushed my teeth and got dressed
- Last week Katie bought a house, redecorated it and sold it, all in one week!
3. When one single action/event in the past interrupts another continuous action/event in the past (used with the past continuous tense)
- My girlfriend was cooking dinner when you knocked on the door
- Helen fell over while she was walking to work
- Micky created the concept when he was studying at university.
4. Stating a fact about the past
- Christopher Columbus discovered America
- Jenny lived in Oxford for most of her childhood
Click here to conjugate verbs in the past simple tense.