English Grammar Made Easy

Subtitle

Simple Past Tense

Simple Past

FORM

[VERB+ed] or irregular verbs (See list further down)

Examples:

·       You called Debbie.

·       Did you call Debbie?

·       You did not call Debbie.

(Complete List of Simple Past Forms is further down the page)

USE 1 Completed Action in the Past

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.

Examples:

·       I saw a movie yesterday.

·       I didn't see a play yesterday.

·       Last year, I traveled to Japan.

·       Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.

·       Did you have dinner last night?

·       She washed her car.

·       He didn't wash his car.

USE 2 A Series of Completed Actions

We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.

Examples:

·       I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.

·       He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.

·       Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

USE 3 Duration in Past

The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.

Examples:

·       I lived in Brazil for two years.

·       Shauna studied Japanese for five years.

·       They sat at the beach all day.

·       They did not stay at the party the entire time.

·       We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.

·       A: How long did you wait for them?
B: We waited for one hour.

USE 4 Habits in the Past

The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.

Examples:

·       I studied French when I was a child.

·       He played the violin.

·       He didn't play the piano.

·       Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?

·       She worked at the movie theater after school.

·       They never went to school, they always skipped class.

USE 5 Past Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. As in USE 4 above, this use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression "used to."

Examples:

·       She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.

·       He didn't like tomatoes before.

·       Did you live in Texas when you were a kid?

·       People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

IMPORTANT When-Clauses Happen First

Clauses are groups of words which have meaning but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word "when" such as "when I dropped my pen..." or "when class began..." These clauses are called when-clauses, and they are very important. The examples below contain when-clauses.

Examples:

·       When I paid her one dollar, she answered my question.

·       She answered my question when I paid her one dollar.

When-clauses are important because they always happen first when both clauses are in the Simple Past. Both of the examples above mean the same thing: first, I paid her one dollar, and then, she answered my question. It is not important whether "when I paid her one dollar" is at the beginning of the sentence or at the end of the sentence. However, the example below has a different meaning. First, she answered my question, and then, I paid her one dollar.

Example:

·       I paid her one dollar when she answered my question.

 

Simple Past Forms

Most Verbs

Most verbs conjugate by adding -ed like the verb "wait" below.

Positive

Negative

Question

·       I waited.

·       You waited.

·       We waited.

·       They waited.

·       He waited.

·       She waited.

·       It waited.

·       I did not wait.

·       You did not wait.

·       We did not wait.

·       They did not wait.

·       He did not wait.

·       She did not wait.

·       It did not wait.

·       Did I wait?

·       Did you wait?

·       Did we wait?

·       Did they wait?

·       Did he wait?

·       Did she wait?

·       Did it wait?

Irregular Verbs

Many verbs, such as "have," take irregular forms in the Simple Past. Notice that you only use the irregular verbs in statements. In negative forms and questions, "did" indicates Simple Past.

Positive

Negative

Question

·       I had.

·       You had.

·       We had.

·       They had.

·       He had.

·       She had.

·       It had.

·       I did not have.

·       You did not have.

·       We did not have.

·       They did not have.

·       He did not have.

·       She did not have.

·       It did not have.

·       Did I have?

·       Did you have?

·       Did we have?

·       Did they have?

·       Did he have?

·       Did she have?

·       Did it have?

To Be

The verb "be" is also irregular in the Simple Past. Unlike other irregular verbs, there are two Simple Past forms: "was" and "were." It also has different question forms and negative forms. Always remember that you DO NOT use "did" with the verb "be" in the Simple Past.

Positive

Negative

Question

·       I was.

·       You were.

·       We were.

·       They were.

·       He was.

·       She was.

·       It was.

·       I was not.

·       You were not.

·       We were not.

·       They were not.

·       He was not.

·       She was not.

·       It was not.

·       Was I?

·       Were you?

·       Were we?

·       Were they?

·       Was he?

·       Was she?

·       Was it?

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs behave very strangely in the Simple Past. The most important verb to remember is "must." Notice how it becomes "had to" in the Simple Past.

"Must" becomes "had to":

·       I must call my wife now.

·       I had to call my wife yesterday.

 

Irregular Verb Dictionary

Englishpage.com's Irregular Verb Dictionary for English learners contains over 370 irregular verbs used in modern English.

  • Alternate forms are separated by /. The first form listed is the most commonly used.
  • Forms which are primarily used in British English are in italics.
  • To view a definition of the verb, click on the infinitive form.

 

 

<B>A</B>

Infinitive

Simple Past

Past Participle

arise

arose

arisen

awake

awakened / awoke

awakened / awoken

<B>B</B>

backslide

backslid

backslidden / backslid

be

was, were

been

bear

bore

born / borne

beat

beat

beaten / beat

become

became

become

begin

began

begun

bend

bent

bent

bet

bet / betted

bet / betted

bid (farewell)

bid / bade

bidden

bid (offer amount)

bid

bid

bind

bound

bound

bite

bit

bitten

bleed

bled

bled

blow

blew

blown

break

broke

broken

breed

bred

bred

bring

brought

brought

broadcast

broadcast / broadcasted

broadcast / broadcasted

browbeat

browbeat

browbeaten / browbeat

build

built

built

burn

burned / burnt

burned / burnt

burst

burst

burst

bust

busted / bust

busted / bust

buy

bought

bought

<B>C</B>

cast

cast

cast

catch

caught

caught

choose

chose

chosen

cling

clung

clung

clothe

clothed / clad

clothed / clad

come

came

come

cost

cost

cost

creep

crept

crept

crossbreed

crossbred

crossbred

cut

cut

cut

<B>D</B>

daydream

daydreamed / daydreamt

daydreamed / daydreamt

deal

dealt

dealt

dig

dug

dug

disprove

disproved

disproved / disproven

dive (jump head-first)

dove / dived

dived

dive (scuba diving)

dived / dove

dived

do

did

done

draw

drew

drawn

dream

dreamed / dreamt

dreamed / dreamt [

drink

drank

drunk

drive

drove

driven

dwell

dwelt / dwelled

dwelt / dwelled

<B>E</B>

eat

ate

eaten

<B>F</B>

fall

fell

fallen

feed

fed

fed

feel

felt

felt

fight

fought

fought

find

found

found

fit (tailor, change size)

fitted / fit

fitted / fit

fit (be right size)

fit / fitted

fit / fitted

flee

fled

fled

fling

flung

flung

fly

flew

flown

forbid

forbade

forbidden

forecast

forecast

forecast

forego (also forgo)

forewent

foregone

foresee

foresaw

foreseen

foretell

foretold

foretold

forget

forgot

forgotten / forgot

forgive

forgave

forgiven

forsake

forsook

forsaken

freeze

froze

frozen

frostbite

frostbit

frostbitten

<B>G</B>

get

got

gotten / got

give

gave

given

go

went

gone

grind

ground

ground

grow

grew

grown

<B>H</B>

hand-feed

hand-fed

hand-fed

handwrite

handwrote

handwritten

hang

hung

hung

have

had

had

hear

heard

heard

hew

hewed

hewn / hewed

hide

hid

hidden

hit

hit

hit

hold

held

held

hurt

hurt

hurt

<B>I</B>

inbreed

inbred

inbred

inlay

inlaid

inlaid

input

input / inputted

input / inputted

interbreed

interbred

interbred

interweave

interwove / interweaved

interwoven / interweaved

interwind

interwound

interwound

<B>J</B>

jerry-build

jerry-built

jerry-built

<B>K</B>

keep

kept

kept

kneel

knelt / kneeled

knelt / kneeled

knit

knitted / knit

knitted / knit

know

knew

known

<B>L</B>

lay

laid

laid

lead

led

led

lean

leaned / leant

leaned / leant

leap

leaped / leapt

leaped / leapt

learn

learned / learnt

learned / learnt

leave

left

left

lend

lent

lent

let

let

let

lie

lay

lain

lie (not tell truth) REGULAR

lied

lied

light

lit / lighted

lit / lighted

lip-read

lip-read

lip-read

lose

lost

lost

<B>M</B>

make

made

made

mean

meant

meant

meet

met

met

miscast

miscast

miscast

misdeal

misdealt

misdealt

misdo

misdid

misdone

mishear

misheard

misheard

mislay

mislaid

mislaid

mislead

misled

misled

mislearn

mislearned / mislearnt

mislearned / mislearnt

misread

misread

misread

misset

misset

misset

misspeak

misspoke

misspoken

misspell

misspelled / misspelt

misspelled / misspelt

misspend

misspent

misspent

mistake

mistook

mistaken

misteach

mistaught

mistaught

misunderstand

misunderstood

misunderstood

miswrite

miswrote

miswritten

mow

mowed

mowed / mown

<B>N</B>

No irregular verbs beginning with "N."

<B>O</B>

offset

offset

offset

outbid

outbid

outbid

outbreed

outbred

outbred

outdo

outdid

outdone

outdraw

outdrew

outdrawn

outdrink

outdrank

outdrunk

outdrive

outdrove

outdriven

outfight

outfought

outfought

outfly

outflew

outflown

outgrow

outgrew

outgrown

outleap

outleaped / outleapt

outleaped / outleapt

outlie (not tell truth) REGULAR

outlied

outlied

outride

outrode

outridden

outrun

outran

outrun

outsell

outsold

outsold

outshine

outshined / outshone

outshined / outshone

outshoot

outshot

outshot

outsing

outsang

outsung

outsit

outsat

outsat

outsleep

outslept

outslept

outsmell

outsmelled / outsmelt

outsmelled / outsmelt

outspeak

outspoke

outspoken

outspeed

outsped

outsped

outspend

outspent

outspent

outswear

outswore

outsworn

outswim

outswam

outswum

outthink

outthought

outthought

outthrow

outthrew

outthrown

outwrite

outwrote

outwritten

overbid

overbid

overbid

overbreed

overbred

overbred

overbuild

overbuilt

overbuilt

overbuy

overbought

overbought

overcome

overcame

overcome

overdo

overdid

overdone

overdraw

overdrew

overdrawn

overdrink

overdrank

overdrunk

overeat

overate

overeaten

overfeed

overfed

overfed

overhang

overhung

overhung

overhear

overheard

overheard

overlay

overlaid

overlaid

overpay

overpaid

overpaid

override

overrode

overridden

overrun

overran

overrun

oversee

oversaw

overseen

oversell

oversold

oversold

oversew

oversewed

oversewn / oversewed

overshoot

overshot

overshot

oversleep

overslept

overslept

overspeak

overspoke

overspoken

overspend

overspent

overspent

overspill

overspilled / overspilt

overspilled / overspilt

overtake

overtook

overtaken

overthink

overthought

overthought

overthrow

overthrew

overthrown

overwind

overwound

overwound

overwrite

overwrote

overwritten

<B>P</B>

partake

partook

partaken

pay

paid

paid

plead

pleaded / pled

pleaded / pled

prebuild

prebuilt

prebuilt

predo

predid

predone

premake

premade

premade

prepay

prepaid

prepaid

presell

presold

presold

preset

preset

preset

preshrink

preshrank

preshrunk

proofread

proofread

proofread

prove

proved

proven / proved

put

put

put

<B>Q</B>

quick-freeze

quick-froze

quick-frozen

quit

quit / quitted

quit / quitted

<B>R</B>

read

read (sounds like "red")

read (sounds like "red")

reawake

reawoke

reawaken

rebid

rebid

rebid

rebind

rebound

rebound

rebroadcast

rebroadcast / rebroadcasted

rebroadcast / rebroadcasted

rebuild

rebuilt

rebuilt

recast

recast

recast

recut

recut

recut

redeal

redealt

redealt

redo

redid

redone

redraw

redrew

redrawn

refit (replace parts)

refit / refitted [

refit / refitted

refit (retailor)

refitted / refit

refitted / refit

regrind

reground

reground

regrow

regrew

regrown

rehang

rehung

rehung

rehear

reheard

reheard

reknit

reknitted / reknit

reknitted / reknit

relay (for example tiles)

relaid

relaid

relay (pass along) REGULAR

relayed

relayed

relearn

relearned / relearnt

relearned / relearnt

relight

relit / relighted

relit / relighted

remake

remade

remade

repay

repaid

repaid

reread

reread

reread

rerun

reran

rerun

resell

resold

resold

resend

resent

resent

reset

reset

reset

resew

resewed

resewn / resewed

retake

retook

retaken

reteach

retaught

retaught

retear

retore

retorn

retell

retold

retold

rethink

rethought

rethought

retread

retread

retread

retrofit

retrofitted / retrofit

retrofitted / retrofit

rewake

rewoke / rewaked

rewaken / rewaked

rewear

rewore

reworn

reweave

rewove / reweaved

rewoven / reweaved

rewed

rewed / rewedded

rewed / rewedded

rewet

rewet / rewetted

rewet / rewetted

rewin

rewon

rewon

rewind

rewound

rewound

rewrite

rewrote

rewritten

rid

rid

rid

ride

rode

ridden

ring

rang

rung

rise

rose

risen

roughcast

roughcast

roughcast

run

ran

run

<B>S</B>

sand-cast

sand-cast

sand-cast

saw

sawed

sawed / sawn

say

said

said

see

saw

seen

seek

sought

sought

sell

sold

sold

send

sent

sent

set

set

set

sew

sewed

sewn / sewed

shake

shook

shaken

shave

shaved

shaved / shaven

shear

sheared

sheared / shorn

shed

shed

shed

shine

shined / shone

shined / shone

shit

shit / shat / shitted

shit/ shat / shitted

shoot

shot

shot

show

showed

shown / showed

shrink

shrank / shrunk

shrunk

shut

shut

shut

sight-read

sight-read

sight-read

sing

sang

sung

sink

sank / sunk

sunk

sit

sat

sat

slay (kill)

slew / slayed

slain / slayed

slay (amuse) REGULAR

slayed

slayed

sleep

slept

slept

slide

slid

slid

sling

slung

slung

slink

slinked / slunk

slinked / slunk

slit

slit

slit

smell

smelled / smelt

smelled / smelt

sneak

sneaked / snuck

sneaked / snuck

sow

sowed

sown / sowed

speak

spoke

spoken

speed

sped / speeded

sped / speeded

spell

spelled / spelt

spelled / spelt

spend

spent

spent

spill

spilled / spilt

spilled / spilt

spin

spun

spun

spit

spit / spat

spit / spat

split

split

split

spoil

spoiled / spoilt

spoiled / spoilt

spoon-feed

spoon-fed

spoon-fed

spread

spread

spread

spring

sprang / sprung

sprung

stand

stood

stood

steal

stole

stolen

stick

stuck

stuck

sting

stung

stung

stink

stunk / stank

stunk

strew

strewed

strewn / strewed

stride

strode

stridden

strike (delete)

struck

stricken

strike (hit)

struck

struck / stricken

string

strung

strung

strive

strove / strived

striven / strived

sublet

sublet

sublet

sunburn

sunburned / sunburnt

sunburned / sunburnt

swear

swore

sworn

sweat

sweat / sweated

sweat / sweated

sweep

swept

swept

swell

swelled

swollen / swelled

swim

swam

swum

swing

swung

swung

<B>T</B>

take

took

taken

teach

taught

taught

tear

tore

torn

telecast

telecast

telecast

tell

told

told

test-drive

test-drove

test-driven

test-fly

test-flew

test-flown

think

thought

thought

throw

threw

thrown

thrust

thrust

thrust

tread

trod

trodden / trod

typecast

typecast

typecast

typeset

typeset

typeset

typewrite

typewrote

typewritten

<B>U</B>

unbend

unbent

unbent

unbind

unbound

unbound

unclothe

unclothed / unclad

unclothed / unclad

underbid

underbid

underbid

undercut

undercut

undercut

underfeed

underfed

underfed

undergo

underwent

undergone

underlie

underlay

underlain

undersell

undersold

undersold

underspend

underspent

underspent

understand

understood

understood

undertake

undertook

undertaken

underwrite

underwrote

underwritten

undo

undid

undone

unfreeze

unfroze

unfrozen

unhang

unhung

unhung

unhide

unhid

unhidden

unknit

unknitted / unknit

unknitted / unknit

unlearn

unlearned / unlearnt

unlearned / unlearnt

unsew

unsewed

unsewn / unsewed

unsling

unslung

unslung

unspin

unspun

unspun

unstick

unstuck

unstuck

unstring

unstrung

unstrung

unweave

unwove / unweaved

unwoven / unweaved

unwind

unwound

unwound

uphold

upheld

upheld

upset

upset

upset

<B>V</B>

No commonly used irregular verbs beginning with "V."

<B>W</B>

wake

woke / waked

woken / waked

waylay

waylaid

waylaid

wear

wore

worn

weave

wove / weaved

woven / weaved

wed

wed / wedded

wed / wedded

weep

wept

wept

wet

wet / wetted

wet / wetted

whet  REGULAR

whetted

whetted

win

won

won

wind

wound

wound

withdraw

withdrew

withdrawn

withhold

withheld

withheld

withstand

withstood

withstood

wring

wrung

wrung

write

wrote

written

<B>X</B>

No irregular verbs beginning with "X."

<B>Y</B>

No irregular verbs beginning with "Y."

<B>Z</B>

No irregular verbs beginning with "Z."

Take a short quiz - go to this website -

http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb-tenses_past_quiz.htm

 

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