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PAST SIMPLE TENSE: formation and use

(example : to play)

  • The past simple tense of regular* verbs is formed by adding - ed to the infinitive
    (for example: -  infinitive : to play,    Past Simple : I played)
    *See irregular verbs

  • The auxiliary did is used to form the negative and interrogative forms

Long Form Contracted Form
I played I did not play I didn't play Did I play?
You played You did not play You didn't play Did you play?
He/she/it played He/she/it did not play He/she/it didn't play Did he/she/it play?
We played We did not play We didn't play Did we play?
You played You did not play You didn't play Did you play?
They played They did not play They didn't play Did they play?

The past simple tense is used to talk about finished actions in a finished period of time.
Examples :
  • Yesterday evening I played tennis with a friend.
  • After the match we went to the cinema.
  • You were late on Monday. (Today is Friday.)
  • Last year I started taking tennis lessons.
  • When I was at school I hated history.
  • Five minutes ago I finished the report for my boss.
  • He attended a meeting in Tokyo last week.
  • Two years ago the family moved to New York.
  • We bought our house in 2020.
  • John worked in London from 2018 to 2021.
  • We lived in the country when we were children.
  • I heard the announcement about an hour ago.

List of irregular verbs

try an exercise more exercises Past Perfect

 back to grammar