English The Simple Past Tense

    Beginner English - Level A1


    The simple past tense is the one-word past tense of verbs in English. This module looks at regular and irregular verbs in the simple past.


    Narrating about a sequence of past events

    Greenville, South Carolina at Falls Park in downtown at night.

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    English A1

    Regular and Irregular Verbs

    To form the past tense with regular verbs we use the base form of the verb and add the ending “-ed”.


    We cannot use the ending “-ed” with irregular verbs. They follow a different conjugation table.


    eat (ate), begin (began), break (broke), buy (bought), drive (drove), go (went), know (knew), leave (left), make (made)

    ate a hamburger yesterday.
    He drove home last night.
    We went to the game last week.
    She knew him from earlier.
    left after lunch.
    You made a mistake.

    The Verb "to be" 

    To form the past tense of “to be”, we use “was” and “were”.


    I was happy.
    You were honest.
    He was funny.

    To form the past tense of “to be” in the negative, we simply add “not”.


    I was not happy.
    You were not honest.
    He was not funny.

    Questions with “was” and “were”:


    Question: Was I happy?      Answer: Yes, I was.
    Question: Was he honest?  Answer: No, he was not.
    Question: Were they late?  Answer: Yes, they were.

    Simple Past with "do"

    To form a negative, or to ask and answer questions in the Past Tense we need to use “to do” + a verb in the infinitive.





    Short Answers:


    Questions with “Wh-” question words: 


    Simple Past Negative Examples

    • I didn’t go to school last night.
    • You didn’t understand.
    • She didn’t eat dinner yesterday.
    • He didn’t go to work.
    • We didn’t have fun last night.
    • They didn’t call you.

    Past Simple Question Examples

    • Did you eat dinner?
    • Did he go to work?
    • Did he have lunch?
    • When did they go on vacation?

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