Past Simple for intermediate learners
Past simple tense is one of the most exciting and important tenses in English. We often use it to talk about what happened before.
What Is Simple Past?
When we want to talk about an event in the past, we use the 'simple past' tense. The action is finished in the past.
In English, based on their past forms, we have two kinds of verbs that are listed below:
Regular verbs get an '-ed' at the end of them while irregular verbs completely change their structures.
Most verbs are called regular in English and when we want to use them in the 'simple past' tense, we simply add an '-ed' to the end of the base form of the verb. Look at the following examples:
As you can see, the action happened in the past and is finished.
Some verbs in English are irregular and their structure changes completely when they are used in different tenses. The table below shows some of the most common irregular verbs and their past forms:
|The Verb||The Past Form|
Please note that the 'to be' verb has two past forms. 'Was' is only used for the third-person singular. look at the following examples:
We can also use simple past tense in negative sentences and questions. Check out the following examples:
As you can see, when we turn the sentence into a negative one, we use the base form of the main verb.
It is important to note that we use the past form of 'do' in order to turn regular verbs and 'to have' into negative sentences and questions. However, we do not need an auxiliary verb to turn 'to be' into negative form or question. look at the examples below:
did you were ...)
Always remember that we do not add any '-s' to the verbs in the 'simple past' tense. Look at the following example:
hads a dog....)
The 'simple past' tense is used in many different contexts. However, we are going to talk about some of the more common uses of this tense. Take a look at the following list below:
- A time in the past
- General facts in the past
- Story-telling and narration
A Time in the Past
When we want to talk about an event in the past, whether it is specified or not, we can use the 'simple past' tense. Carefully study the examples below:
As you can see, the sentence is talking about an action in the past on a specific day.
Here, the sentence is about an event in the past but there is no specific time.
General Facts in the Past
Another use of the 'simple past' tense is to talk about general truths or simple facts. However, remember that these facts are in the past. Pay attention to the following examples:
As you can see, the sentence is talking about something in the past that is no longer happening in the present.
It is useful to know that when we want to talk about a routine or a habit we had in the past, we can use the structure 'used to'. However, this structure is for habits that we no longer do in the present. Pay attention to the following examples:
As you can see, the base form of the main verb is used after the 'used to' structure.
As you can see, it is necessary to use the preposition 'to' after 'used'.
Story-telling and Narration
When we want to tell a story, whether it is real or imaginary, we mainly use the 'simple past' tense. Take a look at the following examples below: