Simple Past Tense (Formula, Usage, Examples)

Simple Past Tense

Thesimple pastIt is a verb tense used to describe things that have happened or were previously. Think about someone asking you what your brother Wolfgang did last weekend while he was here.WolfgangEnter a hula hoop contest.HeIt is possible to winThe silver medal

Simple past tense indicates that you are referring to something that has already occurred. The simple past tense is different from the past continuous tense which refers to past events that occurred over a time period.AdmiredThe way light worksGlintingHis silver medal.

The simple past can also be used to describe a past state of mind, such as how someone felt about something. This is often done with the simple past tense.To beWolfgangWasHe was proud of his victory in the hula hoops contestWasThe highlight of his week.

How to Make the Simple Past Simple

For regular verbs, add-edTo the root form (or just) of the verb-dIf the root form ends already in an e),

Play-Played Type – Typed Listen-Listened Pushed Love-Loved

Things get even more complicated for irregular verbs. The root form of some irregular verbs is exactly the same as their simple past tense.

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Put-Put Cut and Cut Set-Set Cost-Cost Hit

Other irregular verbs are also available, including the verbTo beThe simple past forms are more unpredictable.

See-Saw Go-Went Do -Did Rise Rose Am/Is/Are–Was/Were

Good news: Verbs in the simple past are still possible, except for the verbTo be) do not need to agree with their subjects in numbers.WolfgangPolishedHis medal. Other winnersPolishedThey also received medals.

How to make the simple past negative

There is a way to make simple past verbs negative. It works for regular and irregular verbs, except for the verbTo be). The formula isdidn’t + [root form]. You can also useContraction It didn’tInstead ofIt didn’t.WolfgangDid not bragToo much attention is paid to his hula-hoop skills. Wolfgang’s girlfriendDidn’t seeThe contest.

The verbTo beYou don’t even need the auxiliaryDid. Use when the subject of the sentence has a singular form.It was notOrIt wasn’t. Use when the subject is pluralThey were notOrThey weren’tThe third place winnerIt was notAs happy as Wolfgang. The fourth-place winnerIt wasn’tThe onlookers are not happy. The observersThey were notAfter the contest was over, they were ready to go. The contestantsThey weren’tYou are ready to leave either.

How to ask a question

This is the formula to ask a question in simple past tensedid + [subject] + (root form of verb).Did Wolfgang winThe gold or silver medal? Wheredid Wolfgang goTo celebrate?Did the judges make the final decision?Quite, in your view?

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The auxiliary is not required when you ask a question using the verb to-beDid. The formula isWas/were + [subject].WasWolfgang is in a great mood after the contest?WereAre people taking a lot of photos?

Common Regular Verbs in the Past Tense

Simple past regular verbs

Common Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense

Simple past chart 2

Simple past tense is used to express the actions that happened in the past or happened one after the other. For example, The baby crawled.

Signal words

Structure / Formula

Subject + V2 + Object

Isolvedthe sum
SubjectSimple Past (V2)Object

Positive Sentences

See the structure to make affirmative/positive sentences.

Subject + Past(V2) + Object

Examples of positive sentences

Negative Sentences

We use ‘not’ after auxiliary verb to make the sentence negative.

Subject + did + not + Base form (V1) + object.

Examples of negative sentences.

Question Sentences

To make the question, auxiliary verb come at the start of the sentence and question mark at the end.

Did + subject + base form (V1) + object + ?

Examples of question sentences.


Action that happened at definite time.She went to the park an hour ago.
Actions that happened one after the other.He ordered pizza. He received the pizza at home. He ate it.
The actions or states that finished in past.His mother used to wash his clothes.

Example Sentences

1. He drew the old man out of the ditch.
2. She used to wash clothes daily.
3. He wrote an interesting story.
4. The child completed his homework.
5. Did he live in this house?
6. His mother would wash clothes.
7. Did he write a letter?
8. We paid tribute to our national poet.
9. The boys recited the national anthem.
10. She did not sleep.


  1. He ______ not ______ a letter. (not write)
  2. ______ we _____ the sum? (solve)
  3. We _____ tribute to our national poet. (pay)
  4. The boys _____ the national anthem. (recite)
  5. They _____ my invitation. (accept)
  6. _____ poor children _____ toys? (buy)
  7. _____ he _____ the river? (swim)
  8. He _____ badminton yesterday. (play)
  9. The child’s mouth _____ on seeing the sweets. (water)
  10. She ______ every challenge bravely. (face)
See also  Present Continuous Tense (Formula, Examples & Exercises)


  1. He did not write a letter.
  2. Did we solve the sum?
  3. We paid tribute to our national poet.
  4. The boys recited the national anthem.
  5. They accepted my invitation.
  6. Did poor children buy toys?
  7. Did he swim the river?
  8. He played badminton yesterday.
  9. The child’s mouth watered on seeing the sweets.
  10. She faced every challenge bravely.

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