Past simple

Discover the past simple of verbs! Learn how to form it using videos, rules and examples. Download printable worksheets and do exercises to practice with different activities and improve your knowledge of this verb tense!

Notes

What is the past simple?
The past simple, also known as simple past, is a verb tense used to talk about things that happened or existed before now.

We use the simple past with words like yesterday, ago and the other day.

Have fun learning the basics of this tense!

Learn FREE with videos and interactive exercises

Past simple - Videos with examples

Watch the videos above and listen to sentences with examples of past simple!

"WHAT DID YOU DO YESTERDAY? I PLAYED TENNIS.

WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER THAT? I STUDIED GEOGRAPHY.

WERE YOU TIRED? YES, I WAS. BUT I LIKE GEOGRAPHY!

LAST YEAR I TRAVELLED TO MEXICO AND I DIDN’T GET LOST."

Past simple - Affirmative form

We make the affirmative form of the past simple by adding ED to the base form of a verb: VERB (base form) + ED

For example:

  • I PLAYED
  • YOU PLAYED
  • HE/SHE/IT PLAYED
  • WE PLAYED
  • YOU PLAYED
  • THEY PLAYED

 

Watch out! There are some exceptions to the standard rule!

If a verb ends in E, we add D:

  • Live → Lived

 

If a verb ends with a consonant + Y, Y becomes I and we add ED:

  • Cry → Cried

 

If a verb ends with a vowel and a consonant, we double the consonant and add ED:

  • Travel → Travelled

 

Download the worksheet below and practise with the affirmative form of the past simple!

Past simple - Negative form

Let's learn how to make negative sentences with the past simple! We use DID and then we add NOT. Follow this structure: PERSONAL PRONOUN + DID NOT/DIDN'T + VERB (base form)

Long formContracted form
I DID NOT PLAYI DIDN'T PLAY
YOU DID NOT PLAYYOU DIDN'T PLAY
HE/SHE/IT DID NOT PLAYHE/SHE/IT DIDN'T PLAY
WE DID NOT PLAYWE DIDN'T PLAY
YOU DID NOT PLAYYOU DIDN'T PLAY
THEY DID NOT PLAYTHEY DIDN'T PLAY

 

Download the worksheet below and exercise with the negative form of the simple past!

Past simple - Interrogative form

We use DID to make questions with the past simple. Follow this structure: DID + PERSONAL PRONOUN + VERB (base form).

Take a look at these examples with the verb "play":

DIDPERSONAL PRONOUNVERB
DIDIPLAY ?
DIDYOUPLAY ?
DIDHE/SHE/ITPLAY ?
DIDWEPLAY ?
DIDYOUPLAY ?
DIDTHEYPLAY ?

 

Download the worksheet below and practise!

TO BE

Not every verb follows the ordinary rules of the past simple! In fact, the verb TO BE is an irregular verb.

Here is the table with the different forms of the verb "to be" at the past tense. Learn them all!

AFFIRMATIVE FORMNEGATIVE FORMINTERROGATIVE FORM
I WASI WAS NOT | I WASN'TWAS I ?
YOU WEREYOU WERE NOT | YOU WEREN'TWERE YOU ?
HE/SHE/IT WASHE/SHE/IT WAS NOT | HE/SHE/IT WASN'TWAS HE/SHE/IT ?
WE WEREWE WERE NOT | WE WEREN'TWERE WE ?
YOU WEREYOU WERE NOT | YOU WEREN'TWERE YOU ?
THEY WERETHEY WERE NOT | THEY WEREN'TWERE THEY ?

 

Download the worksheet about the simple past of the verb TO BE and practice:

TO HAVE

Like the verb TO BE, The verb TO HAVE is an irregular verb too.

Look at the table and learn its forms:

AFFIRMATIVE FORMNEGATIVE FORMINTERROGATIVE FORM
I HADI HAD NOT | I HADN'THAD I ?
YOU HADYOU HAD NOT | YOU HADN'THAD YOU ?
HE/SHE/IT HADHE/SHE/IT HAD NOT | HE/SHE/IT HADN'THAD HE/SHE/IT ?
WE HADWE HAD NOT | WE HADN'THAD WE ?
YOU HADYOU HAD NOT | YOU HADN'THAD YOU ?
THEY HADTHEY HAD NOT | THEY HADN'THAD THEY ?

 

Let's see if you know the simple past of the verb TO HAVE! Download the worksheet below: