Past Simple


1. The simple past tense is expressed with the past form of the verb and nothing else.

    My grandfather died last year.

    My grandfather was died last year. (Incorrect)
    My grandfather has died last year. (Incorrect)
2. The simple past tense refers to
    a. action which occurred at a specific time in the past
    b. completed action
    c. past status
    Specific past action Completed action Past status
    I ate lunch at noon today.
    He drove to work yesterday.
    She finally mailed the letter.
    Jan finished her report on time.
    John was still single in 1995.
    Jane was a movie star.

Note the usage of the past tense in the following story.

Yesterday Mrs. Hubbard had a very rough day. In the morning, she went to the kitchen and looked in the cupboard for some food for her dog, but the cupboard was empty. Her poor dog stared up at her with its hungry eyes, and she knew she had to do something quickly. She hurried to the grocery store to buy some dog food, but unfortunately the store was out of her dog’s favorite brand, so she had to catch a bus downtown. After buying the food, she waited for a half hour in the rain to get a taxi. When she finally got home, her dog was sound asleep on the living room sofa.


Common problems with the past tense

1. Using the present tense when the past tense is required.

    Last week, Tonya fix her neighbor’s car.
    Last week, Tonya fixed her neighbor’s car. (Correct)
2. Using “was” with verbs in the past tense.
    It was happened one night in September.
    It happened one night in September. (Correct)


Exercise 1

Exercise 2



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Comments (10)Add Comment
written by mega, August 30, 2009
tanhks for providing such a wonderful source for my teaching
Further Help
written by Jack Askew, October 11, 2009
For help on the past simple pronunciation of regular verbs this will help - Past Simple Pronunciation for Regular Verbs

For the rules of how to form the past simple this article will help - Past Simple Rules, Forms, Use and Exercises
helpful website
written by junaid, November 26, 2009
This is a very very good website for me thanks you so much for helping me you guys are very helpful now i will learn every day from this website cuz i am new in usa so that's why and now i am very happy bye.
Ty very much (-:
written by _mMm_, March 11, 2010
i couldnt know any thing about past ... but after this lesson i can say many sentences
Also i can Compare between past simpl and past continuous
thank u very much smilies/smiley.gif smilies/smiley.gif
written by Irum fatima, April 01, 2010
thnks...m so u r providing vry gud platfrm for us.....
written by girl, April 16, 2010
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written by haykal, April 16, 2010
thx ... for all ur contributions...u make me understand english...thx so much
simple past
written by anthony, May 10, 2010
This website seem me very useful and easy. I am an English teacher. I am from Peru. Thanks you for sharing this information.
very won der ful
written by asha, May 16, 2010
iam very ple sure to yuo this lesson how can i understand is well but iask to yuo aquestion that means plese send me ather lessons that are new and better than as soon as every day ilike and i wait it.
Good Tutorials
written by Samsad, December 03, 2014
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful tutorial,
It's really awesome tutorials for beginner

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