Simple Past Tense

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Simple Past Tense :

With most verbs the simple past tense is formed by adding ED.

walk –walked
want – wanted
rain – rained
ruin – ruined
face – faced

Sometimes there are spelling changes.

try – tried
stop - stopped

With some verbs the simple past is formed irregularly ( = not by adding ED).

Go – went
sing - sang

Except in the case of the verb BE the simple past form is the same for all persons.

The negative is formed with DID NOT and the base form.
The interrogative is formed with DID + subject + base form.

Positive Sentences in This Tense :

I went.
We went.
You went.
He went.
She went.
It went.
They went.

Negative Sentences in This Tense :

I did not go.
We did not go.
They did not go.
You did not go.
He did not go.
She did not go.
It did not go.

Forms of the verb BE….

I am….
We are….
They are….
He is….
She is….
It is….
You are….

Interrogative Sentences in This Tense :

Did I go?
Did we go?
Did you go?
Did they go?
Did he go?
Did she go?
Did it go?

Note that DID is not use with the verb BE in negatives and questions.

Short forms used in this tense :

Did not….didn’t
Was not…..wasn’t
Were not…..weren’t

Short answers :

Did Usha phone you?
Yes. She did.
No. she didn’t.

Was he busy?
Yes. He was.
No. He wasn’t.

Were they late?
Yes. They were.
No. They weren’t.

The simple past is also called the past simple.

We use the simple past to talk about something that happened and finished at some time in the past. We usually say or know when the action happened.

Suresh borrowed my laptop yesterday.
India won the cricket World Cup in 2011.
Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.
Somebody knocked on the door at 10.30 last night.
I opened the door and saw a stranger.
I bought this bag in Mumbai.
Did you see Divya at the party?
The train was 20 minutes late.

The time when the action happened is mentioned (as in the first four sentences above) or understood in the context (as in the other sentences).

The simple past is often used to tell a story.
This tense can also be used for habits or repeated actions in the past.

I went to the beach nearly every evening when I was in Chennai.
He invited me to dinner every Saturday.

Note that it is more usual to use USED TO for past habits.

He used to invite me to dinner every Sunday.

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