Forms

With most verbs the past tense is formed by adding -ed:

call >> called; like >> liked; want >> wanted; work >> worked

But there are a lot of irregular past tenses in English. Here are the most common irregular verbs in English, with their past tenses:

infinitive irregular past
be
begin
break
bring
buy
build
choose
come
cost
cut
do
draw
drive
eat
feel
find
get
give
go
have
hear
hold
keep
know
leave
lead
let
lie
lose
make
mean
meet
pay
put
run
say
sell
send
set
sit
speak
spend
stand
take
teach
tell
think
understand
wear
win
write
was/were
began
broke
brought
bought
built
chose
came
cost
cut
did
drew
drove
ate
felt
found
got
gave
went
had
heard
held
kept
knew
left
led
let
lay
lost
made
meant
met
paid
put
ran
said
sold
sent
set
sat
spoke
spent
stood
took
taught
told
thought
understood
wore
won
wrote

 

Use

We use the past tense to talk about:

  • something that happened once in the past:

I met my wife in 1983.
We went to Spain for our holidays.
They got home very late last night.

  • something that happened again and again in the past:

When I was a boy I walked a mile to school every day.
We swam a lot while we were on holiday.
They always enjoyed visiting their friends.

  • something that was true for some time in the past:

I lived abroad for ten years.
He enjoyed being a student.
She played a lot of tennis when she was younger.

  • we often use phrases with ago with the past tense:

I met my wife a long time ago.

Questions and negatives

We use did to make questions with the past tense:

When did you meet your wife?
Where did you go for your holidays?
Did she play tennis when she was younger?
Did you live abroad?

But look at these questions:

Who discovered penicillin?
Who wrote Don Quixote?

For more on these questions see question forms

We use didn’t (did not) to make negatives with the past tense:

They didn’t go to Spain this year.
We didn’t get home until very late last night.
I didn’t see you yesterday. 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Dear Sir/Madam,
Somehow I can't drag the verbs to the gaps. Could someone advise what can be wrong? Mant thanks!
Sincerely yours
Wenjie

Hello tangpd,

To move the items click once on the word (but do not hold the click) and then click where you want to put it. There is no need to hold and drag; just click.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

1. Someone has broken the vase.
2. Someone broke the vase last week.
The first phrase refers to Present perfect tense and the second to past simple, right?
How can i know the different?

Hello Quezia Damaris Vasconcelos,

This is very similar to your question on another page, which I have answered. THe present perfect here tells us something which is still relevant and current. For example, we would say the first sentence when this information is still new - maybe we have just dicovered this, or the vase is still lying on the floor. The second sentence describes a completed event which is no longer current.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ok. I got it, Thank you. :)

Please help with these frases:
1. I spent all my childhood in France.
2. I have spent all my childhood in France.
Witch one is correct and why?
I know is about the Present Perfect tense but it has to do with the past to.

Hello Quezia Damaris Vasconcelos,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. The difference is that in the first sentence the speaker's childhood is finished whereas in the second sentence the speaker is still a child and their childhood will continue.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

we use past form of the verbs in past simple
.
does the PAST FORM of the verbs have other uses
except- be, have, do

i wrote
can WROTE be used by another way ?

Hello pyramid,

These kinds of open-ended, general questions can be difficult to answer, as there may be uncommon cases that we don't think of. In general, though, I'd say no, there are no other uses. For future questions like this one, please check the Wikipedia or other sources, as this is not really the kind of issue we work with here on LearnEnglish.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
why we say: I lived abroad for ten years. When we can say: I have lived abroad for ten years??? Its that correct? Do they have the same meaning?
or He enjoyed being a student, Instead of He enjoys being a student?

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