past simple

 

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

Comments

Hello sir..

Please tell me the correct sentence from the options provided below :-

1) I didn't expect your reply.

2) I was not expecting your reply.

3) I had not expected your reply.

Please tell me if i can use all of the above sentences for the situation or not.
If not all of them, then which of these i can use.

Thank you :)

Hello dhruv_r,

These sentences are all correctly formed, but it's impossible to say which one is correct without knowing the situation they are to be used in.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir

Sorry for the story telling but my friend apologized for replying late to my text message and i wanted to tell him that i don't expect replies to come from anyone.

So, how to express it ?
I think '' I was not expecting your reply'' is correct for this situation but can we use other given options of sentence too ?

thanks :)

Hello dhruv_r,

In that situation I would agree that 'I wasn't expecting...' is the most natural form.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Also please tell me when to use these 2 sentences or in what situation because i thought i can use these sentences also in my mentioned situation .. :

1) I didn't expect your reply.

2) I had not expected your reply.

thank you :)

Thank you sir for your help ..

I only love this website due to quick responses/help i get from you people.

Thanks again :)

Hello dearest teachers :) I have several questions.You gave us an example of Past Simple: ,,I lived abroad for ten years''. As I know,we can also say ,,I have lived abroad for ten years" So,how can I guess which one to use in Tests?? I also have a question about Present Continuous. What's the difference between ,,It's always raining in London" and ,,It always rains in London" and how to realize which one to use?
In advance,Thank you.
Tamara.
x

Hello Tamara,

'I lived abroad for ten years' tells us about the past: we do not live abroad any longer.

'I have lived abroad for ten years' tells us about the present as well as the past: we still live abroad.

'It always rains in London' tells us that this is typical weather for London. The present simple is the normal tense for talking about typical or regular events.

'It's always raining in London' tells us that we don't like this fact - we find it irritating. The present continuous with an adverb such as 'always', 'constantly or 'forever' is used to describe a typical or regular event which is annoying.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

For more information on the present perfect look here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teachers
Is it possible to use the pronoun (I) after (did) in interrogative sentences?
e.g did i call you last night. is it correct??

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