Level: beginner

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

called liked wanted worked

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

Base form Past tense
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

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 several times 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 expressions with ago with the past simple:

I met my wife a long time ago.

Past simple 1
GapFillTyping_MTYzMjI=
Past simple 2
GapFillTyping_MTYzMjM=

Past simple questions and negatives

We use did to make questions with the past simple:

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

But questions with who often don't use did:

Who discovered penicillin?
Who wrote Don Quixote?

Past simple questions 1
ReorderingHorizontal_MTYzMjQ=
Past simple questions 2
GapFillTyping_MTYzMjU=

We use didn't (did not) to make negatives with the past simple:

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

Past simple negatives 1
GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYzMjY=
Past simple negatives 2
GapFillTyping_MTYzMjc=

Level: intermediate

Past simple and hypotheses

We can also use the past simple to refer to the present or future in hypotheses (when we imagine something). See these pages:

Comments

Thank you for your explanation, I have a question:
Is the past simple should be in a specific time ? like " last week, yesterday ..etc "

thank you

Hello AfnanAlAhmad

Yes, with time expressions that refer to a completed past time (for example, 'last week', 'yesterday', 'five minutes ago', '10,000 years ago', 'last year') we use the past simple.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. One question please.

Can I say 'Does your child speak English in home'?

If yes, why 'at' is not used here?

Thanks.

Hello Sad1974

'at home' is the correct way to say this, not 'in home'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply.

May I know when can I use 'in home'?

I saw in one British form that they used ' Does your child speak English in home'.

Why did they use 'in' here?

Regards

Hello Sad1974

Did you perhaps see 'in the home'? I can't think of a time when 'in home' is correct in standard British English, but 'in the home' is used in some formal contexts. But I'd not recommend you use it in general.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, understood.

The other thing is, can we say 'in my home', or 'at my home'?

Hello Sad1974

It depends a lot on the context, but yes, 'in my home' is correct and natural in some contexts. 'at my home' does not sound natural to me, though 'at my house' does. As far as I know these are just questions of usage, i.e. things native speakers say or don't say.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

I am satisfied with the page

Dear Sir,

I would like to ask a question about the usage of simple past tense. When we talk about a past event/what a person did in the past, and the relevant background information is still true now, should we use simple present or simple past?

Eg 1: the terrorist attack last Sunday was/is disgraceful.
Eg 2: The defendant was/is a taxi driver. He was convicted of careless driving 6 months ago.

Pages