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Past simple

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
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Past simple 2
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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
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Past simple questions 2
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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
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Past simple negatives 2
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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

hi adam how are you.i think there are some wrong clauses above like;Did she play tennis when she was younger?(did she play) it must be (did she played)a is not true. play+ed=past tense of play(played) or what??? 

thank you so much for this exercise..

Hello,
Now a days jobs are depending upon good english speaking skills. I'm very poor in  speaking english because  the problem is my mother tongue was TELUGU. I didn't understand that how to start   these exercises.
Can u guide me please that where i can start from.

Hello,
There is no real 'starting point' on LearnEnglish. Just find something you like and use it! It's all free, so if the page you are viewing isn't right for you, try something else.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear British Council
Thanks a lot for your wonderful website but excuse me the exercises doesn't work with me.
the below message appear to me
xml config loading error
Thanks for your support
Marwa Hamed

Dear Marwa,
I'm sorry to hear about that. Can you please give me some more information?

  • Does the problem happen with all exercises on LearnEnglish or only on this page?
  • What web browser are you using?
  • Does the problem happen if you use another computer, for example one at your school, work or in an internet cafe?

Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

The exercise is so interesting! But how can I download it? My students will like it a lot!

Hello,
I'm afraid there isn't a way to download this exercise. Can I check what you want to do, though? Do you want to download it as an electronic exercise and use it with your students on computers that aren't connected to the internet? Or do you want to download it to print it out on paper to give out to your students as a worksheet?
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

This exercise is very useful to me. Thanks a lot all of you.

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