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past simple tense

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momen abdelkareem

on 4 November 2016

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Transcript of past simple tense

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.


I saw a movie yesterday.
I didn't see a play yesterday.
Last year, I traveled to Japan.
Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.
Did you have dinner last night?
She washed her car.
He didn't wash his car.

USE 4 Habits in the Past
The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.


I studied French when I was a child.
He played the violin.
He didn't play the piano.
Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?
She worked at the movie theater after school.
They never went to school, they always skipped class.

USE 5 Past Facts or Generalizations
The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. As in USE 4 above, this use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression "used to."


She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.
He didn't like tomatoes before.
Did you live in Texas when you were a kid?
People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

IMPORTANT When-Clauses Happen First
Clauses are groups of words which have meaning but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word "when" such as "when I dropped my pen..." or "when class began..." These clauses are called when-clauses, and they are very important. The examples below contain when-clauses.


When I paid her one dollar, she answered my question.
She answered my question when I paid her one dollar.

When-clauses are important because they always happen first when both clauses are in the Simple Past. Both of the examples above mean the same thing: first, I paid her one dollar, and then, she answered my question. It is not important whether "when I paid her one dollar" is at the beginning of the sentence or at the end of the sentence. However, the example below has a different meaning. First, she answered my question, and then, I paid her one dollar.


I paid her one dollar when she answered my question.

USE 2 A Series of Completed Actions
USE 3 Duration in Past
The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.


I lived in Brazil for two years.
Shauna studied Japanese for five years.
They sat at the beach all day.
They did not stay at the party the entire time.
We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.
A: How long did you wait for them?
B: We waited for one hour.

Past Simple Tense
USE 1 Completed Action in the Past
We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.


I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.
He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.
Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


You just called Debbie.
Did you just call Debbie?

Active Form
In active sentences, the thing doing the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing receiving the action is the object. Most sentences are active.

[Thing doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving action]



Tom repaired the car. Active
The car was repaired by Tom. Passive

How to form the Past Tense in English
The main rule is that for every verb in English, there is only one form of it in the past tense.
(The exception is the Past tense of To Be, which has two forms: was and were)

This is totally different from other languages such as Spanish, French, Italian etc. where you change the verb ending for every subject.

For example: The past tense of the verb want is wanted.
Wanted is used as the past tense for all subjects/pronouns.

I wanted
You wanted
He wanted
She wanted
It wanted
We wanted
They wanted

So you just have to learn one word to be able to use it in the past tense. In this case we just needed to learn the one word wanted which can be used for all subjects (or people).
Past Tense Regular Verbs
To change a regular verb into its past tense form, we normally add –ED to the end of the verb.

play – played
cook – cooked
rain – rained
wait – waited

There are some exceptions with a slight change in spelling which you can see here:
Spelling of words ending in ED.
Examples of sentences using regular verbs in the past tense

Last night I played my guitar loudly and the neighbors complained.
She kissed me on the cheek.
It rained yesterday.
Angela watched TV all night.
John wanted to go to the museum.

Note: There are three different ways of pronouncing the –ed at the end of a verb in the past tense.
We recommend reading our guide about the pronunciation of –ED at the end of words.
We use didn't (did not) to make a negative sentence in the past tense.
This is for regular AND irregular verbs in English.
(Exception is To Be and Modal Verbs such as Can)

Compare the following:

Present: They don't live in Canada.
Past: They didn't live in Canada.

The main verb (live in the example above) is in its base form (of the infinitive). The auxiliary DIDN'T shows that the sentence is negative AND in the past tense.

NOTICE: The only difference between a negative sentence in the present tense and a negative sentence in the past tense is the change in the auxiliary verb.

Both don't and doesn't in the present tense become didn't in the past tense.

Compare the negative sentences in the examples below:

Present: You don't need a mechanic.
Past: You didn't need a mechanic.

Present: You don't walk to work.
Past: You didn't walk to work.

Present: He doesn't speak Japanese.
Past: He didn't speak Japanese.
Negative sentences in the Past Tense
Examples of negative sentences in the Past Tense

I didn't want to go to the dentist.
She didn't have time.
You didn't close the door.
He didn't come to my party.
They didn't study so they didn't pass the test.
We didn't sleep well last night.

Past Simple Tense
Presented by :
Momen Mohamed
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