Grammar - Elementary


Past Simple Structure

Positive

Regular Verbs

Subject + Verb + ED or D

Irregular Verbs

Subject + Irregular Verb

Examples:

She worked all last year for a company called Kudos.
I lived in Madrid for a year in the 1990s.

but

She went to work by bus last week.
I wrote him a long letter.

If the verb finishes with "e", just add a "d", otherwise add "ed".

You can find a list of the most common irregular verbs, put in order of frequency of occurence in English, here.

The Learning Lounge - NEW iOS App

Our Free App to help you improve your English!

  • Full Grammar explanations.
  • Exercises to help with Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening, Reading and Pronunciation.
  • Authentic English listening and reading materials.
  • Fun, imaginative quizzes and games.
  • Full statistics. Track your progress as your English improves!
  • Download today for FREE!

Negative

Subject + Didn't + Infinitive Verb

Examples:

I didn't want to go to Australia on holiday last year. I wanted to try China.
JFK didn't die in Miami, he died in Florida.
They didn't go out last night after all.

Note. The negative form is the same for all verbs, regular or irregular.


Questions

Question Word + Did + Subject + Infinitive Verb

Examples:

What time did you go to bed yesterday.
How many cups of coffee did he drink during the meeting?
Why did they leave the room?


Past Simple Use

We use the past simple to describe an action which started and finished in the past. Whether the event was in the near past or distant past is not important in English. In many languages, there is this distinction!

JFK died in 1963.
The Egyptians invented paper.
I saw a great film last week.
I had muesli for breakfast this morning.

Remember to use the past simple to describe a series of finished events in the past. If you describe two actions that happen together, you may need to use the past continuous:

Yesterday, I got up at 6, had a shower, went down into the kitchen, sat down and had breakfast.

There are many time expressions which are often used in conjunction with the past simple.

yesterday, last week/month/year, the day before yesterday
a long time ago, when I was young, six months/years/days ago
in 1996, before the war, in the 15th Century

The English Learning Lounge - our new iPhone/iPad App. Free! More Information | Download Now.

Get information about great new exercises and quizzes like this one. Sign up for our newsletter today.

© 2001-2014 esl-lounge.com