Past Simple tense

Grammar: Past simple tense – form and use

posted in: Grammar Lessons | 0

In this lesson, we look at the past simple tense; the form and the use. It’s important to know when and how to use past simple tense in communication.

Forms – Positive, Negative and Questions

In this section, we will look at how to form past simple tense with ‘BE’ – was/were and action verbs.

“BE’ – was/were in past simple tense

Subject + was/were + ….

was” is the past form of ‘am’ and ‘is’:
I was 
He/She/ It was
singular noun —> was
proper name —> was

– I was at home all day yesterday.
– He wasn’t at work in the morning.
Was she happy when she heard the news?
– It was late when we left the party.
Why the Eiffel Tower was built?

were‘ is the past form of “are’:
We were
They were
plural noun —> were 

– They were famous for what they did in the past.
– We were unhappy because our teacher was sick.
– Tom and Mary were good at school.

Let’s read the story below and pay close attention to bold verbs the author uses in past simple tense:

Margaret was a small girl. She was a little girl. All her friends were taller than her. She was shorter than all her friends. She wanted to be tall. Her mom told her not to worry. One day Margaret would be tall. One day she would be taller than her friends. One day all her friends would be shorter than her. She was happy to hear that. She only had one question for her mom. When would she be taller than her friends? Would it be next year? She hoped it would be next year. She was tired of being the shortest girl.

Past simple tense with action Verbs

Subject + V(ed/V3) + …

Let’s look at the form of the verb:
want – wanted (regular verb)
hope – hoped
tell – told (irregular verb)
Have – had

– She wanted to be tall.
– She hoped she could win the game.
– She had one question for her mom.
– Her mom told her not to worry.

How to use Past simple tense

Past simple tense is one of the tenses used most common in English. When and how do we use it? Let’s learn how to use this tense in sentences.

  1. We use past simple to talk about completed actions or events in the past.
    Normally, there is a past-time expression at the end of the sentence;
    last week, last night, last year, …
    5 minutes ago, 2 days ago, a month ago, …
    – I visited my aunt in Tokyo yesterday.
    – She met my brother last Friday.
  2. Actions or events that happened at a specific time in the past (when)
    – I went on holiday for 2 weeks last year.
    – She worked for ACB bank 3 years ago.
  3. Things that happened often or regularly in the past.
    – We always went on holiday to France when I
    was a child.
    -Every summer I spent the school holidays
    with my cousins.

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