Simple Past

1. Use of the Simple Past

1.1. action finished in the past

I visited Berlin last week.

1.2. series of completed actions in the past

First I got up, then I had breakfast.

1.3. together with the Past Progressive/Continuous – the Simple Past interrupted an action which was in progress in the past.

They were playing cards, when the telephone rang.

1st action → Past Progressive → were playing
2nd action → Simple Past → rang

2. Signal words

  • yesterday
  • last week
  • a month ago
  • in 2010

3. Form

regular verbs → infinitive + ed
irregular verbs → 2nd column of the table of the irregular verbs

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative sentences in the Simple Past – regular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I cleaned my room. not possible
You cleaned your room.
He cleaned his room.

4.2. Affirmative sentences in the Simple Past – irregular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I went home. not possible
You went home.
He went home.

4.3. Negative sentences in the Simple Past

Do not negate a main verb in English. Always use the auxiliary did (Simple Past of to do) and the infinitive of the verb for negations.

There is no difference between regular and irregular verbs in negative sentences.

Long forms Contracted forms
I did not clean the room. I didn't clean the room.
You did not clean the room. You didn't clean the room.
He did not clean the room. He didn't clean the room.

4.4. Questions in the Simple Past

You need the auxiliary did and the infinitive of the verb.

Long forms Contracted forms
Did I play football? not possible
Did you play football?
Did he play football?