Use of the Simple Past

When do we use the Simple Past?

The Simple Past is used to talk about actions or situations in the past. It is also called Past Simple.

1. action finished in the past (single or repeated)

I visited Berlin last week.

Andrew watched TV yesterday.

My friends went to Paris a week ago.

My parents ate a lot of junk food when they were young.

2. series of completed actions in the past

First I got up, then I had breakfast.

On Sunday my brother and me went to a nice lake. There we met our friends. We swam in the warm water and played volleyball in the afternoon. Too bad that we had to go home in the evening. We didn't want to go to school on Monday.

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 Progressivewere playing
2nd action → Simple Pastrang


While Dennis was reading outside, it started to rain.

1st action → Past Progressivewas reading
2nd action → Simple Paststarted