Simple English Grammar Rules of Simple Tense Lesson

by Dec 19, 2018English and Study Tips

Rukhsar Haram

Rukhsar Haram

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Useful English learning tips for beginners

In English, there are 3 main tenses: the present, the past, and the future. Today, I’m gonna to share with you English grammar rules of simple past tense.


Thank you,

Rukhsar Haram

Simple English Grammar Rules of Simple Tense Lesson

The simple past a common verb tense in English. It is for actions in the past. This lesson shows you how to use the simple past correctly and gives you examples.

Let’s start with regular and irregular verbs:

Simple Past Verbs

Two types of verbs are used in the simple past: Regular and Irregular.


To make a regular verb in the past tense, add “ed” to the base verb.

Base Verb>—>Past Tense Verb
Play >——->Played


Irregular verbs don’t end in “ed”. They have different endings. For example:

Go = went
Have = had

The Verb to Be

“Be” is an irregular verb with more than one conjugation in the past:

I Was
You Were
He/She/It Was
We Were
They Were

Here are some example sentences with “be” in the simple past.

?I was tired yesterday.
?They were hungry this morning.

Here is a list of common irregular verbs and their past tense forms:

Base Verb>———>Past Tense Verb

Now that you have the verbs you can use, here’s the structure to form the simple past.

The Simple Past Tense Structure

You can form this verb tense with this structure:

Subject + Verb (Past) + Object

Here are some examples:

Regular Verbs

?I played baseball.
?She finished the game.

Irregular Verbs

?He went home.
?They ate lunch.

The verb is the same for all subjects.

She played
They played
I ate
We ate

Now let’s see when to use the simple past verb tense.

Simple Past Uses

1#Completed Actions in the Past

Use the simple past to talk about actions that are finished in the past.

?She went to the movie theatre yesterday.
?He ate breakfast at 8:30 this morning.
?Susan finished her homework last night.

2#Past Status

Use “was” and “were” to talk about past status.

?He was a teacher 5 years ago. He is not anymore.
?They were tired last night.
?It was hot last week. Now it is cold.

3#Past Routines

Activities that happened many times in the past also use simple past.

?I worked every day last week.
?She watched television very often when she was a child.
?The kids always walked home from school.

Simple Past Questions Yes/No

Yes/No questions in the simple past are like questions in the simple present. You can ask Did questions and Be questions.


Use “Did” to form questions with other verbs.

Did + Subject + Base Verb
?Did you eat yesterday?
?Did she watch the movie?
?Did Charles leave?

Use “Did” with all subjects:

?Did they walk to the store?
?Did you finish the game?
?Did she like the book?
?Did Greg and Tony play soccer last night?

Also, make sure the verb is in its simple form. After “did“, the verb is in present form.

?Did Sandra and Jim go home?
?Did she buy new shoes?

To answer these questions, use the following two options:

Yes, I did.
No, I did not.

Here is an example conversation with questions using “did”:

Tom: Did you bring your jacket?

Kelly: No, I did not.

Tom: Did you bring a sweater?

Kelly: Yes, I did.


Use the verb “be” with adjectives and nouns. “Be” is a verb, so you do not need another verb. Here is the structure:

Be (in past) + Subject + Adjective/Noun

Here are some examples:

?Were you hungry last night?
?Was she a teacher last year?
?Was it cold last week?

Be is conjugated as “was” or “were”:

I Was
You Were
She Was
He Was
It Was
We Were
They Were


WH questions in the past are the same as WH questions in the present. They are formed as follows:

WH + Did + Subject + Verb
?Where did you go last night?
?What did you eat for breakfast yesterday?
?When did you wake up this morning?

WH + Was/Were + Subject + Noun/Adjective
?Where was the party last night?
?When was the game yesterday?
?Who was the champion at the tournament?

Here is a sample conversation with “wh” questions in the past:

James: Hi Doug, How was your weekend?

Doug: It was good, thanks.

James: What did you do?

Doug: I went to a restaurant for dinner.

James: Where did you go?

Doug: I went to Super Pizza.

James: How was it?

Doug: The pizza was delicious.

Simple Past Negative Sentences

There is a special structure to use when making negative statements in the past. There are two types of negative sentences with simple past: Did and Be.


Subject + Did + Not + Verb (in present)

Here are some examples:

?I did not eat yesterday.
?She did not wear a hat last night.
?We did not go to a restaurant.

“Did not” is contracted as “didn’t”.

?He didn’t listen to the teacher.
?We didn’t go to the concert.


Be is conjugated as “was” and “were”. These negative sentences are used for past status.

Subject + Be + Not + Adjective/Noun

Here are some examples:

?I was not tired yesterday.
?We were not quiet in class.
?Jeremy was not awake at 7:00 am this morning.

Simple Past Time Phrases

There are many words used to show an activity is in the past. Here are the 2 most important:


Ago is used with a measure of time to show when something happened. It goes after the measure of time:

Time + Ago

Here are some examples:

?He arrived 30 minutes ago.
?She lived in San Francisco 5 years ago.
?They left 2 hours ago.


Last means a time before the current time. It goes before the unit of time:

Last + Time

Here are some examples:

?He worked at McDonald’s last year.
?They ate Italian food last week.


Thanks for reading and learning with me today!


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