Past Tense

Breaking Down the Past Tense

The Past tense is a verb formOpens in new window that indicates action that happened in the past. The simple past, being one of the aspects of English past tense, describes action that was completed before the present moment in time—an event or action that has already taken place.

The past tense can refer to a single point in past time, as:

  • I took the metro bus to school yesterday.
  • She arrived in New York last night.

The past tense also indicates a span of time in the past, as long as the action was completed before the present, as:

  • Mr. Briggs taught in St. Mary’s High School for over a decade.
  • She visited her country house last December.