Simple Past

Breaking Down the Simple Past Tense

The Simple Past is one of the three aspects of Simple TenseOpens in new window. The simple past tense shows action that happened and completed at a point in the past. We often use words like before, yesterday, in the past, years ago, and many other related words to indicate the simple past tense.

Examples include:
  • I walked to school yesterday.
  • Andy participated in today’s debate.
  • He bought a new shirt last week.

How to Use the Simple Past Tense

1.  Expression of Affirmative Statements with Simple Past Tense — To make affirmative statement with simple past tense, the Structure: subject + verb–ed or irregular past form (if the verb is irregular) is used.

Examples include:
  • He wished his father a happy birthday.
  • I taught high school for seven years before teaching at Houston.
  • Effiong and Lola studied Spanish in college.

2.  Expression of Negative Statements with Simple Past Tense. — To make negative statement with simple past tense, the Structure: subject + did + not (didn’t) + simple form of verb is used.

Examples include:
  • He did not wish his father a happy birthday.
  • I didn’t teach high school for seven years before teaching at Houston.
  • Effiong and Lola did not study Spanish in college.

3.  Expression of Interrogative Statements with Simple Past Tense — To make interrogative statement with simple past tense, the Structure: (interrogative word) + did + subject + simple form of verb is used.

Examples include:
  • When did he wish his father a happy birthday?
  • Did he teach high school for seven years before teaching at Houston?
  • Why did Effiong and Lola study Spanish in college?

4.  Expression of Negative Interrogative Statements with Simple Past Tense — To make negative interrogative statement with simple past tense, the Structure: (interrogative word) + did not (didn’t) + subject + simple form of verb is used.

Examples include:
  • Why didn’t he wish his father a happy birthday?
  • Didn’t he teach high school for seven years before teaching at Houston?
  • Why didn’t Effiong and Lola study Spanish in college?
    The Four Aspects of Past Tense
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4