Simple Past Tense – Learn English Grammar

For the first two entries in our English grammar series, click here and here. Today, we’re onto our third article, and we’re moving back in time: The Simple Past Tense.

Examples of Simple Past Tense

You spoke.
I ran.
He danced.
She swam.
They jumped.
We laughed.

Simple Past Tense: What is it?

We use the simple past tense when we described something that happened in the past. .
It can also be used to describe something that has never occured. An example is: I didn’t walk.
When we use the Simple Past Tense, it has to have already happened. So, when you are describing it, it has both started and finished in the past.

Simple Past Tense Form:

Subject + past participle.
For regular verbs, this looks like:
Subject + infinitive (without to) + ed
When we talk about something that never happened, we use this form:
Subject + did (Verb do in past tense) + not + infinitive without “to.”

Issues and Pronunciation: The Simple Past tense.

When we talk about the negative, we can contract “Did not” to “didn’t.” We also don’t use “-ed” at the end of a negative.
“You did not speak” will be pronounced “You didn’t speak.”
“She didn’t run” is correct. “She didn’t runned” isn’t correct.
“He danced” is correct. the negative is “He didn’t dance.”
“She swam” is the past tense of “She swims.” The verb is irregular.
“They jumped” is the third person. “You jumped” and “I jumped” both use the same structure. The verb doesn’t change.
“You didn’t remember” is the same as “You did not remember.” Remember contractions.


Learning this tense allows you to describe what you have done in the past. By learning about the simple past tense, you can take any verb and sentence you know in the present, and turn it into something that you can use to talk about your life before you came to be where you are today.

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