Past Simple usage in English Grammar

Form

I wentI didn’t goDid I go?
You wentYou didn’t goDid you go?
He wentShe didn’t goDid it go?
We wentWe didn’t goDid we go?
They wentThey didn’t goDid they go?

We use the past simple to talk about actions and states which we see as completed in the past.

Specific Point in Time

We can use it to talk about a specific point in time.

  • She came back last Friday.
  • I saw her in the street.
  • They didn’t agree to the deal.

A Period of Time

It can also be used to talk about a period of time.

  • She lived in Tokyo for seven years.
  • They were in London from Monday to Thursday of last week.
  • When I was living in New York, I went to all the art exhibitions I could.

Used with time expressions

You will often find the past simple used with time expressions such as these:

  • Yesterday
  • three weeks ago
  • last year
  • in 2002 
  • from March to June
  • for a long time
  • for 6 weeks
  • in the 1980s
  • in the last century
  • in the past

START QUIZ

What is simple past example?

Here are a few.

I went to the cinema.
I looked through the window.
She came early.

How is Past Simple form?

We form regular verbs by adding -ed to the verb stem

worked, played, photocopied

All new verbs are regular.

However there are lots of useful verbs that are not regular and you have to learn these.

When do we use the Past Simple?

We use it to talk about completed actions at a specific time in the past. We don’t have to say the time but it is implied by the context

What words are often used with the Past Simple?

ago, yesterday, last week, in October

Who questions in Past Simple?

Two different questions. Make sure you can see the difference.

Who opened the door?
Who did you talk to?

What are the 7 question words?

who, why, what, which, when, where, how

Who did you see?
Why did she go?
What did he do?
Which did you choose?
When did they leave?
Where did he go?
How did you do it?