Explanation

When to use past simple

We use the past simple anytime we want to talk about something that happened in the past.

We use past simple a lot.

Most stories are in the past simple.

I take the bus to school every day.

This sentence is about every day, which is the present. So we use present simple

I took the bus to school this morning.

This sentence talks about this morning, which is in the past. So we use the past simple.

How to make past simple

To make a sentence in the past just change the verb to the past simple. The subject is not important.

Present simplePast simple
I play football.I played football.
He goes to the beach.He went to the beach.
They are happy.They were happy.

For most verbs, add ed to the end to change to past simple. These verbs are called regular verbs.

Other verbs are different in the past, and you need to learn the past forms of these. These are called irregular verbs.
For more practice on irregular verbs, check the irregular verb page.

Here are some examples of regular verbs and irregular verbs.

Common regular verbs

 

Present simplePast simple
wantwanted
useused
workworked
callcalled
trytried
askasked
needneeded
seemseemed
helphelped
playplayed

 

Common irregular verbs

 

Present simplePast simple
dodid
gowent
havehad
eatate
seesaw
comecame
drivedrove
buybought
saysaid
loselost

 

Be verb

The be verb is different to other verbs.

The past simple of the be verb changes with different subjects.

SubjectPresent simplePast simple
Iamwas
He/She/Itiswas
You/We/Theyarewere

 

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