Past Form (-ed): Past Simple Tense
Many resources call this the “past simple” or “simple past”. Most English speakers don’t know these terms, but they use the structure naturally because they are very familiar with it and understand its meaning.
The meaning of the past form is the same for all sentences that have a verb in the past form (which is a lot!). Here, we’ll look at what this form means and how it is applied to simple sentences.
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|present form||past form||ing form||en form|
The past form of most verbs is formed by adding -ed, however, many common verbs have irregular past forms, such as go/went, have/had and do/did.
Verbs in the past form show us we are NOT referring to the present-future.
We use verbs in the past form to refer to the past. Actions and events that happened in the past are finished.
We use the past form to talk about things that happened at a point of time in the past.
We use the past form to talk about things that happened over a period of time in the past.
I ate breakfast at 6AM.
I lived in England last year.
We are talking about a specific time in the past, so we often need to say when it was.
|We||ate||eggs||this morning.||We ate eggs this morning.|
|She||worked||on Wednesday.||She worked on Wednesday.|
|They||lived||in Sweden||in 2007.||They lived in Sweden in 2007.|
|You||liked||swimming||last week.||You liked swimming last week.|
|He||had||breakfast||at 7:30.||He had breakfast at 7:30.|
|I||played||soccer||on Sunday.||I played soccer on Sunday.|
Sometimes exactly when doesn’t matter. We know it is in the recent past.
I got a new bike!
The listener knows that this must have happened recently.
We also use the past form to describe things that were true in the past.
He had a hat.
In the past. He might not have a hat now.
The hat was new.
In the past. The hat might not be new now.
They were hungry.
In the past. They might not be hungry now.
That tasted delicious!
In the past. We have finished eating.
We add did (the past form of do) to make questions and negative sentences.
Did you eat eggs this morning?
Did she work on Wednesday?
Did they live in Sweden in 2007?
Did you like swimming last week?
Did he have breakfast at 7:30?
Did you play soccer on Sunday?
We didn’t eat eggs this morning.
She didn’t work on Wednesday.
They didn’t live in Sweden in 2007.
You didn’t like swimming last week.
He didn’t have breakfast at 7:30.
I didn’t play soccer on Sunday.
Notice that only the first verb gets changed to the past form. The first verb provides us with the essential information, so the other verbs stay in the basic present form.
We use the past form to refer to something NOT in the present or future.
1. Find the past form
2. Complete the sentences
3. Complete the conversation
Next, review and compare sentences with the present form and the past form to better understand the meaning the past form adds.
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