Simple Past for Beginners
Read the following discussion using the simple past tense
Robert: Hi Alice, what did you do last weekend?
Alice: I did a lot of things. On Saturday, I went shopping.
Robert: What did you buy?
Alice: I bought some new clothes. I also played tennis.
Robert: Who did you play?
Alice: I played Tom.
Robert: Did you win?
Alice: Of course I won!
Robert: What did you do after your tennis match.
Alice: Well, I went home and took a shower and then went out.
Robert: Did you eat in a restaurant?
Alice: Yes, my friend Jacky and I ate at 'The Good Fork'
Robert: Did you enjoy your dinner?
Alice: Yes, we enjoyed our dinner very much thank you. We also drank some wonderful wine!
Robert: Unfortunately, I didn't go out this weekend. I didn't eat in a restaurant and I didn't play tennis.
Alice: What did you do?
Robert: I stayed home and studied for my test!
Alice: Poor you!
Take a look at the following conjugation chart. Notice from the above dialogue and following chart that the simple past is used to describe what happened at a specific time in the past - last weekend in the above dialogue.
|Where did you go yesterday?
The flight left at 8 o'clock.
They didn't come last night.
|Finished past actions, definite past|
|Common past time expressions include:||last (week, year, night), yesterday, ago, in 1987, when I was a child.|
In the positive form, for regular verbs, add an -ed to the verb. Many verbs are irregular. Some of the most common are: go -went, buy - bought, take - took, come - came, have - had, eat - ate, drink - drank. There are many irregular verbs so you will need to start learning them now.
Use the conjugated helping verb 'did' not (didn't) the base form of the verb to make negatives.
Use the conjugated helping verb 'did' subject the base form of the verb in question forms.
Try this past simple quiz.
To help you learn the irregular verbs, use this fun interactive past tense learning tool.
The past simple is often confused with the present perfect. This present perfect vs past simple quiz will help you test your understanding of when to use the present perfect or past simple.