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Simple Past Tense – Definition, Structure, Rules and Examples

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Tense is a major part of English language. Without tense you can not learn English. There are three types of tense and each types have four parts. Simple Past Tense is one of them and an essential part of the tense. It is very important for all kinds of students like School students, college students, competitive aspirants, and others. You must follow this article to understand completely the Simple past tense.

Table of Content
  • What is Simple Past Tense?
  • Definition of Simple Past Tense
  • Structure of Simple Past Tense
  • Simple Past Tense Rules
  • Simple Past Tense Formula
  • Purpose of Simple Past Tense
  • Simple Past Tense Examples
  • Simple Past Tense Sentences
  • Simple Past Tense Exercises
  • Simple Past Tense Worksheet

What is Simple Past Tense?

It is a part of past tense. Simple past tense is defined as "an action happened in the past (before present time) and there is no longer happening of this action". Simple past tense is used to refer an habitual action in the past. It is also used to refer a single act that happened before the present time.

Definition of Simple Past Tense

Structure of Simple Past Tense

We can use the structure of a simple past tense in different ways in assertive sentence, negative sentence and interrogative sentence.

Assertive sentence:

Subject + past form of verb (verb + ed/d)

Ex: I played football.

Negative sentence:

Subject + Did not + root verb (present form of verb)

Ex: I did not play football.

Interrogative sentence:

Did + Sub + root verb (present form)

Ex: Did I play football?

Interrogative negative sentence:

Did not + Sub + root verb (present form)

Ex: Did not I play football.

Simple Past Tense Rules

Simple past tense follows a few rules. These are described below:

Rule 1.

For some regular verbs, you just need to add ‘ed’ or ‘d’ at the end of the verb to make it past form. The verbs that contain a word ‘e’ at the end is followed by ‘d’.

Ex:

Base form of verb Simple past form
Play Played
Confuse Confused
Work Worked
Like Liked
Force Forced
Announce Announced
Rule 2.

Some verbs remain the same spelling in simple past tense.

Ex:

Base form of verb Simple past form
Put Put
Hit Hit
Set Set
Hurt Hurt
Rule 3.

Some verbs take different spelling in simple past tense and there is no such systematic rules or patterns.

Ex:

Base form of verb Simple past form
Go Went
See Saw
Drink Drank
Do Did
Think Thought
Sell Sold
Buy Bought

Simple Past Tense Formula

The formula for making a sentence in the simple past tense depends on whether the verb is regular or irregular. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • Regular Verbs: You add -ed to the base form of the verb. For example, “walk” becomes “walked.”
  • Irregular Verbs: These verbs don’t follow a set pattern, so you have to learn them individually. For example, “go” becomes “went.”

The formula can be seen as follows:

Affirmative Sentence:

Subject + Past tense verb (regular or irregular) + Object.

Example: She played tennis.

Negative Sentence:

Subject + did not + Base form of the verb + Object.

Example: He did not go to school.

Question:

Did + Subject + Base form of the verb + Object?

Example: Did you see the movie?

Purpose of Simple Past Tense

It is an essential part of a tense. So it has some useful purposes. These are given below:

i) It is used to refer an action that happened before present time.

ii) It is used to refer an habitual action that happened in the past.

Simple Past Tense Examples

1) They played cricket in the field.

2) We went for a movie.

3) He did it.

4) He got success in examination.

5) The workers worked very hard.

6) The students studied the modern history.

7) The oldman walked on the road.

8) Her father dropped her at bus stand.

9) My friend bought a new car.

10) I paid the electricity bill.

Simple Past Tense Sentences

The simple past tense is used to describe actions or events that happened at a specific time in the past. It tells us what happened before now. Here are some examples of simple past tense sentences:

  1. I walked to the park yesterday.
  2. She cooked dinner last night.
  3. They watched a movie last weekend.
  4. The cat slept all afternoon.
  5. We visited our grandparents last month.

These sentences show actions that were completed in the past at specific times.

Simple Past Tense Exercises

Fill the blanks with appropriate simple past tense of the verbs which mentioned in the brackets.

  1. He _____________ (go) to Delhi.
  2. They ____________ (finish) their home work.
  3. Shakshi _________ (sell) her old laptop.
  4. She ___________ (buy) a house.
  5. ________ (do) you __________ (finish) the work ?
  6. ________ (do) the boy ________(like) her ?
  7. We __________ (see) a nice bird in the sky.
  8. Rita _________ (introduce) herself.
  9. Govt. of India ____________ (announce) a new scheme for students.
  10. The salesman ____________ (force) the man to buy his products.
Answers:
  1. Went
  2. Finished
  3. Sold
  4. Bought
  5. Did, finish
  6. Did, like
  7. Saw
  8. Introduced
  9. Announced
  10. Forced

Simple Past Tense Worksheet

1. Fill in the Blanks:

Provide sentences with blanks for students to fill in with the correct form of the verb in parentheses.

  • Example: I ______ (play) soccer yesterday.
2. Sentence Transformation:

Ask students to change sentences from the present tense to the past tense.

  • Present: She walks to school.
  • Past: She ______ to school.
3. Match the Sentences:

Have one column with sentences in the present tense and another with sentences in the past tense. Ask students to match them.

  • A. I eat an apple. => 1. I ate an apple.
  • B. He goes to the gym. => 2. He went to the gym.
4. Write Your Own Sentences:

Encourage students to write their own sentences using specific past tense verbs provided.

Simple Past Tense- FAQs

It is a part of past tense. Simple past tense is defined as ” an action happened in the past (before present time) and there is no longer happening of this action. Simple past tense is used to refer an habitual action in the past. It is also used to refer a single act that happened before the present time.

Simple past tense follows a few rules. These are described below:

  • Rule 1. For some regular verbs, you just need to add ‘ed’ or ‘d’ at the end of the verb to make it past form. The verbs that contain a word ‘e’ at the end is followed by ‘d’.
  • Rule 2. Some verbs remain the same spelling in simple past tense.
  • Rule 3. Some verbs take different spelling in simple past tense and there is no such systematic rules or patterns.

We can use the formula of a simple past tense in different ways in assertive sentence, negative sentence and interrogative sentence.

Assertive sentence

Subject + past form of verb (verb + ed/d)

Ex: I played football.

Negative sentence

Subject + Did not + root verb (present form of verb)

Ex: I did not play football.

Interrogative sentence

Did + Sub + root verb (present form)

Ex: Did I play football?

Interrogative negative

Did not + Sub + root verb (present form)

Ex: Did not I play football.

We give some examples of simple past tense which help you to get the complete knowledge about this article.

  1. They played cricket in the field.
  2. We went for a movie.
  3. He did it.
  4. He got success in examination.
  5. The workers worked very hard.
  6. The students studied the modern history.
  7. The oldman walked on the road.
  8. Her father dropped her at bus stand.
  9. My friend bought a new car.
  10. I paid the electricity bill.
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