- We use Past Simple when we want to talk about an action, which started and finished at a specific period (time) in the past. However, when we talk about the past it is not necessary to mention specific time.
I played tennis yesterday.
Tim washed his car last week.
Did you watch movie the day before yesterday?
- We also can use Past Simple tense in order to talk about a series of completed actions, which happened in the past. These actions happen in a sequence 1st action, 2nd action, 3rd action, 4th action and so on.
He came to work at 9:00, had lunch at 14:00, and went home at 18:00.
I finished work, met with friend, and we went to the park.
- We can use Past Simple for the duration, which started and stopped in the past. Over here, a duration is a long action, which indicated by expressions such as: for ten minutes, all day, for five years, etc.
I lived in New York for 10 years.
Nicole studied Russian for three years.
I talked on the phone for twenty minutes.
A: How long did you wait Tim?
B: I waited him for thirty minutes.
- We can use Past Simple when we want to tell about our past habits. Over here, it can have similar meaning as “used to”.
I played the guitar when I was a child.
He studied Chinese after school.
They never went to school instead they always skipped class.
- Finally, we can use Past Simple to describe past facts, which are no longer true.
Sara did not like tomatoes when she was young.
Did you live in Moscow when you were a kid?
He was shy as a child, but now he is very outgoing person.
In the English language, we have regular and irregular verbs. So in order to form grammatically correct sentences in Past Simple we should follow next structure.
For regular Verb we simple use following structure:
I kicked the ball.
She cooked dinner.
He wiped the table.
It rained yesterday.
However, here is important Rules, which you need to bear in mind:
When the Verbs ending in a –e (such as: live, close. Wipe, etc) you just need to ad d
I lived here in 2012.
He closed the window.
When the Verb ending in a –y (such as: spy, study, etc) you need to change Y on I
Y becomes I
He spied on his neighbors.
They studied a lot.
For irregular verbs, you need to use unique Past Simple verb form from Irregular Verbs Table.
I built that house last year. (to build)
She taught English in the 1990s. (to teach)
Past Simple in questions
For all Verbs (regular and irregular) we use Did+verb (infinitive form)
Did + verb (infinitive form)
Did she talk to him this morning?
Did they work on the farm last year?
In order to answer we use:
Did + not (didn`t) + verb (infinitive form)
We didn`t walk to school this morning.
They did not listen to the radio yesterday.
Past Simple of verb TO BE
I / He / She / It – WAS I was in the swimming pool yesterday.
We / You / They – WERE They were late last week.