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NAVIGATE:   Learn English - Course Index Page
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Unit 27: - Past Simple

Past Simple

The Past Simple is used for facts and events that existed in the past. For example:
- I played tennis with some guys from work yesterday.
- We stayed in Shanghai for five days.

Regular past simple verbs are formed by adding "-ed" to the verb. For example:
- jump -> jumped: The dog jumped over the fence.
- walk -> walked: I walked 22 kilometers yesterday.
- work -> worked: We worked together as lawyers for 15 years.


The past simple is used for a completed action. For example:
- We watched a movie at the weekend.
- She arrived on Thursday.

A specific time must be given or implied. For example:
- I walked to work this morning. - A specific time is given.
- I walked to work. - A specific time is not given, but in context we would understand what time is being referred to.


Past simple negatives are made with did and not. Did is the past form of the verb to do. Did and not are often contracted to didn't. For example:
- I arrived in London on Monday. I didn't arrive on Sunday.
- They stayed at the Vivaldi Hotel. They didn't stay at the Carlton Hotel.

Because "did" is a past form, the main verb doesn't change. For example:
- We didn't live in Italy. Did is a past form so live is unchanged.
- We didn't lived in Italy. Incorrect


Questions are made by putting did before the subject. For example:
- You lived in Japan. Did you live in Japan?
- They stayed at the Vivaldi Hotel. Did they stay at the Vivaldi Hotel?

Again the main verb doesn't change, for example:
- You lived in Japan. Did you lived in Japan? Incorrect
- You lived in Japan. Did you live in Japan? Correct

Irregular Verbs

There are many irregular past simple verbs in English, these do not add -ed. Below are some of the most common ones but there are many more.

be - was/were
become - became
begin - began
break - broke
bring - brought
build - built
buy - bought
catch - caught
choose - chose
come - came
do - did
draw -drea
eat - ate
feel - felt
fight - fought
find - found
fly - flew
forget - forgot
get - got
give - gave
go - went
have - had
hear - heard
hit - hit
know - knew
learn - learnt/learned
leave - left
lose - lost

make - made
meet - met
pay - paid
read - read
ride - rode
run - run
say - said
sell - sold
send - sent
shut - shut
sing - sang
sit - sat
sleep - slept
smell - smelt/smelled
speak - spoke
stand - stood
swim - swam
take - took
teach - taught
tell - told
think - thought
understand - understood
wear - wore
win - won
write - wrote


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