The Simple Past Tense

The simple past
The simple past

The Simple Past Tense

I – The form of the simple past tense

There are two types of forms for the simple past tense: REGULAR and IRREGULAR :

1 – Regular form: verb + ed
Watch → watched
Listen →  listened
Play → played
Cry → cried
2 – Irregular form: has no rule (this means we change all the spelling of the verb)
Be →  was/were
Do → did
Have → had
Speak → spoke

click here to see a complete list of irregular verbs.


I       watched
You   watched
He      watched
She    watched
It        watched
We     watched
You    watched
They   watched

Negative (Didn’t = did not)

I  didn’t  watch
You  didn’t  watch
He  didn’t  watch
She  didn’t  watch
It  didn’t  watch
We  didn’t  watch
You  didn’t  watch
They  didn’t  watch


Did  I  watch?
Did  you  watch?
Did  he  watch?
Did  she  watch?
Did  it  watch?
Did  we  watch?
Did  you  watch?
Did  they  watch?


I       Spoke
You   Spoke
He      Spoke
She    Spoke
It        Spoke
We     Spoke
You    Spoke
They   Spoke

Negative (Didn’t = did not)

I  didn’t  speak
You  didn’t  speak
He  didn’t  speak
She  didn’t  speak
It  didn’t  speak
We  didn’t  speak
You  didn’t  speak
They  didn’t  speak


Did  I  speak?
Did  you  speak?
Did  he  speak?
Did  she  speak?
Did  it  speak?
Did  we  speak?
Did  you  speak?
Did  they  speak?

Verbs ending with – e

  •  calculate – calculated
  • combine – combined
  • hope – hoped
  • hate – hated

Verbs ending with vowel + y

  • enjoy – enjoyed
  • delay – delayed
  • stay – stayed
  • destroy – destroyed

Verbs ending with consonant+y

  • study – studied
  • copy – copied
  • cry –  cried
  • try – tried

Other forms

  • work – worked
  • push – pushed
  • greet – greeted
  • ask – asked

Other spelling rules

a– verbs ending with -l, the consonant is always doubled after a single vowel.
travel – travelled
cancel – cancelled
quarrel – quarrelled

b – Verbs having one syllable and ending with a vowel + consonant, we double the consonant:
stop – stopped
hop – hopped
beg – begged

c – verbs with more syllables if the stress falls on the last syllable then we double the last consonant:
ad’mit – admitted
con’fer – conferred
kid’nap – kidnapped

But If the stress is not on the last syllable, we do not double the consonant:
‘enter – entered

II – The use of the simple past tense

The Simple past tenseThe Simple past tense
The Simple past tense

We use the Simple past tense :

  • to talk about a completed action in the past.
    I watched a movie yesterday.
    I did some jogging last weekend.
  • to talk about a series of completed actions in the past.
    He came home, switched on TV and sat down.
  • With time expressions like.
    -last day, week, month, year…..
    -in 2008
    -when…..(used to talk about past action)
    -The previous lesson, hour, day, week…..

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Click on the right answer for each sentence (Negative form of the Simple Past)

Exercise 4

Exercise 5



  1. Mohammed Atmane

    Hello sir ,
    I am an English teacher in a languages center , and i want to know if you could help me with providing some sources to teach communication to my students . I am kind of stressed with what exactly should i teach since there is no textbook . YOu will be much appreciated if you answer my questions and i will not forget you in my Duaas . Nice work and keep the hard work up brother .

    • Good morning, Mohammed. Look for a very handy textbook called Interchange 4th Edition by Jack C. Richards.

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