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Grammar focus

Past simple

We use the past simple to talk about actions that started and finished in the past.
We often say when the action happened (last week, yesterday, two years ago, in 1997, etc.).

1. Regular verbs

To make the past simple of regular verbs we just add "-ed" or "-d".
To make the negative, we use "didn't + infinitive".
To make a question, we use "Did .... infinitive?"
The form is the same for I, You, He, She, It, We, and They !!!


Past simple
didn't + infinitive
Did ... infinitive?
 Short Answer
didn't travel
Did ... travel by bus?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't like
Did ... like the meal?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't walk
Did ... walk far?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't work
Did ... work yesterday?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.

2. Irregular verbs

Many common verbs in English have irregular past forms (see links on this page).

 InfinitivePast simple
didn't + infinitive
Did ... infinitive?
  Short Answer
didn't see
Did ... see Mary last week?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't eat
Did ... eat everything?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't have
Did ... have a good time?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.
didn't go
Did ... go on holiday last year?
 Yes, ... did. / No, ... didn't.

3. Verb "be"

The verb "be" is very important in English. The past forms are "was" and "were", and their negative and question forms are different from other verbs.

  Infinitive "be"  Past simple Negative  Question    Short Answer
  I, He, She, It  was wasn't (was not)  Was he there? Yes, he was. / No, he wasn't.
    Was she ill? Yes, she was. / No, she wasn't.
    Was the car clean? Yes, it was. / No, it wasn't.
    Was I asleep?  Yes, you were. / No, you weren't.
  You, We, They  were weren't (were not)  Were you alright? Yes, I was. / No, I wasn't.
    Were we on time? Yes, you were. / No, you weren't.
    Were they happy? Yes, they were. / No, they weren't.
    Were the children in bed?  Yes, they were. / No, they weren't

Put the verbs into the past simple form to complete the sentences.

Yesterday I _____ shopping in London.
(go)   ----> Yesterday I went shopping in London.

1. Last year I ______ a holiday in Paris.
2. This morning they ______ swimming. (go)
3. Unfortunately, I _______ time to do my homework! (not have)
4. ____ you _____ the football match last night? Yes, I _____ .  (see)
5. In 2006 I ________ university. (start)
6. _______ he at home last night? No, he ______ . (be, not be)
7. They __________ happy when their team lost the match. (not be)
8. He ____________ by train, he __________ to go by bus. (not travel, decide)
9. I _________ to China last summer. (go)
10. We ________ a fantastic meal last weekend in a Korean restaurant. (have)

Now check your answers

Now try the matching exercise.

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