Simple Past – (Grammar – Rules – Exercises)

There are many ways to talk about the past in English, but the simple past is the most common way. We use the simple past for complete actions in the past. In the simple past there are regular verbs and irregular verbs.

what is past simple

Past time is seen as time before the moment of speaking or writing, or as ‘time around a point before the moment of speaking’. References to past time are most typically indicated in the verb phrase through the simple and progressive forms of the past tense.

Used – Simple Past

1. The simple past is used to talk about a concrete action that began and ended in the past. In this case it is equivalent to the indefinite Spanish preterit. Generally, we use it with adverbs of time like “last year”, “yesterday”, “last night” …


 Tom stayed at home last night.
 Kate worked last Saturday.
 I did not go to the party yesterday.
 Did they walk to school this morning?

2. The past simple is used for a series of actions in the past.


 I received the good news and immediately called my husband.
 I studied for an hour in the morning, worked all afternoon and did not return home until 10 at night.

3. We also use it for repeated or habitual actions in the past, as the imperfect Spanish past tense is used.


 We always traveled to Cancun for vacation when we were young.
 I have walked 5 kilometers every day to work.

4. We use it for narrations or actions of long periods in the past, such as the imperfect Spanish past tense.


 I worked for many years in a museum.
 She did not eat meat for years.

5. It is used to talk about generalities or past events.


 The Aztec lived in Mexico.
 I played the guitar when I was a child.

Past Simple Grammar

To form the past simple with regular verbs, we use the infinitive and add the ending “-ed”. The form is the same for all people (I, you, he, she, it, we, they).


  want → wanted
  learn → learned
  stay → stay
  walk → walked
  show → showed


1. For verbs that end in an “e”, we only add “-d”.


  change → changed

2. If the verb ends in a short vowel and a consonant (except “y” or “w”), we double the final consonant.


  stop → stopped
  commit → committed

3. With verbs that end in a consonant and a “y”, the “y” is changed to an “i”.


  study → studied
  try → tried

Note: There are many irregular verbs in English. Unfortunately, there is no established standard to train them. See a list of irregular verbs here. Next you have the three most common irregular verbs and those that act as auxiliary verbs.

Verb Past simple
be   was (I, he, she, it)
  were (you, we, they)
do   did
have   had

Ed pronunciation

We pronounce the ending “-ed” differently depending on the letter that goes to the end of the infinitive. In general the “e” is silent.

1. With infinitives that end in “p”, “f”, “k” or “s” (unvoiced consonants, except “t”) we pronounce the ending “-ed” as a “t”.


  looked [lukt]
  kissed [kisst]

2. With infinitives that end in “b”, “g”, “l”, “m”, “n”, “v”, “z” (voiced consonants, except “d”) or a vowel, we pronounce only the D”.


  yelled [jeld]
  cleaned [klind]
3. With the infinitives that end in “d” or “t”, we pronounce the “e” as an “i”.


  ended [endid]
  waited [weitid]

Simple Past Was and Were ( Grammar – Examples – Exercises )

The simple past of the verb to bepast simple of the ver to be or past indefinite, sometimes called the preterite, is the basic form of the past tense of the verb to be in Modern English. It is used principally to describe events in the past, although it also has some other uses.

Was and  Were Grammar

Was is used in the first person singular (I) and the third person singular (he, she, it).

Were is used in the second person singular and plural (you, your, yours) and first and third person plural (we, they).

Affirmative  Singular ( Was- Were)

I was – You were –He was – She was – It was

Affirmative Plural ( Were )

We were – You were – They were.

Negative  Singular ( Wasn´t – Weren´t )

I wasn´t –You weren´t – He wasn´t – She wasn´t – It wasn´t

Negative Plural (  Weren´t )

We weren´t – You weren´t – They weren´t.

Question  Singular ( Was- Were)

Was I – Were You -Was He – Was She – Was It

Question Plural ( Were )

Were We – Were You – Were They.

Worksheets PDF – Simple Past

Past Simple Exercises

Verb to Be Past

past simple sentences

simple past tense examples

past simple english

past simple regular verbs exercises

past simple irregular verbs exercises

past simple negative Exercises

past form of the verb