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Simple past - old watch

We use the Simple Past to talk about things that happened in the past, obviously.

They played soccer last Saturday.

She worked at night last week.


Regular Verbs

Most verbs just add ed

rain – rained

help – helped

Verbs that end in e, add d

arrive – arrived

change – changed


Irregular Verbs

Some of the verbs are irregular, which means they don’t follow an established pattern. Here are the forms of the most common irregular verbs:

InfinitiveSimple Past Past Participle
to arisearosearisen
to awakeawokeawoken
to bewas, werebeen
to bearboreborn
to beatbeatbeaten
to becomebecamebecome
to beginbeganbegun
to betbetbet
to bitebitbitten
to bleedbledbled
to blowblewblown
to breakbrokebroken
to bringbroughtbrought
to buildbuiltbuilt
to burnburnt (burned)burnt (burned)
to buyboughtbought
to catchcaughtcaught
to choosechosechosen
to comecamecome
to costcostcost
to cutcutcut
to digdugdug
to dodiddone
to drawdrewdrawn
to drinkdrankdrunk
to drivedrovedriven
to eatateeaten
to fallfellfallen
to feedfedfed
to feelfeltfelt
to fightfoughtfought
to findfoundfound
to flyflewflown
to forbidforbadeforbidden
to forgetforgotforgotten
to forgiveforgaveforgiven
to forsakeforsookforsaken
to freezefrozefrozen
to getgotgot / gotten
to givegavegiven
to gowentgone
to growgrewgrown
to havehadhad
to hearheardheard
to hidehidhid / hidden
to hithithit
to holdheldheld
to hurthurthurt
to keepkeptkept
to knowknewknown
to leadledled
to lendlentlent
to loselostlost
to makemademade
to meetmetmet
to paypaidpaid
to putputput
to readreadread
to rideroderidden
to ringrangrung
to riseroserisen
to runranrun
to saysaidsaid
to seesawseen
to sellsoldsold
to sendsentsent
to shutshutshut
to sleepsleptslept
to speakspokespoken
to swimswamswum
to taketooktaken
to teachtaughttaught
to telltoldtold
to thinkthoughtthought
to throwthrewthrown
to winwonwon
to writewrotewritten

Pay attention!!!!

We use regular or irregular verbs in the past only in affirmative sentences. 

Interrogative and Negative Sentences

In the Simple Past you have to use the auxiliary verb DID to ask a question. And to make a negative sentence, use DIDN’T. 

Let’s see some examples using the verb WORK.

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


Check how to ask questions in the past:

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

Did you check? When you ask a question or say a negative sentence in English, the verb doesn’t change. We use the infinitive form (without to). You just have to use the auxiliary verb DID (for questions) and DIDN’T (for negative sentences).


Here you can read another example. The first paragraph is in the present. The second one is in the past.

Simple Present:

Paul is a programmer. He works at a big company. He leaves home at 7:30 am. and arrives at work at 8:00 am., but Paul doesn’t like to wake up early. He prefers to work at night. Do you know Paul?

Simple Past:

Paul was a programmer. He worked at a big company. He left home at 7:30 am. and arrived at work at 8:00 am., but Paul didn’t like to wake up early. He prefered to work at night. Did you know Paul?

Also learn from Captain English about Double L Spelling Rule here.