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LEARN ENGLISH PAST SIMPLE VERBS

To form the past simple tense we need to take the verb as we find it in the dictionary and remove the "to". Then we need to add "-ed" to the verb.

Example

Yesterday we listened to the radio for four hours. (Ayer escuchamos la radio durante cuatro horas)

Some verbs have spelling changes when adding "-ed".

Example If the verb ends in "-e", we only add "-d" to form the past simple.

They live in a big house. (Viven en una casa grande)

They lived in a big house. (Vivieron en una casa grande)

If the verb consists of only one syllable and the last three letters are: consonant plus vowel plus consonant, we will double the last consonant, then we add "-ed".

Example

The police stop the car. (La policía para el coche)

The police stopped the car. (La policía paró el coche)

*Note: Many verbs have irregular past simple tenses, so you need to study them by heart, as they do not follow the above-mentioned rule.

Example

Yesterday we read all the explanations on English verbs. (Ayer leímos todas las explicaciones sobre los verbos ingleses)

For the negative form we use "did not" (didn't) in front of the verb.

Example

Yesterday we did not study Spanish. (Ayer no estudiamos español)

If the verb we want to negate is the verb "to be", we do not need to use the auxiliary "did not", we just add "not" after the verb "to be" in its past simple form.

Example

Yesterday I was not (wasn't) at home. (Ayer no estuve en casa)

For the interrogative form we use "did" before the person.

Example

Did you study Spanish yesterday? (¿Estudiaste español ayer?)

If it is the verb "to be" we just use it before the person.

Example

Were you at home yesterday? (¿Estuviste en casa ayer?)

SOME GENERAL USES

We use the past simple to talk about an action or event that took place at a specific point in the past. We can say exactly when it happened, or not, if we prefer so.

Example

Yesterday I went to the cinema. (Ayer fui al cine)

This morning I went to the supermarket. (Esta mañana fui al supermercado)

I worked for the same company for two years. (Trabajé para la misma empresa durante dos años)

This last example shows that the action of working for the same company is finished although we do not specify when it started and finished. The past simple refers to a past action (finished) in a past time. This means that not only the action is finished but also the time when it occurred is finished and past.

Example

Last week I read a book. (La semana pasada leí un libro)

Last year I travelled around Europe. (El año pasado viajé por Europa)

We use the expression "Used to" with the verb in the present simple tense but it implies a past action that was repeated over a period of time (in the past) or was frequent (in the past).

Example

The girls used to play with their dolls. (Las niñas solían jugar con sus muñecas)

This example means that the girls do not play with their dolls anymore, but in the past, the action of playing with their dolls was common, frequent, repeated by the girls.

With the past simple it is frequent to find in the sentence adverbs of time specific to the past such: Yesterday, the day before yesterday, last week, last year, two years ago, etc.

Example

We went to the cinema yesterday evening. (Fuimos al cine ayer por la tarde)

He had a Chinese meal two weeks ago. (Comió una comida china hace dos semanas)

They went to Australia last year on their holiday. (Fueron a Australia el año pasado en sus vacaciones)

Lets us conjugate a verb as an example. We are going to take the verb "to study".

Positive

Negative

Question

I studied didn't study Did I study?
You studied didn't study Did you study?
He studied didn't study Did he study?
She studied didn't study Did she study?
It studied didn't study Did it study?
We studied didn't study Did we study?
You (all) studied didn't study Did you study?
They studied didn't study Did they study?