Simple Past Tense meaning and Examples
Simple Past Tense
The simple past tense usually means that this action ended in the past.
Simple past tense can be used for most past actions; we can use it for
• actions that happened quickly,
• actions that happened over time, or
• actions that were habits in the past.
Here’s a very rough rule: If an action happened in the past, you’ll probably be correct if you use simple past tense for it.
Simple Past Tense Examples
I arrived home at five.
(This happened in the past.)
Yesterday I worked on my math homework for three hours.
(This happened over time in the past.)
When he was five, my son Hoku watched the videotape The Land Before Time every day. (This was habit in the past.)
I didn’t drink coffee in college, but I drank it a lot in grad school.
(These were habits in the past.)
Did you call me last night?
(I want to know if this happened in the past.)
Where did Rob sleep last night?
(I want to know where this happened in the past.)
When you were traveling in Asia, did you call your parents every week?
(I want to know if this was a habit in the past.)
Bill didn’t tell his wife about the snakes in the bathtub.
(The Basics happen in the past.)
When I was in high school, I didn’t study very much.
(This wasn’t a habit in the past.)
How do I make Simple Past Tense?
verb-ed or irregular past form (if the verb is irregular)
Ralph called his mother to wish her happy birthday.
I taught high school for seven years before teaching at Chabot.
Wayne and Garth studied Chinese in college.
Yesterday I cut my finger while I was opening a can of cat food.
did + not + simple form
George W. Bush did not attend Chabot College.
I didn’t see Betty at the mall.
The kids didn’t eat their vegetables at dinner tonight.
(question word) + did + subject + simple form
Did you wash the dishes?
Why did you pour ketchup on my head?
Did I tell you about the party that Rosa is having next Friday?
When did Shakespeare write A Midsummer Night’s Dream?