Past Simple


Regular verbs:   Subject + Verb (-ed) + Object

Irregular verbs: Subject + Verb (past form) + Object

Find more infrmation on English irregular verbs here

The past simple in English uses one form for all persons (with the unique exception of to be).


We use the Past Simple to:

  • talk about completed or finished events

On a fundamental level, if an action is completed or finished then we use the past simple to talk about it.

I ate lunch at home yesterday

I wanted to be a journalist when I was younger

He played cricket in the 1990's


Verbs  in the past do not take a new form in negative or question structures,  we use the auxiliary verb (to do) to indicate past. The specific  exception is to be, which is used without an auxiliary

Spelling notes

Regular  verbs in the past have only two spelling rules that create exceptions  to the INFINITIVE + ed structure. If the verb is a single syllable  single vowel followed by a consonant, we simply double the consonant as  well as adding the -ed

Secondly, if the INFINITIVE ends in a consonant + y we change the -y for an -i  before the -ed

Irregular verbs behave differently and you can find more information about them here


Regular verbs in the pas have three pronunciation patterns that are about sound, not spelling.

Related topics

Differences between Past Simple and Past Continuous here

Further Functions for the Past Simple can be found here

Irregular verbs click here

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