The formation, usage, and signal words of the simple past tense

The Simple Past tense in English, describes past states and actions. It is the first past tense that students learning English encounter.

Additionally, we demonstrate common irregular verbs like be in the Simple Past tense and further explain our points with the aid of words that denote the Simple Past. Each of our explanations includes example sentences that demonstrate how it works in practice.

The English past tense at a glance

Regular verbs: The past tense of regular verbs is formed by appending the suffix "-ed" to the end of the infinitive.

Irregular verbs: Since irregular verbs lack a fixed rule for past tense conjugation, it is necessary to memorize it.

Use of the past tense: The past tense is used to talk about things that have already happened.

The formation of the Simple Past tense in English

You must be aware of the proper conjunction for the verb in order to create the Simple Past tense. For regular verbs, all you need to do is finish the verb stem with the -ed suffix. It's a little different when using irregular verbs. The verb tenses in this situation must be memorized.

You can use the examples of both regular and irregular verbs that are provided below to learn English grammar.

Regular verbs of the Simple Past tense in English

To talk

I talked
You talked
He/She/It talked
We talked
They talked

Example sentences in Simple Past tense

Wetalkeda lot about our past experiences.
talkedto my friends about every topic we could think of.
talkedto his teacher about our homework from yesterday.

To walk

I walked
You walked
He/She/It walked
We walked
They walked

Example sentences in Simple Past tense

Iwalkedto school every morning.
walkeda hundred miles to get to the restaurant.
walkeda lot in her youth.

Irregular verbs in simple past tense

To be

I was
You were
He/She/It was
We were
They were

To become

I became
You became
He/She/It became
We became
They became

To get

I got
You got
He/She/It got
We got
They got

These were just a few irregular verbs in Simple Past tense. For the complete list, check out our blog post on irregular English verbs.

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Utilizing the Simple Past Tense

Using the Simple Past tense is quickly explained. Every time you discuss a situation or event that has already happened, you use the Simple Past tense. Therefore, the state or event being reported on has already occurred and been completed in the past. The following words are indicative of the English Simple Past tense:

Signal words for the Simple Past tense

  • Last year, Last month, Last week ...
  • Yesterday
  • Last Friday, Last Monday ...
  • Last summer, Last autumn ...
  • Last January, Last May ...
  • In 1992 ...
  • An hour ago, a few minutes ago ...

Example sentences

Last week Peter got his favorite toy as a present.
Yesterday I talked with my parents about my future goals.
Last Monday was my mother's birthday.
Last summer Jane spent a lot of time outdoors.
Last May, Pete went on a language trip to London to improve his English.
In 1996 Paula and Marc worked as a construction worker.
An hour ago Frank ate a chocolate cake.

Write a few sentences in the Simple Past tense using these signal words; this is the best course of action at this point. Use words from your existing vocabulary while being creative. This will enable you to learn the English simple past tense quickly.

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