This lesson describes how to use most verbs in the past simple in English. The exercises for this topic are here. This lesson is part of our Elementary English Course.
To use verbs in the past simple you need to conjugate the verb or use the auxiliary verb did.
When using the verb in positive you need to conjugate it in the past simple form. Regular verbs (like want, need, play) all have -ed at the end (wanted, needed, played etc..) .
Irregular verbs (like buy, see or go) have various different forms (bought, saw or went).
You studied last night.
When using verbs in the negative form in the past simple, use the negative form of the auxiliary verb did not or didn’t. When we use the auxiliary verb, leave the main verb in it’s bare infinitive form.
You didn’t study last night.
To form questions in the past simple, most verbs usually use the auxiliary verb did. the subject and the auxiliary are inverted.
Did you study last night?
This table gives examples of some common verbs in positive, negative and question forms.
|In positive||In negative||In questions|
|You went, you bought, you saw, you wanted||You didn’t go, you didn’t buy, you didn’t see, you didn’t want||Did you go? Did you buy? Did you see? Did you want?|
Here are some common irregular verbs with their past simple conjugations.
|Base Form||Past Simple|
Check that you understand this grammar with these exercises!