Simple Past Tense


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Hi, everybody!

My name is Alisha, today we're gonna be talking about simple past tense.

We're gonna talk about how to make simple past tense statements in English.

So let's get started!

Okay, so first, let's talk about when we should use the simple past tense.

Simple past tense statements for today are for actions that started and ended in the

past, so these are things that both started or began and ended in the past, both of those

must be true to use simple past tense.

The second point for today is these are actions which happened at a specific point in time,

so a specific point in time can be yesterday, it can be an hour ago, it can be last year,

it can be when you were a kid, all of these are a specific point in time, but the key

is that we know when the action happened.

So specific point in time is point two for this grammar point.

Third, we can use simple past tense for repeated actions in the past.

So things you did every week or every month, or every year, every summer, every hour, if

you like, but one point about this, make sure to include a frequency indicator if you want

to talk about an action that repeated in the past.

Frequency indicator, for example, I just mentioned a few, every week, every month, every year.

So frequency, meaning how often, an indicator shows how often you did that.

So you can use repeated actions with past tense to show, let's see, something you did

a lot in the past, for example.

So to give you a visual, the past is down here, now is this point here, and future is

up here.

When we use the simple past tense it's an action that started and ended in the past

somewhere before now, that's one.

It's at a specific point in time, so this action and this action, we know when they

happened, it could be this morning, it could be yesterday, for example, but we know when

these actions happen.

Third, we can use for repeated action, so maybe these actions repeat, but we know when

the repetition happened, we know when we repeated these actions, so it's okay to use simple

past tense to describe those.

Okay, so now we know when we should use simple past tense, we know why we should use simple

past tense, but how do we make simple past tense statements?

So, when you want to use the simple past tense to explain an action that happened in the

past, you need to conjugate your verb, you need to change your verb.

So that means when you're using a regular verb, you do verb + ed.

So verb + ed is the basic form for simple past tense verbs, but keep in mind this is

only for regular verbs, not all verbs are regular verbs.

So, for example, some common ones are talk, which becomes talked; start which become started;

and enjoy which becomes enjoyed.

Please be careful, however, you'll notice that the past tense form of verbs has a few

different pronunciations, so, for example, start becomes started, it has an ID sound

it's not an ED sound, but an ID sound.

You might hear a word like walked, also, which has a sort of T sound about it; walk becomes

walked; started becomes started; an ID sound.

And then there's also a sound like in breathed, a very soft D sound.

So there are three past tense verb sounds to listen for, an ID sound, started; a soft

D sound like breathed; and then a more hard T sound like walked.

So pay attention to that when you're trying to make these past tense verb conjugations.

Ok, but some verbs are irregular verbs.

Irregular verbs do not have a simple rule for understanding past tense conjugation.

How to change them in past tense, there's no rule for these, you simply have to practice,

you have to remember them, read them, listen to them until you can remember the correct

conjugation, the correct way to change these verbs into the past tense.

So, for example, some common ones are eat, which becomes ate; speak becomes spoke; and

make becomes made.

If you see a verb somewhere that seems a little odd, or you're not sure what the present tense

form would be, you can check a dictionary and try to remember it from there.

So, now we've talked about simple past tense, irregular and regular verbs, let's try to

use them to make some sentences.

I've prepared a few example sentences, so let's take a look.

Okay, first sentence, He ______ a towel and sunglasses to the beach.

So the verb here is bring, I want to use the verb "bring."

Bring, however, is an irregular verb, so I can't use the ED rule for regular verbs; the

correct conjugation is brought.

He brought a towel and sunglasses to the beach.

This is the correct conjugation here, so bring is an irregular verb.

Okay, let's go to the next sentence.

They ______ to the gym every day last week.

So here, I'm showing you a repeated action, here I'm using every day, this is a frequency

indicator, how often did I do that action; and last week shows the specific point in


So I'm using both of these two points, in addition to a simple past, the basic simple

past structure here.

So the verb that we want to use here is "go," but go is an irregular verb so we can't use

go-ed, for example.

Go changes to went in the past tense, so went is the correct answer for this sentence here.

Okay, let's try the next one.

I ______ to tell my boss about my schedule.

So the verb I want to use here is "forget."

Forget is a very useful word, I think, to remember.

But again, forget is not a regular verb, forget is an irregular verb, so we cannot use the

ED form.

Forget in the past tense becomes forgot.

Ok, so, I forgot to tell my boss about my schedule is the correct sentence here.


Let's go to something a little bit different, here's a negative sentence.

I don't think they _______ a reservation at the restaurant.

Ok, so here I'm using a phrase, I want to use the phrase "make a reservation," to make

a reservation.

So the verb here is "make," this was one of my example verbs for the irregular form.

So make becomes made.

I don't think they made a reservation at the restaurant is the correct verb form to use


All right, the next sentence, we ______ junk food almost every day last month.

So here, again, I have every day, but I have almost here, so almost every day, not every

day but close to every day.

And then last month, last month is my specific point in time in this case.

So here we have junk food, that means that the verb we want to use is probably eat, and

we learned that eat is an irregular verb, there's no rule for conjugating this, we just

know that eat becomes ate.

We ate junk food almost every day last month.



So next sentence has two spaces for verbs, actually.

Okay, so the next sentence that I've prepared I included because a lot of my students asked

about how to report information.

When you want to report information, share something that you heard from a friend, a

past tense action, you need to conjugate the reporting verb, for example, say becomes said,

or hear becomes heard.

You need to conjugate this verb and you need to conjugate the information that you heard.

So there are two past-tense conjugations that should happen when you report information.

Let's take a look.

So here we have She _____ she _____ a great time at the party.

So, here, she ____ a great time at the party, so we used the expression "to have a great


To have a great time, again, have is an irregular verb so we conjugate it to had.

She had a great time at the party.

Okay, but then to report your speech, so someone gave you information, past tense, give becomes

gave you information, so the verb for giving information, a neutral way to pass information

is "say."

So to conjugate say into the past tense, it's an irregular verb, so we use said.

Say becomes said, so she said she had a great time at the party.


Please be careful of your pronunciation with the word said, a lot of people I've heard

use say-d.

Say-d is not correct, so please use said.

It sounds like SED, the pronunciation, but it's said, SAID is the spelling.

Say becomes said.

She said she had a great time at the party.

Ok, so last one.

Okay, so the last example sentence for today includes spaces for a few different verbs.

I included this because I wanted to show you that you can use a lot of different information

in one sentence, just by connecting your past tense verbs together.

So let's take a look.


Yesterday I _____ late, _____ shopping, and _____ to my mother.

Okay, so the verbs I want to use for this sentence are sleep, "go," and "speak."

These are all irregular verbs, there are no regular verbs in this sentence.

So sleep in past tense becomes slept; go in past tense becomes went; and speak in past

tense becomes spoke.

So here, in one sentence, I have explained three things about my day yesterday.

Yesterday I slept late, I went shopping, and I spoke to my mother.

So you can explain a lot of things with past tense and a few connecting words, in this

case, I've just used "and" to connect the last two things in this sentence.

So please keep this in mind when you're sharing information about your past events.

So today we talked about the simple past tense, and we talked about how to conjugate both

regular and irregular verbs.

It might seem a little bit difficult to understand which verbs are regular and which verbs are

irregular, but with some practice it will become easier.

So I hope that you enjoyed this video, if you have any questions or comments, please

be sure to leave us a comment and let us know.

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