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Past Simple ESL Cheat Sheet by

Cheat Sheet for Past simple use in English

Past Simple Use

Past Simple Use

We use the Past SImple for compeleted actions in the past.
Example: He died in 1928.

We use the Past Simple for repeated actions in the past.
Example: She phoned her family every day when she was on holiday.

We use the Past Simple for a series of actions on the past.
Example: We walked along the river, saw some ducks and gave them some bread.

Other ed words

Some adjectives end with ed we need to use the verb TO BE with these.

Example: He was excited to see his friend yesterday.
Negative: He wasn't excited to see his friend yesterday.
Question: Was he excited to see his friend yesterday?

Regular Verbs

With regular verbs we add 'ed' to the end of the verb.
Example: To look - Looked

If the verb already ends with an 'e' don't add an extra one!
Example To like - Likeed - Liked

There are 3 ways to pronounce regular verbs. See below:

Pronun­ciation of ED

Negatives and questions

I didn't watch TV yesterday.
Did I watch TV yesterday?
You didn't see me in the meeting.
Did you see me this morning?
He/She/It didn't take a long time to arrive.
Did He/She/It take a long time to arrive?
We didn't climb the mountain last weekend.
Did we climb the mountain last weekend?
They didn't have a dog when they were young.
Did they have a dog when they were young?
With all other verbs we use didn't for negative sentences and did for questions.
The second verb stays in the basic form

Irregular verbs form

Past tense = Past Paticiple
Infinitive +(e)n
Past form + (e)n
No Change
Vowel Change
Two forms
buy bought bought
eat ate eaten
break broke broken
put put put
drink drank drunk
learn learnt­/le­arned leant/­learned
It's always better to learn the 3 forms of the irregular verbs at the same time.
Even though there are catego­ries, the best way to learn irregular verbs is by heart!
The verbs ending in ought are pronounced like ORT

To be

We use the verb 'to be' for place and state and feelings.
Place - I was in the park yesterday.
State - She was a nurse 10 years ago.
Feelings - They were happy on holiday.

To be - form

I was in the park yesterday
I wasn't in the park yesterday
Was I in the park yesterday?
You were on holiday last week
You weren't on holiday last week
Were you on holiday last week?
He/She/It was great!
He/She/It wasn't great!
Was it great?
We were sick on the weekend
We weren't sick on the weekend
Were we sick on the weekend?
They were married 5 years ago
They weren't married 5 years ago
Were they married 5 years ago?


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