English Grammar – Simple Past Tense

The formula for simple past (Positive) is Subject + V2.

In Simple past tense, we use the verb in Past form (V2).

The past form for write is ‘wrote’.

Positive Negative Interrogative
I wrote. I did not write. Did I write?
We wrote. We did not write. Did we write?
You wrote. You did not write. Did you write?
He wrote. He did not write. Did he write?
She wrote. She did not write. Did she write?
It wrote. It did not write. Did it write?
They wrote. They did not write. Did they write?

We always use the simple past to say when something happened, so it is associated with certain past time expressions.

Simple past tense is used for both recent and distant past actions. Remember, it is the activity we are talking about that  was completed, and that is not still going on.

Example: He participated in sports.

                She narrated a story.

If we are when something happened, we will use simple past. In other words, if we see certain past time expressions, such as ‘yesterday‘, ‘last week, or Last year etc., we use simple past.

Example: We watched a good movie last week.

                Yesterday, they attended a marriage.

We can also use simple past if you are describing how often we used to do something. In this type of sentence, we will see words like ‘often‘ or ‘sometimes,’ and it is the context, as well as the verb itself, that will let us know the sentence is in simple past.

Example: My friend sometimes walked home at lunch break.

                I often brought my lunch to college.

Note: The word ‘ago’ is a useful way of expressing the distance into the past. It is placed after the period of time: a week ago, a month ago etc.

Example: I met my friend a week ago

He visited our place a month ago.

Use of used to do:

We use the “used to do” structure to talk about:

  • An activity that we did regularly in the past (like a habit).
  • A situation that was true in the past.


Past        Present
He used to watch a lot of movies. Now he doesn’t watch movies.
She used to work in a college. Now she works in a university.



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