The word ‘tense’ is derived from Latin word ‘tempus’ and it means time. Basically tense conveys the time of action.
Tenses are mainly divided into parts – Present, Past and Future. They are further subdivided into three categories – Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous.
Simple Past Tense
Simple Past Tense is used to describe or denote an action that started in the past and ended in the past. It could be something that happened many years ago or something that happened some moments before. This tense is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. Action duration as well as time of action is not important in this tense as it emphasizes that the action is finished that’s why this tense is also known as Past Indefinite Tense.
Usage of Simple Past Tense
1. This tense is used to indicate or describe an action/actions completed or happened in past. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past.
My friend, Sneha left the school last year.
We shifted to this place last month.
I didn’t attend the school yesterday as I was not well.
2. Simple Past is also used to talk about a past state of being or sentiments about something that happened in past. This is often expressed with the simple past tense of the verb ‘to be’.
I was proud of my students’ brilliant performance on stage.
The engagement ceremony was a moment to be cherished.
3. Simple Past is used to describe past conditions and wishes.
He could get a new job if he really tried.
I wish it wasn’t true.
4. Simple Past is also used to denote past habits or the habitual actions which discontinued in present time. Such actions or habits are also expressed with the modal auxiliary ‘used’.
I used to bite my nails, when I was a child.
I couldn’t sleep well when I was giving class XII board examinations.
He never fared well in studies during school time.
Time expressions (adverbs/adverb phrases used)
The most common time expressions used for the past simple are: yesterday, a week ago, a year ago, long ago, last month, last year, last weekend, last Monday, last night, day before yesterday, when I was a child, etc.
Note : Time expressions appear either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.
Sequence with Past continuous Tense
Past Continuous Tense is used as a time expression or time reference with Simple Past Tense to describe when some action took place some other work was going on/happening.
For example –
When we were going to Nainital, we were stuck in a hail storm.
He fell asleep while he was driving and met with an accident.
Verb Form used ( V2 – second form of verb )
Past Simple Tense is usually formed by adding ‘d’, or ‘ed’ to the base form of the verb. However, there are many irregular verbs that take on a completely different form in past tense. For irregular verbs, things get more complicated. The simple past tense of some irregular verbs looks exactly like the root form. They remain unchanged in all the three forms. Such as :
Put, Cut, Set, Cost, Hit, Cast, read
For other irregular verbs, including the verb to be, the simple past forms are more erratic.
Here goes the list :
see – saw - seen
build – built - built
go – went - gone
rise – rose – risen
hide – hid - hidden
meet - met – met
bring – brought - brought
begin – began - begun
break – broke - broken
choose – chose - chosen
come – came – come
hold – held - held
eat – ate – eaten
write – wrote – written
win – won - won
have – had - had
(be)am/is/are - was/were – been
do – did – done
1. She completed her work at seven o'clock.
2. I received his letter last week.
3. Mr. Bhaskar Reddy met his wife in 1983.
4. Ms. Meenakshi Pandit worked in this firm for 20 years.
5. I lived abroad for ten years.
Sentence structure in the tense
Affirmative – Subject (noun/pronoun) + Verb 2 (second form of verb) + object + time expression
Negative – Subject (noun/pronoun) + did (second form of helping verb ‘do’) + not + V1 (first form of verb) + object + time expression
Interrogative – Question Word + did (second form of helping verb ‘do’) + Subject (noun/pronoun) + V1 (first form of verb) + object + time expression
1. I visited my grandparents yesterday. (Affirmative)
2. My boss did not sign the document. (Negative)
3. Did they go to Spain for holidays? (Interrogative)
More examples –
4. Joseph Priestley discovered Oxygen.
5. Sujoy and Meeta got married in 2011.
6. We watched Avengers Endgame last month.
7. Long time ago, people lived in caves.
8. She ate pizza everyday, when she was a child.
6. She always carried an umbrella with her as she was scared of rain.
7. Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869.
8. My cousin missed the train and could not join us in my birthday celebration.
Complete the following sentences by using correct form of verb given in the bracket.
1. I__________ ‘Ignited Minds’ last week. (read)
2. It _______ raining while we _______ Football match. (start / play)
3. Why _______ you__________ for me at the bar in the evening? (not wait)
4. I __________ for over an hour, but you never _________ up. (wait / turn)
5. My friend _________ for Mumbai yesterday to enjoy the weekend. (leave)
6. Teresa ___________ even the last train. (miss)
7. The sunset _________ so beautiful after rain. (be)
8. What time_______ they ________to meet the doctor yesterday? (go)
9. Which year _____ you _________ ? (bear)
10. I ________ to contact you, but your phone _______ unreachable. (try/ be)
2. started – were playing
3. didn’t – wait
4. was waiting – turned
8. did – go
9. were – born
10. tried – was