ReadingESL stories and readings in English for ESL learners


Past Simple Verb Tense

When we tell a story it is usually in the past simple tense. 

The past simple is for actions started and completed in the past.


Form (what it looks like):

Affirmative statements Negative statements   Questions
Use the past participle subject +  did not + base form   Did + subject + base form
I marched in a parade.
You marched in a parade.
She marched in a parade.
He marched in a parade.

We marched in a parade.
They marched in a parade.
I did not march in the parade.
I didn't march in the parade.
You didn't march in the parade.
She didn't march in the parade.
He didn't march in the parade.

We didn't march in the parade.
They didn't march in the parade.
band marching in a parade
Did you march in the parade?
No, I didn't.
Yes, I did.

Did she march in the parade?
No, she didn't. 
Yes, she did.

What did you do yesterday?
I marched in a parade.


How do you make the past participle of a regular verb?... it depends on what letter the verb ends with.

If the verb ends with.... then.... example forms other verbs
e just add d tying shoe laces to tie

I tied my shoe laces.
You tied your shoelaces.
He tied his shoelaces.

We tied our shoes.
They tied their shoes.

believe - believed
blame - blamed
care - cared
hope - hoped
live - lived
love - loved
move - moved
share - shared
trade - traded
wave - waved
consonant + y change y to i,
then add ed
two girls studying together to study

I studied with her.
She studied with you.

We studied together.
They studied together.
bury - buried
carry - carried
cry - cried
dry - dried
fry - fried
pry - pried
hurry - hurried
one vowel + x, w or y add ed a man playing a guitar
photo by Alida Salinas
to play

I played the guitar.
You played the guitar.
He played the guitar.

We played the guitar.
They played the guitar.
fix - fixed
mix - mixed
tax - taxed

mow - mowed
snow - snowed
tow - towed

pray - prayed
stay - stayed
stray - strayed
one vowel + consonant
stressed last syllable
double the consonant
then add
chopping green beans
'Chopping' by diathesis, from flickr
to chop

I chopped the beans.
You chopped the beans.
He chopped
the beans.
She chopped
the beans.

We chopped
the beans.
They chopped
the beans.

clap - clapped
clip - clipped
dip - dipped
hop - hopped
shop - shopped
stop - stopped
one vowel + consonant
unstressed last syllable
add ed using a screwdriver to turn a screw to tighten

I tightened the screws.
You tightened the screws.
He tightened the screws.

We tightened the screws.
They tightened the screws.
happen - happened
listen - listened
open - opened
tighten - tightened
visit - visited
all other verbs add ed peeling a banana to peel  (2 vowels + consonant)

I peeled the banana.
You peeled the banana.
She peeled the banana.

We peeled the banana.
They peeled the banana.

climb - climbed
finish - finished
laugh - laughed
march - marched
melt - melted
rain - rained
wait - waited



Using the past simple tense:

1. for actions started and completed in the past

head of a mountain goat    
What did you do last week-end?
We went to the zoo last week-end.
[went is the past participle of go]