Function Of Simple Past Tense

There are

four

different types of past tense in

English
, but

the past simple tense

is the one most students menginjak with.

The past simple tense

will allow you to express yourself and hold conversations, so it’s essential to understand it.

This article will look in detail at how

the past simple tense

works, when you should use it, and some common past tense verbs that you can use in sentences. Keep reading to learn more.

What is the past simple tense?

You can describe the past in

English

in four different tenses. They are:

  • Past simple (also called

    preterite
    )
  • Past continuous
  • Past perfect
  • Past perfect

    continuous

The past simple tense

is used to talk about things that both

started and ended

in the past. It is one of the most commonly used tenses in

English

as it indicates something that has already happened.

When to use the past simple tense

  • To talk about events that happened in the past —


    I



    walked



    to school yesterday.

  • To talk about moods or states of being in the past —


    I



    was



    a happy teenager.

  • To talk about repeated actions in the past —


    I



    visited



    my grandma


    every winter for ten years.




Memihak tip – Past simple is only used when the action or event in the past was completed. If an action started in the past but is continuing into the future that is a different tense (present perfect).

How to construct the simple past tense

Regular verbs

Regular verbs always follow the same rules and so once you have understood how this rule works, you can apply this to all regular verbs. T
he rule for simple past tense is very easy to remember.

You just need to add

-ed

to the

base form

or

infinitive

verb, (or

-d

if the root form already ends in an e). The

infinitive

or

base form of the verb

is how the verb appears in the dictionary, for example, “walk.”


[ verb] + [ed] = regular past tense verb

For example:

  • To walk → walk + ed =

    walked


I



walked



into town

  • To paint → paint + ed =

    painted


I



painted



a picture

  • To love → love + d =

    loved


I



loved



my ex-wife

Additionally, verbs in the simple past do not change depending on the subject, they always stay the same. For example:

  • I

    smile,

    she

    smiled,

    he

    smiled,

    you

    smiled,

    we

    smiled,

    they

    smiled.

If you want to put this theory into practice, try this

free online exercise sheet
.

Irregular verbs

Of course, there are some exceptions to the

English grammar

rules around simple past.

Irregular verbs
, like “
to be
” for example, don’t follow a pattern or rule like

regular verbs

and so just have to be memorized.

That might seem like a big task, but to

learn English

you only need to focus on the most important ones. Here are fifty of the most

common irregular verbs

to get you started:

Infinitive verb Past simple verb
To be was (I/he/she) were (you/we/they)
To go went
To do did
To have had
To get got
To eat ate
To fall fell
To feel felt
To dream dreamt
To speak spoke
To give gave
To take took
To find found
To draw drew
Can could
To drink drank
To choose chose
To buy bought
To grow grew
To hear heard
To know knew
To make made
To pay paid
To read read (in the past tense, this word is pronounced “red”)
To let let
To meet met
To lose lost
To say said
To sell sold
To run ran
To shut shut
To sleep slept
To smell smelt
To sing sang
To tell told
To understand understood
To write wrote
To teach taught
To swim swam
To win won
To think thought
To sit sat
To send sent
To see saw
To keep kept
To leave left
To drive drove
To cut cut
To cost cost
To fly flew

Irregular verbs

are used in sentences in the same way as regular ones. For example:


  • I



    flew



    to Spain in an airplane



    last week

  • You



    paid



    for our lunch yesterday

  • He



    won



    a prize for his poetry a few years ago


  • We



    sold



    our house recently


  • The doctor



    sent



    me home at midday.


How to use the past simple tense

Student with book and laptop

You can use past simple with

time expressions

that refer to a point of time in the past, for example, “earlier today”, “yesterday”, “

last week
”, “
last month
” or “last Tuesday”.


  • I



    married



    Steve



    last year

You can also use phrases that refer to an indefinite

period of time

in the past, often marked by the word “ago”. For example,  “a long time ago”, “a month ago”, “several years ago”.


  • The old lady



    died


    fifty years ago

Or phrases that suggest frequency, for things which happened multiple times in the past: “often”, “sometimes”, “never”, “every”.


  • I



    often


    jogged



    home after work

Pronunciation

A quick note on pronunciation! Not all regular past tense verbs with “ed” at the end are pronounced the same way. Most of the time, the “ed” is pronounced like a soft “d”.

  • Hop
    ed
  • Plac
    ed
  • Clos
    ed

Sometimes, the ending of the word is pronounced like an “id” to rhyme with “lid”.

  • Paint
    ed
  • Correct
    ed
  • Erect
    ed

Other times, the “ed” sounds more like the soft “kaki langit” sound, like at the end of “paint.”

  • Lik
    ed
  • Walk
    ed
  • Pick
    ed

Pronunciation will become easier the more you practice speaking and listening to

English
.

Watching TV in

English

with subtitles


is a great way to practice listening and you can hear how native speakers pronounce words.

How to form negative statements in the past simple tense

To make

negative sentences

in the past tense, add the

auxiliary verb
“did titinada”

(can be shortened to

“didn’ufuk”)


before the

present

verb tense
. “
Did titinada
” is the past tense of “
do not
.”

[Subject]+ [
did not / didn’t
] + [present tense verb form]


  • He



    did not



    come home for Christmas

  • I



    did not



    walk to work yesterday

  • We



    did titinada




    play football last Tuesday

If you want to practice making negative simple past tense statements, check out

this online exercise
.

Exceptions

There are only a few exceptions when forming negative statements in the simple past, but they are important. The first is the verb “to be.”

In the past tense, “to be”

becomes “was” or “were” depending on the subject.

Subject Verb (To be)
I Was
You Were
He/She
/It
Was
We Were
They Were

The negative of “was” is “was titinada” or “wasn’kaki langit” for short. The negative of “were” is “were not” or “weren’cakrawala”. For example:


  • He



    was not



    too busy to help

  • I



    wasn’ufuk



    ready to move on


  • You



    weren’t



    eating healthy food.


  • His parents (they)



    were not



    playing games

  • We



    weren’cakrawala



    going to school

The other exception is

modal

verbs

.

Modal

verbs describe whether something is certain, possible, or impossible: they are: “could,” “might,” “should,” and “would.”

To make a

modal

verb into a negative, you write the verb + “not”. For example:

  • Should titinada – shouldn’t
  • Could not – couldn’ufuk
  • Would titinada – wouldn’t
  • Might not – mightn’t
  • Must not – mustn’t

Here are some examples of negative statements using

modal

verbs:

  • I

    could titinada

    remember his name
  • He

    should titinada

    worry too much
  • You

    mustn’falak

    spend too much time watching TV
  • They

    wouldn’t

    eat my spicy curry

Turn theory into practice

This article is a starting point for understanding

the past simple tense

in

English
. Don’t worry if it doesn’t “stick” straight away. Learning English
 grammar

rules is 5% theory and 95% practice, so the next step is to try and use what you’ve learned.

Book some lessons with a

Preply

English

tutor


— prices start from just $5 per hour, and you can put

the past simple tense

theory into conversations. If you get stuck or have any questions, there is a native-speaking tutor on hand to help you out, so you’ll soon be a master of

the past simple tense
.

Frequently asked questions

Which sentences contain a verb in the simple past tense?

Many sentences contain verbs in the simple past tense. An example of a simple past sentence is “I walked home

last night
.” The verb walk (present tense) adds “ed” to become walked (past tense).

What is simple past tense?

Simple past tense is one of four types of past tense in

English
. It describes an action, event, or state of being that both started and finished in the past. For example, “I ate this morning.”

What is the function of simple past tense?

The function of the simple past tense is to indicate an action, event, or state that began and concluded in the past, for example, “I was happy

last night
.” It allows you to describe things that have happened in the past and differentiate them from the present or future.

What are simple past and past continuous tenses?

The simple past tense describes something that started and finished in the past, for example, ‘We talked yesterday”. The

past continuous tense

is a bit more complicated and can describe multiple things, including conditions in the past. For example, “The sun was shining when we left the house”. It can also describe habitual action, for example, “He was constantly running

last year
”.

Source: https://preply.com/en/blog/the-past-simple-tense-how-to-form-it-and-when-to-use-it/

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