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English Tense 3 of 12: the Simple Past

August 1, 2013

Our 12-part series on all of the tenses in the English language continues with the Simple Past. If you missed them, be sure to check out lessons one and two!

The Simple Past

The Simple Past is one of the first things that English students learn. It is also one of the aspects of the English language that students tend to make the most mistakes with, often because students confuse irregular verbs. We will look at all of the uses of the Simple Past and then talk about the most common errors students make when using this tense.

With each of the examples, there are some great suggestions for restaurants/activities in San Diego’s Little Italy, the neighborhood where CISL San Diego’s residence hall, Vantaggio, is located. The charming neighborhood is located next to Downtown San Diego and the San Diego Bay and is known for its many restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Throughout the year, Little Italy hosts numerous festivals, including August’s Ferragosto, February’s Carnevale, the spring ArtWalk, and autumn Festa. For more information on San Diego’s Little Italy, click here.

 

Forms of the Simple Past 

Form 1: Regular verbs, positive sentence

verb + ed

I walked around San Diego’s Little Italy last night. 

image1

Form 2: Regular verbs, negative sentence

subject + did not + verb

 I didn’t get coffee at Pappalecco this morning, but I usually go there every day for their delicious Italian coffee. 

Pappalecco

Form 3: Irregular verbs (check out this detailed list of irregular verbs to help improve your understanding of them!)

Yesterday I had a negroni at Monello’s happy hour and it came with delicious side dishes!

Monello

Form 4: Question form

Did + subject + verb

Did you try the pasta at La Villa when you ate there? They have the BEST Bolognese!

 

Uses of the Simple Past

Use 1: An action completed in the past

Little Italy was once a home to Italian fishermen and their families.

 

Use 2: Completed actions in the past

Yesterday I had the best pizza at Isola in Little Italy.

 Isola.Pizza

Use 3: A period of time in the past

I lived in CISL dorms, Vantaggio, for one year.

 

Use 4: Habitual action in the past

My friend worked at the Little Italy Mercato for three years.

 

Use 5: Things that are no longer true

The Mercato was just a few vendors when it first started.

 

Common Irregular Verbs in English

One of the most difficult aspects of using the Simple Past in English is that there are many irregular verbs. These verbs do not follow the “-ed” ending that regular verbs use. The following is a list of common English verbs that are irregular in the Simple Past. How many of them do you know? Scroll down for the answers!

 

Irregular Verbs (Base Form)        

be

become

begin

bend

bet

bite

blow

break

bring

build

buy

catch

choose

come

cost

cut

dig

do

draw

dream

drive

drink

eat

fall

feel

fight

find

fly

forget

forgive

get

give

gave

go

have

hear

hide

keep

know

learn

leave

let

lose

make

meet

pay

ride

ring

run

say

see

send

sing

sit

sleep

speak

stand

swim

take

teach

think

throw

wear

win

write

 

Answers:

Base Form              Simple Past    

be                                 was/were

become                      became

begin                           began

bend                            bent

bet                               bet

bite                              bit

blow                            blew

break                          broke

bring                           brought

build                           built

buy                              bought

catch                           caught

choose                       chose

come                           came

cost                             cost

cut                               cut

dig                               dug

do                                did

draw                           drew

dream                        dreamed/dreamt

drive                          drove

drink                          drank

eat                               ate

fall                               fell

feel                              felt

fight                            fought

find                             found

fly                                flew

forget                         forgot

forgive                       forgave

get                               got

give                             gave

go                                 went

have                            had

hear                             heard

hide                             hid

keep                            kept

know                          knew

learn                           learned

leave                           left

let                                let

lose                             lost

make                          made

meet                          met

pay                            paid

ride                           rode

ring                           rang

run                            ran

say                            said

see                             saw

send                          sent

sing                           sang

sit                              sat

sleep                        slept

speak                       spoke

stand                       stood

swim                        swam

take                          took

teach                       taught

think                        thought

throw                      threw

wear                        wore

win                          won

write                       wrote

 

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