Past Tense

  Verb 'to be'  


I was tired.

You were tired/You’re tired.

She was tired/She’s tired.

Were you tired?

Was he tired?/ No, he wasn’t tired.

Were they tired?/No, they weren’t.




 Past Simple Tense


  Affirmative Form  

The form is as follow:

Verb + ed

For irregular verbs, however, the forms have to be memorized by heart.

I, you, we, they -> played

She, he, it -> played


I played the accordion well.

Niall and Harry played the accordion well.

My sister played the accordion well.

Irregular verbs examples:

Be -> was/were

Do/does -> did

Have/has -> had

Write -> wrote



  Interrogative Form  
  • Did (I, you, we, they) -> play
  • Did  (she, he, it) -> play


Did you play BTS?

Did your sister play BTS?

Did she do her drawing?



  Negative Form  
  • (I, you, we, they) did not/didn’t -> play
  • (She, he, it) did not/didn’t -> play


I did not/didn’t jog just now.

Mother did not/didn’t jog.



  The use of past simple tense  

1.  Finished events in the past

  • William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
  • Christoph Columbus discovered America in 1492.
  • He kissed her and left.

2.  Past habitual action

  • visited them every day for a year.
  • drove to work every day when I worked with that company.

3.  Events that were true for some time in the past

  • He lived in Paris for 20 years.
  • They talked on the phone for ten minutes.

The spelling of verbs in past simple tense

 Type Present tense Past tense
Silent e Close Closed
Die Died
Phone Phoned
Vowel + y Play Played
Destroy Destroyed
Show Showed
Consonant + y Marry Married
Carry Carried
Study Studied
Other forms Visit Visited
Miss Missed
Watch Watched
Finish Finished
Fix Fixed
Buzz Buzzed

  Past Continuous Simple

  The form  

The verb to be (in the past simple) + Verb-ing


Yesterday morning I was hanging my laundry when the postman came.



  Affirmative Form  


I was eating.

You/we/they were eating.

She/he/it was eating.



  Interrogative Form  


Was I eating?

Were you/we/they eating?

Was she/he/it eating?



  Negative Form  


I was not/wasn’t eating.

You/we/they were not/weren’t eating.

She/he/it was not/wasn’t eating.



  The use of past continuous simple tense  

1.  We use the past continuous tense to say that somebody was in the middle of doing something at a certain time in the past.

"This time yesterday, I was doing my homework."


2.  We use the past continuous to say that something happened in the middle of something else:
"Bob burnt his hand when he was cooking dinner yesterday."
 "While I was working in the garden, I hurt my back."


 Past Perfect Simple Tense

  The form  

Had + Verb in the past participle form



Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I had worked. I had not/ hadn’t worked. Had I worked?
You had worked. She had not/ hadn’t worked. Had she worked?


  The use of past perfect simple tense  

1. The past perfect simple tense is used to show an action completed before another action in the past.


  • He had learned Spanish before he went to Spain.
  • President Lincoln had attended the theatre before his assassination in 1865.
  • They had had lunch when I arrived.
  • She passed the exam because she had worked very hard.

 Past Perfect Continuous

  The form  

Had + Been + Verb-ing

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I had been working. I had not/ hadn’t been working. Had you been working?


  The use of past perfect continuous tense  

1. We use the past perfect continuous tense to show that something started in the past and continued until another action stopped it.


  • We had been playing soccer when the accident occurred

2. We use the past perfect continuous to show that something started in the past and continued up until another time in the past. In this case, we use expressions of duration such as:

  • for an hour
  • for three years


  • had been living in that small town for three years before I moved to New York.

3. We use the Past Perfect Continuous before another action in the past to show cause and effect.


  • was so tired. I had been revising my lessons for hours.