Past simple Exercises

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

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Past simple form : ( verb 2 )

In English we use the past simple tense to talk about finished actions in the past.

We use 'did' as an auxiliary verb in negatives and questions and we often use the past simple with past time phrases such as 5 minutes ago, yesterday, last week, in the 1980s, and when I was a child.

Notes for use of past simple  :

In English, to change verbs to the past tense, we add '-ed' to regular verbs. For example;

work --> worked

live --> lived

walk --> walked

If the verb ends in 'e', we drop the 'e' before adding '-ed'. For example;

dance --> danced

smile --> smiled

phone --> phoned

If the verb ends in a vowel + consonant, we double the last consonant. For example;

stop --> stopped

tag --> tagged

plan --> planned

If the verb has more than one syllable, we double the consonant at the end only if the last syllable is stressed. For example;

prefer --> preferred

permit --> permitted

regret --> regretted

If the last syllable of the verb is not stressed, we do not double the last consonant. For example;

visit --> visited

happen --> happened

develop --> developed

In British English, verbs ending in 'l' double the 'l' before '-ed' whether the last syllable is stressed or not. For example;

travel --> travelled

cancel --> cancelled

If the verb ends in a 'y' or a 'w', we do not double it when we add '-ed'. For example;

stay --> stayed

play --> played

sew --> sewed

In English we do not double the consonant if the verb has two vowels before the last consonant. For example;

boil --> boiled

explain --> explained

In English we also do not double the consonant if the verb ends in two consonants. For example;

help --> helped

start --> started

However, irregular verbs change to completely different words in the past tense. For example;

go --> went

take --> took

know --> knew

The table below shows the different forms of past simple :

Example Verb : live
I / You  / We / They / He / She / It
Positive... lived.
Negative... didn't live.


Did ... live?
Short answers

Yes, ... did. /

No, ... didn't.

For the verb 'to be' we use 'was' and 'were'' in the past simple. No auxiliary verbs are used in negative sentences and questions.

Verb : Be
I / He / She / It
You / We / They
Positive... was ...... were ...
Negative... wasn't ...... weren't ...
QuestionsWas ... ... ?Were ... ...?
Short answers

Yes, ... was. /

No, ... wasn't.

Yes, ... were. /

No, ... weren't.

Past Simple Example Sentences :

Positive Examples of Past Simple :

  • I went to Japan last year.
  • She worked as a consultant for 5 years.
  • We saw a film last night.
  • He was ill yesterday.
  • They were at the party last Saturday night.

Negative Examples of Past Simple :

  • You didn't go to the gym last night.
  • He didn't attend the meeting this morning.
  • We didn't have a dog when I was a child.
  • I wasn't at home last weekend.
  • They weren't happy with the service.

Question Examples of Past Simple :

  • Did you visit New York last summer?
  • Did you eat at the Japanese restaurant last night?
  • Who did you meet at the conference?
  • Was she angry?
  • Where were you yesterday afternoon?

Past simple example sentences
Hello, I booked a table for two in the name of Cate for 20:30.
How come? We just called this morning!
At least you didn't waste your whole day off for nothing!
After just a couple of minutes, it died.
Unfortunately, the next one was at 11 and the last one was at 15:30.
Why didn't you tell me that before?
Anyway, what did you say to the old lady?
Welcome, tonight we reserved one of our best tables for you!
Did the chips remind you of her?
It's good you called me before you came today.
I hope I didn't make you wait long.
Did you manage to find it?
Hi, what did you decide?
Yeah, it was a good trick, who did you learn it from?
It seems I forgot to turn it on after I plugged it into the charger!
How did we switch from Mayfair to the suburbs that fast?
Later on, I realized it was too crowded and noisy for me.
You didn't tell me what kind of muffin you wanted.
Oh, do you know what we forgot?
What!? So you complained to Nick about our cat!


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Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
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