Even if you think you already know how to use the simple past, these 10 tips will help you avoid mistakes when you speak about past actions.
1 Verbs can be regular or irregular. Regular verbs end in -ed (worked, stayed) and the past form of irregular verbs should be memorized (fly, see, take, make)
2 The 10 most common verbs in English are all irregular. Make sure you know their past forms.
be, make, have, get, do, say, take, come, go, see
3 The past form of the verbs is used only in affirmative sentences.
We got home late yesterday.
4 Use the auxiliary did in questions and the base form of the main verb. Don’t use the past form of the verbs in questions or negative sentences.
We say Did he take the bus? and NOT Did he
took the bus?
We say He didn’t make a cake and NOT He didn’t
made a cake.
5 Use the auxiliary did and not the main verb in short answers.
Did you go to the movies yesterday?
We say: Yes, I did.
NOT Yes, I
6 Before making sentences in the past, be aware of the main verb – is it the verb to be? Then don’t use did or didn’t. Use was, wasn’t (I, he, she, it) and were, weren’t (you, we, they)
Where were you yesterday?
I was at home.
7 The form of the simple past is the same for all persons. There is not ‘s’ when the subject is he, she, it as in the sumple present.
Simple Present: He lives here.
Simple Past: He lived here.
8 Word order in questions: auxiliary + subject + main verb or question word + auxiliary + subject + main verb
Did you see him?
Where did you see him?
9 Spelling Rules for regular verbs:
Base form …..
+ ed: worked
+ d: liked, lived
+ ied: studied
+ double the last consonant + ed, when the verb ends in consonant-vowel-consonant: stopped
10 There are 3 ways to pronounce the ed
/t/ – when the infinitive of the verb ends in an unvoiced sound: kissed, walked, stopped, washed, catched, laughed
/id/ when the infinitive of the verb ends in /t/ or /d/: decided, rented, wanted, ended
/d/ when the infinitive of the verb ends in an voiced sound: lived, sunbathed, stayed
Hope these tips will help you improve your English.