The simple past tense is used for events that happened or started and completed in the past and that have no relation with the present. The past form of the verb is the same for all persons and things regardless of whether they are singular or plural. If the verb is a regular verb, it takes the base form of the verb with –ed added (kick – kicked) or –d added (bake - baked) if it ends in –e.

 

We use the simple past tense:

 

to describe an action that occurred in the past or at a specified time or the time is easily understood or already implied.

Examples:

  • My grandfather played for the Golden Hornless Bull football team. 
  • We finished our final exam an hour ago.
    Not: We have/had finished our final exam an hour ago.
  • A snake swallowed a bullfrog.

 

 

to refer to an action completed regardless of how recent or distant in the past.

Examples:

  • My brother joined the circus as a clown last week.  
  • Alexander Bell invented the telephone in 1876.Alexander Bell invented the telephone in 1876.
  • The police recaptured the escaped prisoner three months later.

 

 

for an action done repeatedlyhabitually or at regular times in the past.

Examples:

  • He visited his mother every Sunday until her death.
  • We saw the movie 'Titanic' several times at the cinema.
  • Brian was always a heavy drinker in the old days.

 

 

for a state in the past.

 

Examples:

  • felt very tired after a game of snooker.
  • Her mother suffered from backache in her old age.
  • He got a rare heart disease when he was only thirty. 

 

 

 

to talk about someone who has died.

 

Examples:

  • The deceased was my only uncle.
  • He left all his money to me in his will. 
  • The accident victim died from his injuries. 

 

 

 

To ask a question about the past, the past tense of the auxiliary verb do, which is did, is often used, whether the subject in the question is a singular or plural noun, or a singular or plural pronoun.

 

Examples:

  • Did you have a good flight to London?
  • Did the mosquitoes keep you awake the whole night?
  • Did he promise you that he would not tell anyone about it?
  • Did they agree among themselves?