Simple Past Tense

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1. The simple past tense is expressed with the past form of the verb and nothing else.

    Lucy's uncle died last year.

    Lucy's uncle was died last year.

    Lucy's uncle has died last year.




2. The simple past tense refers to

    a. action which occurred at a specific time in the past

    b. completed action

    c. past status


    Specific past action

    I ate lunch at noon today.

    He drove to work yesterday.

    Completed action

    She finally mailed the letter.

    Jan finished her report on time.

    Past status

    John was still single in 1995.

    Jane was a movie star.

Note the usage of the past tense in the following story.

Yesterday Dr.Lee had a very rough day. In the morning, she went to the kitchen and looked in the cupboard for some food for her dog, but the cupboard was empty. Her poor dog stared up at her with its hungry eyes, and she knew she had to do something quickly. She hurried to the grocery store to buy some dog food, but unfortunately the store was out of her dog's favorite brand, so she had to catch a bus downtown. After buying the food, she waited for a half hour in the rain to get a taxi. When she finally got home, her dog was sound asleep on the living room sofa.

Common problems with the past tense

1. Using the present tense when the past tense is required.

    Last month, Lucy fix her neighbor's computer.

    Last month, Lucy fixed her neighbor's computer.



2. Using "was" with verbs in the past tense.

    It was happened one night in September.

    It happened one night in September.




Change the verbs in the following sentence into past tense.

1. Yesterday, I go to the restaurant with a client.

2. We drive around the parking lot for 20 minutes in order to find a parking space.

3. When we arrive at the restaurant, the place is full.

4. The waitress asks us if we have reservations.

5. I say, "No, my secretary forgets to make them."

6. The waitress tells us to come back in two hours.

7. My client and I slowly walk back to the car.

8. Then we see a small grocery store.

9. We stop in the grocery store and buy some sandwiches.

10. That is better than waiting for two hours.

Correct the mistakes in the following sentences:

1. Last week, Tony have pizza for supper.

2. My pet dog was died last month.

3. Last night I spend five hours cleaning my living room.

4. This morning before coming to class, Tom eats two bowls of cereal.

5. What was happened to your hand?

For Conversation practice :

Speaking Situations : Talking about past actions

Past Tense in (Written) Context : Sample Past Tense