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Simple Past Tense Definition and Examples

Simple past tense talks about an action which is started and finished at a specific time in the past.

Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time but they do have specific time in mind.

Structure Of Sentence

Positive: (Subject + 2nd form of verb+ Object)

  • I saw a movie yesterday.

Negative: (Subject + Did not + 1st from of verb + Object)

  • I didn’t see a move yesterday.

Interrogative: (Did + Subject + 1st from of verb + Object + ?)

  • Did I see a movie yesterday?
  • Did you have dinner last night?
  • She washed her car.
  • He didn’t wash his car.

More uses of simple past tense

A Series of Completed Actions

The Simple Past tense talks about series of completed actions in the past. These actions happened 1st, 2nd , 3rd, and so on.

  • I finished work, walked to the beach and found a nice place to swim.

Duration in Past
The Simple Past can be used with a duration which started and stopped in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year etc.

  • I lived in Quetta for two years.

Habits in the Past
The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as “used to.” To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.

  • I studied French when I was a child.

Past Facts or Generalizations
The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. This use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression “used to.”

  • She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.

Also Read:

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1 comment

carve December 5, 2022 at 2:54 am

wonderful explanation. The use of simple past tense is really defined well keep continuing.


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