Past Simple tense (Indefinite)

Past Simple tense is also called past indefinite tense, used for the actions started in the past and is already completed. For example, past Indefinite tense is used to tell stories. In this article, we’ll explain how sentences are formed in Past indefinite tense. 

Uses of Simple Past Indefinite Tense:

There are basically three ways in which the Simple Past tense is used.

  1. Action ended in the past
    I visited my friend last month.
  2. A series of actions in the past
    We came home, then we watched TV.
  3. Simple Past combined with Present Progressive
    We were watching TV when he called.

In the last example, ” were watching TV ” describes the first action in Present Progressive , while ” when he called ” in Simple Past is the second action.

Past Simple Tense formula:

In the formation of the Simple Past tense, 2nd form of the verb is used. Regular verbs are formed with the infinitive (basic form of the verb) and the ending ” ed” ,

Example: walk__walked, turn__turned, play__played

irregular verbs like ” go”, “be” and “write” one uses the 2nd column of the irregular verbs .

Example: go___ went, write__wrote 

Examples: Affirmative sentences in Simple Past Tense


SUB + VERB 2nd Form+OBJ

  • I ate an apple.
  • We played soccer.
  • He wrote a letter..
  • She went home
  • They visited Karachi.

Examples: Negative sentences in simple Past Tense:

Sub+did+not+Verb 1st form+ object:

  • I did not write a letter.
  • He did not eat an apple.
  • She did not come.
  • They did not visit Karachi.

Examples: Interrogative sentences in Simple Past tense/ past indefinite tense:

Did+Sub+ Verb 1st form+ objective

  • Did I write a letter?
  • Did She come?
  • Did He eat an apple?
  • Did they visited Karachi?

In contrast to affirmative statements, there is no difference between regular and irregular verbs in negative statements. Auxiliary verb ” did ” is used before the infinitive of the verb.

Like negative sentences, questions in Simple Past are formed with the auxiliary verb ” did ” before the infinitive of the verb.

Signal words in Simple Past

Sometimes there may be problems in determining the right tense. Signal words can help. With Simple Past, signal words are specific times and express an action that has already been completed in the past. Common signal words are:

  • last month 
  • yesterday
  • a year ago 
  • in April 
  • two days before 
past simple tense
Past simple tense

Past Simple Tense Exercise:

[streamquiz id=”19″]