Alfie took his driving test for the second time this morning. Did he pass?

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The past simple is the most common way of talking about past events or states which have finished. It is often used with past time references (e.g. yesterday, two years ago).

Please explain past events or states!

A past event could be one thing that happened in the past, or a repeated thing.

I stopped at a zebra crossing.
We carried on with the test.
We played tennis every day in August.

A state is a situation without an action happening.

We stayed at my grandparents' house last summer.

How do you form the past simple?

Regular past simple forms are formed by adding -ed to the infinitive of the verb.

start started
kill killed
jump jumped

That seems easy!  

Yes, but there are some spelling rules. If a verb ends in -e, you add -d.

agree agreed
like
liked
escape
escaped

If a verb ends in a vowel and a consonant, the consonant is usually doubled before -ed.

stop stopped
plan
planned

If a verb ends in consonant and -y, you take off the y and add -ied.

try tried
carry
carried        

But if the word ends in a vowel and -y, you add -ed.

play played
enjoy
enjoyed

OK, not quite so easy! But the past simple form doesn't change at all for I, you, he, she, we and they, does it?

No, the form doesn't change. See, it is easy!

What about the pronunciation of the -ed ending?

There are three kinds of pronunciation: /d/, /t/ and /ɪd/. Look at the table below.

/d/ /t/ /ɪd/
arrived asked wanted
failed crossed decided
agreed stopped started

Aaagh! How do I know how to pronounce each one?

Good question. Well, really all you need to know is that /d/ is easier to say after arrive, and /t/ is easier to say after ask. For /ɪd/, the infinitive ends in a /d/ or a /t/ sound already so you must add an extra syllable for these verbs.

All right, that makes sense, but how do you form questions and negatives?

With the verb did (do in the past) + the infinitive.

Did you pass?
You didn't fail, did you?
Yes, I did. / No, I didn't.

Right, thanks, I've got it now!

Good. But you also need to learn the irregular past simple forms.

You mean there are verbs that don't end in -ed in the past?

Yes, they don't all end in -ed. Have a look at the past simple irregular verbs too.

 

Total votes: 631
Language level: 

Discussion

Did you like this grammar snack? What did you do yesterday? Tell us about your day.

Comments

Vivian8899's picture
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Vivian8899 3 November, 2018 - 01:25

He didn’t drive fast when the accident happened.
He wasnt’t drive fast when the accident ( correct) happened.
Are they both past simple?
Why do we use “wasn’t in here?

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editor_rachael's picture
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editor_rachael 3 November, 2018 - 16:24

Hi Vivian8899,

 

Good question! He didn't drive is the past simple. He wasn't driving is the past continuous. 

 

In your example, we would usually say He wasn't driving fast when the accident happened. This is because we often use the past simple and the past continuous together when one action 'interrupts' another one. In this case, the accident 'interrupted' the driving. 

 

Hope that helps!

 

Rachael
LearnEnglish Teens team

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Sha99's picture
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Sha99 29 June, 2018 - 11:03

Yes I like this grammar class
Yesterday was a rainy day .I couldn't go anywhere outside. I took a picture in my mobile of outside of my house that filled with water.Some people were walking in the water,it was very difficult for them to move. And I watched a good film with my family.

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Pippatwo's picture
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Pippatwo 19 June, 2018 - 14:45

Yesterday I worked out, then took a nap and then did chores around the house. Then I practiced for a play.

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G123M's picture
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G123M 2 June, 2018 - 13:12

My name is Ghali. I am from Morocco. I live in Rabat. I go to the gym very often. I help my mom in the kitchen. I play games in my.
my name was GHALI. I WAS from MOROCCO .I LIVED IN RABAT .I STUDIED I WENT
I helped I played

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Tina - Coordinator's picture
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Tina - Coordinator 3 June, 2018 - 12:32

Hi G123M,
Thanks for your comments on LearnEnglish Teens. You mentioned that you are eleven years old. I'm sorry to tell you that the Teens site is for students from 13 to 17 years old, so we can't publish any more of your comments.
But do you know LearnEnglish Kids? This is the site for students of your age group and you can join and comment there. The address is: www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglishkids.
Best wishes and good luck with your studies!
Tina, (LearnEnglishTeens Team)

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May20's picture
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May20 11 November, 2017 - 04:02

of course, yesterday I had class in university of 8am to 1pm, at 1pm I ate in dining room, I picked up to friend in door 3 of the university, I speaked with my friend, I played with my friend in the gree areas, I ate in house, I bathed in the night and I sleeped at 11pm

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agatha's picture
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agatha 3 February, 2017 - 09:35

Of course i love grammar snack videos,Yesterday i prepared for worshiping and i went to home at 4 o'clock,then i didn't go to the english course because it was late.When i arrived at home and i slept because i very tired and sleepy,then i did my homework at my bedroom,and i watched tv.It was so tirering day.

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pparedes984's picture
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pparedes984 3 January, 2017 - 03:52

Yesterday i woke up very late beacuse the party of the saturday was very good. after I woke up i had breakfast with my family then i slpet for another hour and after that I ate the food that we have for the party and then i visisted my girlfriend and ew had a really good time

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104 users have voted.
VShirleyCh's picture
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VShirleyCh 2 January, 2017 - 15:47

I do not really like the grammar of any language, so I do not really enjoy doing this. Yesterday was a quiet day, a little tired for the new year, arranging the house of the family reunion of year end, watching movies in bed, in the afternoon we went out to play basketball with my family, then we took a tea and we went to Sleep, we were all a little tired but happy for the new year.
Happy new year 2017 to everyone!

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95 users have voted.
EriD's picture
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EriD 8 November, 2016 - 01:07

I really like this grammer video. I think it is good for me.
I went to hike yesterday. I had great time.

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123 users have voted.
EMANUEL's picture
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EMANUEL 23 August, 2016 - 20:49

It was easier to learn new words for me after I divided them into groups, how they are formed, they are formed with some rules and after I classify them it became easier to learn. I had nothing different yesterday, I had an ordunnary day

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NallelyPineda_69's picture
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NallelyPineda_69 23 August, 2016 - 20:48

yesterday, i went to school ,then i went to my house , i ate, i did homework during the day and finally i went to bed

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shamim's picture
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shamim 4 August, 2016 - 19:39

yesterday I had a workshop at school, that workshop started at 8 a.m and finished at 4 p.m...we ate lunch at 1 p.m...there were 32 students in the workshop, we built 8 teams and there were 4 students in any team...we worked together and learnt about teamwork...

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gonzaloJC's picture
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gonzaloJC 5 July, 2016 - 23:13

This video is very great as presents and explains the simple past and apply it as

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FressherJTD's picture
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FressherJTD 1 April, 2016 - 11:44

Yesterday was the opposite! It was a very fun day and everything was going right.

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113 users have voted.
FressherJTD's picture
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FressherJTD 1 April, 2016 - 11:42

I love this grammar snack! :D But my day was awful, i had to take my bird to the vet because her wound got worse and I'm very concerned about her. I also hurt my leg pretty bad at football today, now i can't play the next match. Also, school today wasn't fun. I could barely listen and I was really tired, the exercises didn't go to well at all and i got falsely accused of something and i got punishment for no reason, I'm too shy to walk up to the teacher and tell i didn't do it. I'm glad it's Friday though so i can sort things out in the weekend. Altough I feel pretty sad now. ):

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Mariamffa11's picture
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Mariamffa11 29 January, 2016 - 15:14

Yes, I like it, thanks! :)
I don't really remember what I did yesterday,and it probably wasn't much, so I will make something up. :D

Yesterday, I went to the park to hang out with my BFF. We had a lovely meal; it consisted of chicken curry, rice and curry, and peas. Then, we visited the Giza Pyramids and took photos there. Finally, we went home. We had a fantastic time! :)

Today, I ate Chinese food for lunch (spicy chicken meal) which I liked very much. That meal is one of my favourite.

The End :)

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 11 January, 2016 - 08:37

Hi shamin, I'm sorry but our grammar videos are not available for download.
Best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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shamim's picture
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shamim 10 January, 2016 - 19:37

Yesterday...I didn't go to school, wasn't a good feeling. my mum phoned to school and said to my teacher. I slept until 10 AM and then I went to hospital with my mum. my mum cooked mushroom soap for lunch, I drank a glass of orange juice. I phoned my friend from school and asked about our homework. I went to bed at 10 PM.

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DutchTessa's picture
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DutchTessa 28 October, 2015 - 20:29

Hello, I'm looking for the rules about when you use the past simple and when the past continuous.

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 29 October, 2015 - 08:45

Hi DutchTessa,
I'm afraid we haven't got anything on the past continuous yet but we would like to! Thanks for your comment. Meanwhile, have a look at these pages on LearnEnglish (our website for adults): past continuous and continuous aspect. See if that helps and please come back and tell us if it was useful! Best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish teens team)

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KingWolf99's picture
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KingWolf99 13 September, 2015 - 16:42

Yes I really like it. It was very helpful but... poor cats :(! Yesterday, I got up at 10 o clock, I had breakfast and then I went out, through the garden near my house, riding my bike. At 13.00, I had lunch and then I did my homework. I also studied portuguese. I do it for fun! After having dinner, I went to my best friend's party, in a disco. It was a great party. We drinked and danced for all the night. At 3.00 pm i went to bed. It was an happy day!

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