Past simple – regular verbs

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


As you watch the video, look at the examples of regular past simple verbs. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, regular past simple verbs correctly.


Oliver: So, how did it go? Did you pass?
Alfie: No, I failed ... again!
Oliver: I don’t believe it! How did you fail again? What happened this time?
Alfie: You won’t believe it!
Oliver: No? No way, Alfie, not the same as last time?
Alfie: Yep.
Oliver: No way! Not another cat?
Alfie: I know! I’m in shock! I love cats!
Oliver: So, what happened? 
Alfie: Well, I stopped at a zebra crossing to let an old man cross the road. No problem there. He walked across the road so I started to drive. Just then a cat appeared from nowhere!
Oliver: Did you hit it?
Alfie: I did. It was impossible to stop.
Oliver: I don’t believe you, Alfie. You’re joking, aren’t you? You didn’t fail, did you? Nobody can kill two cats on two driving tests! 
Alfie: What can I say? I know - it’s totally crazy. The owner of the cat arrived ... 
Oliver: Oh no ... and?
Alfie: Well, he said it wasn’t my fault, the cat escaped from the garden ... the driving instructor agreed too. So, we carried on with the test, but I was too nervous and I crossed a red traffic light.
Oliver: Poor you, mate! Do you want to come over?
Alfie: Yeah, OK. See you in five minutes.

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

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

stop stopped

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

try tried

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

play played

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.



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

Average: 3.6 (28 votes)
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Submitted by ALAIN on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:37

yesterday i come to college and learn grammar

Submitted by Abdulla on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:35

yesterday I went to college, then I went to my home , I ate my launch, I watched movie during the...

Submitted by majed on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:35

yesterday iI went to college, then I went to my home , I ate my launch, I watched movie during the...

Submitted by saiff on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:32

Yesterday, I went to the college to study. When I finished the class I went to my home. I watched move until 6:00 pm.

Submitted by Aguero on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:31

Yesterday, i woke up at 8:00 to have a class about english communication, with my teacher,we studied about some past words and how to talk with it,after that we finished at 10:00am then i went to MacDonald's to take my breakfast, then that i came back to my house tired but happy.

Submitted by salemalshamsi99 on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:30

Yesterday I went to H.C.T. at 11:00. I was leaved at 2:00, after that I went to restaurant to eat lunch with my friend. My father called my to come early because he want me to take him to super market.

Submitted by OmarMohsen on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:24

I played video game with my brother.

Submitted by r2r6 on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:16

Last day i was studying english than we went to home i slept for two hours then i start playing on my phone.

Submitted by i55t on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 05:28

yesterday I went to college, then I went to my home , I ate my launch, I watched movie during the day and finally I went to bed.

Submitted by vp1j on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 05:26

Yesterday i went to the college to study when i finished the class i went to my home and i slept over until 7:00 pm.

Submitted by H00365856 on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 05:25

I didn't do anything.

Submitted by carss on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:26

Hi there.. Yesterday I finished my class and I want to home

In reply to by H00365856

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Submitted by empty on Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:32

Yesterday was a terrible day for me . I slept until 10.30 AM so I didn't realized my hamsters were killing each other! Fortunately , Both of them survived the fight . Then , I drank some orange juice for breakfast . And I went to bed at 11.00 PM.
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Submitted by Youjiro on Thu, 01/31/2019 - 13:32

I love this class .This is very helpful . I use learning grammar . yesterday I went to shopping to buy a daily items such as chopstick ,hanger,cup,and soap. On my way I stuck in heavy rain .It was strong wind .I forget umbrella in my house .I was disappointed for that.I got in the rain on my way .I alive at the store ,I bought umbrella and daily items. Return to the house rain was stopped .I thought I spend waste of money.

Submitted by Vivian8899 on Sat, 11/03/2018 - 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?

Submitted by editor_rachael on Sat, 11/03/2018 - 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!


LearnEnglish Teens team

In reply to by Vivian8899

Submitted by Vivian8899 on Sun, 11/04/2018 - 05:19

Thank you very much. i got it

In reply to by editor_rachael

Submitted by Sha99 on Fri, 06/29/2018 - 10:03

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.

Submitted by Pippatwo on Tue, 06/19/2018 - 13:45

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

Submitted by G123M on Sat, 06/02/2018 - 12:12

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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Submitted by Tina - Coordinator on Sun, 06/03/2018 - 11:32

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:
Best wishes and good luck with your studies!
Tina, (LearnEnglishTeens Team)

In reply to by G123M

Submitted by cat28 on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:34

Yesterday my friend came to visit me and I made an indian curry.
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