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

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.


Language level: 


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


shamim's picture
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Ken's picture
Ken 4 July, 2015 - 13:25

I like Grammar Snack, it's fun and helpful! Very good job!
(๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و !
Today, I hit the gym after school.

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imadabad's picture
imadabad 19 March, 2015 - 14:54

Thank you very much this web site is very important for me . one day I can speak English same my friends then no one can laugh me

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milliemoller's picture
milliemoller 26 December, 2014 - 07:36

I am very confused about tenses.
what is the difference between has arrived and have arrived?

I really need someone favor to explain this to me. Thank you :)

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 26 December, 2014 - 10:15

Hi millimoller,
Has arrived and have arrived are examples of the present perfect tense. Watch this video to learn more about the present perfect:  We use 'has' when it's he/she/it and 'have' when it's I/you/we/they.
I hope this helps. Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team).

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Diego_Lollo123's picture
Diego_Lollo123 9 December, 2014 - 13:32

This video was very good.
Yetserday I woke up at 11 a.m. I played with the ps3. After I ate with my father and I played guitar. I do my homeworks for 4 hours. I went to my mum's ice cream shop and I ate a fantastic ice cream. I came home and I ate rice with my family. I slept 8 hours and today is my birthday!

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 9 September, 2014 - 08:25

Sorry, but you can't download these videos. :(
From your user name I guess that you may be a teacher. If that is the case, you shouldn't have registered on LearnEnglish Teens because it's for 13-17 year olds. You can still access all the material without being a registered user. 
With best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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Taioor's picture
Taioor 19 August, 2014 - 12:20

I love all grammar snack videos, i have seen so far. Yesterday i studied English, IT and Maths.I tried my new fries recipe. My father and sister liked it alot. Thanks a lot" learnenglishteens"for these wonderful grammar videos. They make it so easy to understand grammar.

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Tina - Coordinator's picture
Tina - Coordinator 19 August, 2014 - 13:51

Hi Taioor!
Thanks for your lovely comment! We are really glad that you are enjoying, and learning from these videos.
Tina ( LearnEnglish Teen Team)

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nguyenvuhau's picture
nguyenvuhau 22 May, 2014 - 05:28

This grammar snack is useful to strengthen my knowledge. I'm trying to learn a lesson everyday.
Yesterday, I came home after work at 6:30. After taking a bath, I had a big breakfast with read and omelet the drank a cup of milk. After then , I went to bed until 12 because my sister waked me up to have lunch....

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 22 May, 2014 - 07:12

Hi nguyenvuhau! A lesson every day sounds like a great idea. Good luck with it and please keep on writing comments to practise what you are learning. :)

So, you have a job? Are you going to school too?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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Nerminka's picture
Nerminka 5 February, 2014 - 19:51

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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horse2002's picture
horse2002 22 December, 2013 - 12:00

Poor Alfie! He didn't pass his driving test for the second time in a morning (Ahahaha).
But I like Grammar Snacks very much! They are very useful.

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AnaB's picture
AnaB 18 November, 2013 - 18:34

Yes, I really liked this grammar snack. It helpped me a lot.
Well, frist I geted out of my bed, than I had breakfest, and after that I took the book in my hands. I studied a lot. When i finished I get out, to take a fresh air. Than my friedns called me, and I decided to go out with them. I called my parents, I told them that I wanna go out, Than I met my friends. After a few houres, a came home really exhausted. i even didn't notice, I fell asleep.

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