Forming the Simple Past, sometimes called the Preterite tense, is really pretty easy… at least for regular verbs. You take the subject, follow it with the verb ending in –ed and there you have it.

Example: Subject + verb + –ed I + play + ed I played

And, to make it easier, the Simple Past form is invariable – that means it doesn’t change no matter what subject you use. Let’s look at the verb ‘to play’, in the Simple Past it would look like this:

I played You played He, she, it played We played You played They played

A couple of things to watch out for:

  • Verbs ending in a consonant + y, like cry and try: drop the y and add ied.
  • Verbs ending in e like receive only need to have the ‘d’ added – received.

For the irregular verbs in English it is a bit more difficult and you will need to learn most of the most often used ones. There is a full list of irregular verbs with their past form on English4Today.

Now, before moving to the next video where we talk about when to use the Simple Past why don’t you try a couple of verbs your self. Just complete the sentence with the verb in the Simple Past:


STUDY —–> ?

They studied English in 2006 – notice that this is a verb that ends in a consonsant + y so we have dropped the y and added ed.

One more, PLAY—–> ?

Tim played golf when he was at university.

In Video Part 2 we will look at making the Interrogative and Negative of the Simple Past and then in Video Part 3 we will look at WHEN we use the Simple Past.

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