Simple Past - rules and examples

The Simple Past is a past tense used in the English language to talk about an action or event in the past. It is also called the preterite or simple past. It is one of the basic tenses that every English learner should know. In this article, we will look at the rules and examples of the Simple Past.

How is the Simple Past formed?

The Simple Past is formed by using the verb in its base form (infinitive) and then adding the prefix 'ed'. If the verb has an 'e' at the end, it is changed to '-d' or '-ed'. There are also some irregular verbs that have a different form.


  • play + ed = played
  • work + ed = worked


There are some irregular verbs in the Simple Past that have a different form. Examples of some of these irregular verbs are:

  • be = was/were
  • have = had
  • do (to do) = did
  • go (to go) = went


  • I went to the store.
  • I had a great time.
  • She did her homework.
  • We watched a movie.
  • They played a game.

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