Simple Past
The simple past, sometimes called the preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

, is the past tense
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

 of Modern English
Modern English
Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, completed in roughly 1550.Despite some differences in vocabulary, texts from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, are considered to be in Modern...

. It is used to describe events in the past. It may combine with either or both of two aspects
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

, the perfect and the progressive. When the simple past is employed in the subjunctive mood, it is called the subjunctive imperfect.


If the base verb ends in /d/ or /t/, the regular past-tense ending -ed is pronounced /ɨd/; after all other unvoiced consonants it becomes /t/, and in all remaining cases (other voiced consonants and vowels) it is pronounced /d/.

Form: regular verbs

The simple past is formed by adding -ed to the end of an infinitive and removing the to, for example try becomes tried

Form: irregular verbs

All the irregular verb
Irregular verb
In contrast to regular verbs, irregular verbs are those verbs that fall outside the standard patterns of conjugation in the languages in which they occur. The idea of an irregular verb is important in second language acquisition, where the verb paradigms of a foreign language are learned...

s have different forms: to go becomes went, to buy becomes bought, to cut becomes cut, etc.
Pronoun Example verb
I stole (of to steal)
I saw (of to see)


One uses the simple past for actions or situations that one has completed in the past at a definite time.

The time can be given in the sentence:

I came home at 6 o'clock.

The time is asked about:

When did they get married?

One uses the past simple for repeated actions in the past.

We walked to school every day.

The past simple is used in stories to express actions that follow each other.

Charles entered the hall, looked around, took off his coat and put it on a chair.
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