Past Simple Tense

Past Simple Tense

We use past simple tense to;

  • talk about people and situations in the past,
  • often emphasize dates and times in the past,
  • talk about a single finished action in the past,
  • talk about repeated action in the past,
  • describe when one thing happens after another in the past,
  • talk about a situation finished in the past.

Grammar rule for past simpe tense is as followings;

Positive Sentences: Subject + was/were + complement     or      Subject + Verb(2) + complement

Negative Sentences: Subject + was/were + not + complement     or     Subject + didn’t + Verb(1) + complement

Question Sentences: Was/were + subject + complement    or     Question Words (what, etc.) + did + subject +Verb(1) + complement


  • She was Russian. / They were there. / I went to school.
  • He wasn’t Italian. / We weren’t there / They didn’t arrive.
  • Was it a dog? / Were they there? / How much was it? / What did you do?

Note 1: We use “was” for he/she/it, and “were” for we/you/they.

Example: He was born in Ankara. / They were students.

Note 2: Time expressions such as yesterday, in 2009, last week, one month ago, etc are often used to emphasize when something happened.

Example: The school started one month ago.

Note 3: It is also possible to use “when + past simple tense”

Example: My mother played piano when she was young.

Note 4: In addition, “then” is used to say that one action happened after another one.

Example: He finished high school in 2012. Then he went to university.

Note 5: Also, “from…” is used to describe the beginning and end of a past situation.

Example: Atatürk lived from 1881 to 1938.

Note 6: In order to say how long a past situation lasted, “for ten minutes, a month, etc.” is used.

Example: She stayed in Los Angeles for three weeks last winter.




english simple present tense exercises grammar usage


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