Unit 11. Simple past. I did.

Study this example:

Tom: Look! It’s raining again.

Ann: Oh no, not again. It rained all day yesterday too.

Rained is the simple past tense. We use the simple past to talk about actions or situations in the past.

  • I enjoyed the party very much.

  • Mr. Brown died ten years ago.

  • When I lived in Athens, I worked in a bank.

    Very often the simple past ends in -ed:

  • We invited them to our party, but they decided not to come.

  • The police stopped me on my way home last night.

  • She passed her exam because she studied very hard.

    For spelling rules see Appendix 3.

    But many important verbs are irregular. This means that the simple past does not end in -ed:

    leave -> left We all left the party at 11:00.

    go -> went Last month I went to Rome to see a friend of mine.

    cost -> cost This house cost $75,000 in 1980.

    The past of the verb be (am/is/are) iswas/were:

    I/he/she/it was we/you/they were

    I was angry because Tom and Ann were late.

    For a list of irregular verbs see Appendix 2.

    In simple past questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + the base form (do/open, etc.):

    it rained did it rain? it didn’t rain

  • Ann: Did you go out last night, Tom?

    Tom: Yes, I went to the movies. But I didn’t enjoy it.

  • When did Mrs. Johnson die?

  • What did you do over the weekend?

  • We didn’t invite her to the party, so she didn’t come.

  • Why didn’t you call me on Tuesday? Note that we normally use did/didn’t with have:

  • Did you have time to write the letter?

  • I didn’t have enough money to buy anything to eat. But we do not use did with the verb be (was/were):

  • Why were you so angry?

  • Was Mark at work yesterday?

  • They weren’t able to come because they were very busy.

    For the simple past see also Units 12, 19, and 20.

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