Verb tenses: past simple


I walked to work yesterday. - Eu andei para o trabalho ontem.


  • Regular verbs add -ed (e.g. want - wanted, love - loved, shout - shouted)
  • Irregular verbs are numerous and varied (e.g. buy-bought, fall-fell).
  • Questions require did:
    • When did you return to Brazil?
    • Did she go on holiday last year?
  • Negative phrases use didn’t or did not:
    • They didn’t go to Rio de Janeiro last month.
    • I didn’t see you last night.


  • to describe actions and states that occurred during a time period that finished in the past (e.g. yesterday, last year, in 1999).
    • He returned to Brazil last year.
  • to describe actions that happened regularly in the past.
    • We walked to school every day last week, but this week we are driving.

Note: the past simple is also used in conditional structures and phrases to sound more polite/formal (e.g. Did you want to have a meeting with me now?).

Further learning
Description Author Language
List of the 50 most common irregular verbs
How to construct and when to use the past simple. EF English


This grammar section includes materials sourced from the following: Linguapress,