Making Past Tense

To make the simple past tense, we use:

  • past form only
    or
  • auxiliary did + base form

Here you can see examples of the past form and base form for irregular verbs and regular verbs:

V1
base
V2
past
V3
past participle
regular verb work
explode
like
worked
exploded
liked
worked
exploded
liked
The past form for all regular verbs ends in -ed.
irregular verb go
see
sing
went
saw
sang
gone
seen
sung
The past form for irregular verbs is variable. You need to learn it by heart.
You do not need the past participle form to make the simple past tense. It is shown here for completeness only.

The structure for positive sentences in the simple past tense is:

subject + main verb
past

The structure for negative sentences in the simple past tense is:

subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb
did base

The structure for question sentences in the simple past tense is:

auxiliary verb + subject + main verb
did base

The auxiliary verb did is not conjugated. It is the same for all persons (I did, you did, he did etc). And the base form and past form do not change. Look at these examples with the main verbs go and work:

subject auxiliary verb main verb
+ I went to school.
You worked very hard.
She did not go with me.
We did not work yesterday.
? Did you go to London?
Did they work at home?

Exception! The verb to be is different. We conjugate the verb to be (I was, you were, he/she/it was, we were, they were); and we do not use an auxiliary for negative and question sentences. To make a question, we exchange the subject and verb. Look at these examples:

subject main verb
+ I, he/she/it was here.
You, we, they were in London.
I, he/she/it was not there.
You, we, they were not happy.
? Was I, he/she/it right?
Were you, we, they late?

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