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Grammar Terms
FCE practice

Learn about the Past Simple


The past simple has three main uses:

past simple picturePast states - a feeling (not an action) in the past.

I loved him.

Single past events - often when you are telling the main events of a story.

I walked home, then I watched TV.

Past habits - actions repeated often, sometimes, every week/day ...

I walked home from work every day.

Good news! The past simple is the same for I, you, he, ... There's no excuse for getting it wrong!

verb+eddidn't + verbdid + (he) + verb
You washed your dog.You didn't wash your dog.Did you wash your dog?

Bad news! The past simple has lots of irregular forms which you must learn. And the pronunciation is quite difficult too! So I guess it's OK if you make some mistakes.

Advanced uses of Past Simple

With 'I wish' or 'if only' and similar expressions.

I wish I lived with George Clooney.

This now, not the past, but it is not real! We use the past simple with 'I wish' or 'if' to show that we are imagining something. Look at the conditionals grammar lessons for more information about this.

(The teacher played online poker for 3 hours today! Bad teacher!)

Past Simple practice

Next Lesson: Present Continuous