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THE SIMPLE PAST TENSE

*REGULAR VERBS: the simple past tense of regular verbs is formed by adding –ed
to the infinitive of the verb.

*PRONOUNCIATION
[t]
look, walk, watch, talk, finish, wash, thank, ask, cook, help, stop.
[d]
play, love, open, follow, arrive, rain, enter, snow, learn, welcome, clean.
[id]
want, start, wait, visit, decide, include, hand, guide, greet, attend, land.

*IRREGULAR VERBS: usually change their base form (the infinitive) to make the
past tense. They must be memorized.

*WORD ORDER in positive sentences is: SUBJECT, PREDICATE, DIRECT


OBJECT, ADVERBIAL OF MANNER.
E.g. Mother fed the baby lovingly.
The police officer arrested the burglar quickly

*USES
USES EXAMPLES
1. Actions completed at a definite time in At dinner time, the children rang the
the past [with: last night, yesterday, a doorbell.
week ago, etc.]
2. Actions extending over a longer period For several years, the man worked on a
of time before they were completed special machine in his attic.
[with: for a month, for a long time, etc]
3. Sequences of actions in the past, e.g. Snow White was alone in the deep
narratives, reports of methods and woods. She walked and walked; she
processes, TV commentaries, etc crossed a small bridge and came to a
small house.
4. Characteristic actions in the past. Once there was a man who lived in
America. He invented things.
5. Habitual, repetitive actions in the past When I was in college, I never studied on
[with: always, often, usually, seldom, Saturdays. I often read science-fiction
never, every day, in the morning, etc.] stories on the weekends.
6. In indirect speech, as a past equivalent The man told the reporter that he liked to
of the simple present after a reporting do experiments.
verb (say, tell, ask) in a past tense.
*DETAILS ABOUT COMPLETED PAST EVENTS
DETAILS ABOUT PST EVENTS EXAMPLES
1. the time, place or other details about The phone rang as soon as I got home.
the past event are given. I ran into Cathy at the supermarket.
I won the race because I was motivated.
2. the time, place or other details are “When did you read Tom Sawyer?”
asked about. “I read it ten years ago.”
“Who told you about the book?”
“My brother.”
3. the time, place, or other details about “Have you found your keys yet?”
the event become definite following a “Yes, I have.”
question and answer in the present perfect “Where were they?”
tense. “In my handbag.”
4. the event clearly occurred at a definite The train was five minutes late.
time in the past event if the time is not
mentioned.
5. there is a sequence of completed past Bill asked me out last night. We went and
events (narrative use) saw a movie. Then we had dinner at a
Chinese restaurant.

*HABITUAL, REPETITIVE ACTIONS IN THE PAST


AHBITUAL, REPETITIVE ACTIONS EXAMPLES
IN THE PAST
1.Simple past tense – habitual, repetitive Walt Disney’s daughters rode bikes on the
actions in the past, often with: always, studio lots on the weekends – while Walt
usually, never, etc [neutral] worked.
2. Used to + verb – a past habit or state, Since Walt spared no expense to make his
an action or state characterizing a person picture better, we used to have arguments
or thing in the past [contrasted to the over finances.
present]
3. Would + verb – habitual, repetitive Whenever an employee didn’t work out
actions in the past, often with: whenever in one job, Walt would try to find a job
or every time [not necessarily a contrast for which the person was better suited.
to the present]