The Past Simple Tense

Also called the simple past tense.

It’s similar to the present simple because it has different rules for the verb ‘be’, which becomes ‘was’ or ‘were’:


Past Simple


The Past Simple with ‘be’

Here’s how to make the positive:

Positive with ‘be’

I was cold
you were tired
he was in the garden
she was late
it was sunny
we were on holiday
they were hungry

To make the negative with ‘be’, just add ‘not’:

Negative with ‘be’                          Negative Short Form

I was not sleepy                                 I wasn’t sleepy
you were not on the bus                you weren’t on the bus
he was not at school                       he wasn’t at school
she was not beautiful                     she wasn’t beautiful
it was not cold                                    it wasn’t cold
we were not at work                        we weren’t at work
they were not tired                            they weren’t tired

To make a question, just like the present simple, we change the position of ‘was / were’ and the subject.
Here are the past simple ‘yes / no’ questions with ‘be’:

‘Yes / No’ Questions with ‘Be’

was I sleepy?
were you late?
was he at the cinema?
was she kind?
was it hot?
were we hungry?
were they at work?


And the ‘wh’ questions with ‘be’ (the question word just goes at the beginning, everything else is the same):

‘Wh’ Questions with ‘Be’

why was I sleepy?
where were you?
when was he at the cinema?
how was she?
how was it?
why were we hungry?
when were they at work?

The Past Simple (Simple Past) with Other Verbs

We make the past simple just like the present simple except we use ‘did’ instead of ‘do / does’. It’s really easy because ‘did’ doesn’t change, even with ‘he / she / it’.


The positive:

We usually make the positive by adding ‘-ed’ to the infinitive. For example, ‘play’ becomes ‘played’. However, there are some irregular verbs, for example ‘go’ becomes ‘went’ and ‘run’ becomes ‘ran’.


Positive with Other Verbs


I walked (regular)
you played (regular)
he cooked (regular)
she listened (regular)
it rained (regular)
we ate (irregular)
they drank (irregular)

In the negative there aren’t any irregular verbs. All verbs use ‘did not (didn’t) + infinitive’:

Negative                                             Negative Short Form

I did not walk                                            I didn’t walk
you did not play                                       you didn’t play
he did not cook                                        he didn’t cook
she did not listen                                     she didn’t listen
it did not rain                                            it didn’t rain
we did not eat                                          we didn’t eat
they did not drink                                    they didn’t drink


Questions are also very easy. Just put ‘did’ before the subject, and the infinitive after it.

Here are the ‘yes / no’ questions:

‘Yes / No’ Questions

did I walk?
did you play?
did he cook?
did she listen?
did it rain?
did we eat?
did they drink?

To make a ‘wh’ question, of course, put the question word at the beginning of the sentence:

Wh’ Questions

where did I go?
what did you play?
what did he cook?
why did she listen?
when did it rain?
where did we eat?
how did they travel?

Seguro que ahora tienes un poco más claro, cómo se construye el pasado simple. Pero si te ha quedado alguna duda o necesitas un título oficial que acredite tus conocimientos de Inglés, puedes acudir a cualquier centro Walton Palmer y estaremos encantados de ayudarte.



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