Simple Past Forms

Most Verbs

Most verbs conjugate by adding -ed like the verb "wait" below.

Positive Negative Question
waited. did not wait. Did I wait?
You waited. You did not wait. Did you wait?
We waited. We did not wait. Did we wait?
They waited. They did not wait. Did they wait?
He waited. He did not wait. Did he wait?
She waited. She did not wait. Did she wait?
It waited. It did not wait. Did it wait?

Irregular Verbs

Many verbs, such as "have," take irregular forms in the simple past. Notice that you only use the irregular verbs in statements. In negative forms and questions, "did" indicates simple past. To learn more about irregular verbs, visit Englishpage.com's Irregular Verb Dictionary. You can also use Englishpage.com's Online Irregular Verb Flashcards to memorize irregular verb forms.

Positive Negative Question
had. did not have. Did I have?
You had. You did not have. Did you have?
We had. We did not have. Did we have?
They had. They did not have. Did they have?
He had. He did not have. Did he have?
She had. She did not have. Did she have?
It had. It did not have. Did it have?

To Be

The verb "be" is also irregular in the simple past. Unlike other irregular verbs, there are two simple past forms: "was" and "were." It also has different question forms and negative forms. Always remember that you DO NOT use "did" with the verb "be" in the simple past.

Positive Negative Question
was. was not. Was I?
You were. You were not. Were you?
We were. We were not. Were we?
They were. They were not. Were they?
He was. He was not. Was he?
She was. She was not. Was she?
It was. It was not. Was it?

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs behave very strangely in the simple past. The most important verb to remember is "must." Notice how it becomes "had to" in the simple past.

"Must" becomes "had to":

  • I must call my wife now.
  • I had to call my wife yesterday.
To learn more about modal verbs and how they change in the past, visit Englishpage.com's Modal Verb Tutorial.
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