Past Simple use

Grammar explanations Past Simple diagram
Past Simple forms
Past Simple use
Past Simple spelling
Past Simple signal words
Past Simple pronunciation
Exercises Past Simple

Simple Past Tense is used when we refer to the following situations:


1. When we are talking about the past action when the time is given.

I watched TV last night.
He came back home at three.
He stopped smoking three years ago.
I saw him yesterday.

2. It is used for the past action when the time is asked.

When did you come back home?
When did you see her?
When did you do it?
When did they arrive?

3. When we are talking about situations which happened in the past without identifying their time.

Who gave you these lovely flowers?
The train was late again.
I lived in London for four years.

4. When we are talking about situations which happened in the past and they happened one after another.

She got up, put on her coat and left without a word.

5. When we use Conditional Sentences.

If he got a lot of money, he'd spend it immediately.

6. When we want to make our utterance sound more polite.

I wondered if you could do me a favour.
I thought you might need some money.

7. When we use specific expressions e.g. I wish, if only, it's time. In such expressions Simple Past Tense can refer to the present or to the future.

I wish I knew the answer to this question.
It's time we went home.

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