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Simple Past
FORM
[VERB+ed] or irregular verbs
Examples:

* You called Debbie.
* Did you call Debbie?
* You did not call Debbie.

Complete List of Simple Past Forms
USE 1 Completed Action in the Past

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.
Examples:

* I saw a movie yesterday.
* I didn't see a play yesterday.
* Last year, I traveled to Japan.
* Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.
* Did you have dinner last night?
* She washed her car.
* He didn't wash his car.

USE 2 A Series of Completed Actions

We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.
Examples:

* I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.
* He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.
* Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

USE 3 Duration in Past

The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.
Examples:

* I lived in Brazil for two years.
* Shauna studied Japanese for five years.
* They sat at the beach all day.
* They did not stay at the party the entire time.
* We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.
* A: How long did you wait for them?
B: We waited for one hour.

USE 4 Habits in the Past

The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.
Examples:

* I studied French when I was a child.
* He played the violin.
* He didn't play the piano.
* Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?
* She worked at the movie theater after school.
* They never went to school, they always skipped class.

USE 5 Past Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. As in USE 4 above, this use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression "used to."
Examples:

* She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.
* He didn't like tomatoes before.
* Did you live in Texas when you were a kid?
* People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

IMPORTANT When-Clauses Happen First
Clauses are groups of words which have meaning but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word "when" such as "when I dropped my pen..." or "when class began..." These clauses are called when-clauses, and they are very important. The examples below contain when-clauses.
Examples:

* When I paid her one dollar, she answered my question.
* She answered my question when I paid her one dollar.

When-clauses are important because they always happen first when both clauses are in the Simple Past. Both of the examples above mean the same thing: first, I paid her one dollar, and then, she answered my question. It is not important whether "when I paid her one dollar" is at the beginning of the sentence or at the end of the sentence. However, the example below has a different meaning. First, she answered my question, and then, I paid her one dollar.
Example:

* I paid her one dollar when she answered my question.

ADVERB PLACEMENT
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
Examples:

* You just called Debbie.
* Did you just call Debbie?

ACTIVE / PASSIVE
Examples:

* Tom repaired the car. Active
* The car was repaired by Tom. Passive

More About Active / Passive Forms
EXERCISES AND RELATED TOPICS

* Verb Tense Exercise 3 Simple Past and Past Continuous
* Verb Tense Exercise 4 Simple Past and Past Continuous
* Verb Tense Exercise 5 Simple Past and Present Perfect
* Verb Tense Exercise 6 Simple Past and Present Perfect
* Verb Tense Exercise 11 Simple Past and Past Perfect
* Verb Tense Exercise 12 Simple Past, Present Perfect, and Past Perfect
* Verb Tense Exercise 15 Tenses with durations
* Verb Tense Exercise 16 Present and Past Tenses with Non-Continuous Verbs
* Verb Tense Exercise 17 Present and Past Tense Review
* Verb Tense Practice Test Cumulative Verb Tense Review
* Verb Tense Final Test Cumulative Verb Tense Review
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