Speak About:

Present

Past

Past to Present

Future

Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

In the Past

Past Simple

Use the past simple for activities which took place at a specified time in the past. This specific time is often stated through the use of a time expression such as 'ago'. However, the past simple is also used when the past time is understood from the context. All subjects take the same conjugation of the verb in the positive form. Negative and questions take the auxiliary verb 'did'. Regular verbs end in '-ed'.

visit - visited
want - wanted

Irregular verbs have various forms that must be memorized. There are often patterns that can be memorized, but there are no specific rules.

buy - bought
have - had

Example:

The board used the performance records to endorse Mike as the new CEO of our company.

Did they use pension funds for the exclusive purpose of financing pension plan benefits in this bank?

Jennifer didn't check the date of issue last Friday.

The company got a patent for its new product last week.

Positive Form:

Subject + past conjugation + (object(s)) + time expression

Kevin spent all day invoicing and didn't get to write the report.

Negative Form:

Subject + did + not + verb + (object(s)) + time expression

Sam didn't sign the card holder agreement.

Question Form:

(Question Word) + did + subject + verb + (object(s)) + time expression?

How long did it take to reach an agreement?

The past form of regular verbs ends in '-ed'. Irregular verbs must be studied individually. Here is a list of some of the most common irregular verbs.

Time Expressions Often Used in the Past

last - Use when speaking about the previous week, month or year

yesterday - Use when speaking about the previous day

ago - Use when speaking about X days, weeks, months, years before the present moment in time. 'Ago' always follows the number of days, weeks, months or years

in - Use when specifying years or months

when - Use in combination with another clause

Example:

What was the stock's value at market price last Friday?

We received the statement of deferred revenue last week.

The title company took their audit five months ago.

I got my deferred revenue payment two years ago.