Speak About:



Past to Present


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


We received the statement of deferred revenue last week.

Wal-mart did not have the item I wanted.

Sam didn't sign the card holder agreement.

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

Positive Form:

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

The auditors office asked the branch manager to take into consideration other policy applications.

Negative Form:

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

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

Question Form:

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

Was the IRA base rate different than last month?

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


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

I got my deferred revenue payment two years ago.

The title company took their audit five months ago.

We received the statement of deferred revenue last week.