In the Past
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?
Subject + past conjugation + (object(s)) + time expression
The auditors office asked the branch manager to take into consideration other policy applications.
Subject + did + not + verb + (object(s)) + time expression
Jennifer didn't check the date of issue last Friday.
(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
Example: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.