THE SIMPLE PAST TENSE
The SIMPLE PAST TENSE in REGULAR VERBS is formed by adding -ED to the infinitive. Put the following verbs into the SIMPLE PAST. Pay attention to their pronunciation and spelling.
1.62. Fill in the blanks with appropriate regular verbs in the simple past tense. Choose from the lists above.
1. I...my hands and face ten minutes ago.
I washed my hands and face ten minutes ago.
2. It was hot yesterday and we... all the windows.
3. The boys...football last Sunday.
4. The baby was hungry and...all night.
5. Frank...a long time for the bus this morning.
6. The lesson was easy, but some pupils...a lot of questions.
7. Dan usually goes to work by bus, but yesterday he...
8. Emily was ill yesterday and...at home.
9. We..TV last night.
10. The little girl was tired, so her father...her.
11. I...my homework late last night.
12. Paula went into the kitchen and...her mother.
13. My parents...in
14. Simon opened the book and...at the pictures.
1.63.* Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past.
1. Edison (be) born in
2. He (be) not a good student when he (be) a young boy.
3. His mother (educate) him at home.
5. He often (have) accidents while he was making scientific experiments.
7. His inventions (include) the electric light, the phonograph, and the mimeograph machine.
1.64. IRREGULAR VERBS vary considerably in their simple past form and must therefore be learnt by heart
Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past.
1. I (hear the news on the radio this morning.
2. Mother (spread) the butter on the bread.
3. The old man (beat) the dog with a stick.
4. His carelessness (cost) him his life.
5. The pipes (burst) because of the cold.
6. The teacher (come) into the classroom and (shut) the door behind her.
7. I (forget) to post the letter yesterday.
8. Mr. Brad (hold) many important positions in his youth.
9. The Bartons (sell) their car last year.
10. They (pay) all their bills then.
11. I (find) a watch in the street the other day.
12. The strong wind (bend) the tree.
13. We (think) you (need) help. That's why we (ring) you up.
14. The boy (catch) a bad cold last week.
15. They (fight) a losing battle.
16. Last Saturday Mrs. Plumb (lend) her neighbour her vacuum cleaner.
17. My mother (teach) me how to sew last year.
18. I (see) a good film last night.
19. The clerk (bring) his lunch with him yesterday.
20. The cleaning woman (sweep) the dirt under the rug.
21. The captain (lead) his men to victory.
22. The secretary (keep) the money in the safe.
23. The boys (dig) a hole for the tree.
24. The woman (hang) the clothes on the line.
25. Philip (feed) his dog twice a day.
26. The patient (lie) in bed all day yesterday.
27. Laura (stick) the notice on the bulletin board yesterday.
28. Our class (choose) a new president last month.
30. The helicopter (fly) over town.
31. The snake (creep) along the ground.
32. They (freeze) the food before they shipped it.
33. She (bear) her troubles without complaint.
34. The sun (rise) at five this morning.
35. The dog (bit) the little boy yesterday.
36. Paula (tear) her dress on a nail.
37. The dog (hide) the bone under bed.
38. The little girl (fall) on the ice yesterday and (hurt) herself badly.
39. I (mean) what I (say).
40. Our team (win) the match yesterday.
Put these sentences into the simple past tense as shown below.
1. I usually lend books to my friend Tom.
I lent Tom some books yesterday.
2. I always send grandmother a card on her birthday.
3. I usually spend my holiday in the mountains.
4. We always burn the dry leaves when spring comes.
5. Dan sets the alarm clock every evening.
6. My leg often hurts.
7. I always burst into laughter when I hear Frank's jokes.
8. I learn some new English words every day.
9. I often misspell the verb 'lose'.
10. They build many new blocks of flats in our town every year.
11. Sometimes the cat spills its milk.
1.66. Read the sentences below and respond to them using the simple past tense of the verbs in italics.
1. Our grandfather clock strikes the hours regularly. It was 6 o'clock an hour ago.
The clock struck the hour (six) an hour ago.
2. You always shake hands when you meet someone. Roger introduced me to his friend Adrian yesterday.
3. Mary usually forgets her English textbook. What happened yesterday?
4. Father never beats me at chess. Last night was an exception.
5. Father usually digs the garden on Sunday. Yesterday was Sunday.
6. I always wear a uniform at school I went to school yesterday.
7. The sun shines every
day on the
8. Michael is a very good runner and he usually wins every race. He had a race last week.
9. We understand our English teacher when she speaks slowly. Yesterday she spoke very slowly.
10. My father winds the big clock every night before he goes to bed. What about last night?
11. Every Sunday Tudor sees a film at the local cinema. What about last Sunday?
12. Grandfather often loses his umbrella. It happened again yesterday.
1.67. * In the narrative below put the verbs in brackets into the simple past tense.
1. Lightning (strike) twice by our house last night.
2. We (hear) the sound of thunder and we (smell) the lightning in the air.
3. The first flash (hit) a neighbour's tree.
4. It (tear) the bark off the tree.
5. Although the tree didn't burn, the lightning (kill) the tree.
6. The second flash (strike) another neighbour's chimney.
7. When it (strike), it (tear) out a whole row of bricks.
8. The chimney (fall) down noisily.
9. The fire (start) immediately.
10. Our neighbours (call) the firemen who (come) at once and (put) out the fire.
11. We (be) lucky. The lightning (miss) our house.
1.68. Put these sentences into the simple past. Use a dictionary if necessary.
1. My aunt weeps over the loss of her little dog.
My aunt wept over the loss of her little dog.
2. They rise at 6.30.
3. He springs to his feet on the entrance of the lady.
4. I tread on the ice very carefully.
5. Aunt Martha flies to Timisoara.
6. Those apples cost lei a kilo.
7. On Sunday he lies in bed all morning.
8. Grandfather digs his garden.
9. Those monkeys breed well in captivity.
10. She chooses good books.
11. This singer broadcasts every Saturday afternoon.
12. We lay the table at one o'clock.
13. Frightened, she clings to her brother's arm.
14. The students raise their hands when they want to ask a question.
1.69. The INTERROGATIVE of regular and irregular verbs is formed with DID SUBJECT + INFINITIVE (without TO). Complete the questions below.
1. The dwarfs finished work at 5 o'clock: What time...?
2. The dwarfs looked at the clock on the wall. Where
3. The clock showed five o clock. What time...?
4. The dwarfs picked up their pickaxes. What...?
5. They started on the way home. Where
6. They marched in single file from the Mine. How..?
7. At last they reached the clearing. What...?
8. Dopey carried a lamp so that they could see their way Why...
9. Doc, who was the first, stopped abruptly. How.
10. He pointed in the direction of their home. Where
11. "Jiminy crickets!" dwarfs exclaimed. What...?
12. Doc opened the door slowly. How
13. The dwarfs entered the room quietly because they were frightened. Why.
14. Dopey remained on guard outside. Where
15. The dwarfs searched the house systematically. How...?
1.70. When WHO is the subject of the question, DO / DID is not used.
Tom asks Dan a question about the subject of the sentence because he cannot believe he has heard the right name.
1. Dan: Paula lost an umbrella in the tube.
Tom: Who lost an umbrella? Surely not Paula!
2. Daniel broke his leg on the sports ground.
3. Patricia lost a parcel in the bus.
4. Mr. Adams bought a house near the sea.
5. David produced a musical in Constanta.
6. Helen found an old manuscript in a library book.
7. Susan won a beauty contest in Mamaia.
8. Eliza fell down the stairs in the hotel.
1.71. Ask questions about the statements above. This time Tom asks a question about the adverb of location in each sentence as he is surprised by what he has heard.
1. Dan: Paula lost an umbrella in the Tube.
Toni: Where did she lose it? Surely not in the Tube!
1.72. The NEGATIVE of regular and irregular verbs is formed / with DID NOT (DIDN'T) and the infinitive without TO
Situation: Mrs. Barton made a list of things to do. But she lost the list, so she forgot to do them.
e.g. She didn't buy an alarm clock.
THINGS TO DO
Buy an alarm clock
Pay the electricity bill
Go to the dentist
Write to Uncle Ben
See the manager
Book theatre tickets
Wash the red dress
Iron Tom's shirts
1.73. The SIMPLE PAST TENSE is used:
for actions completed in the past at a definite time:
a. when the time/place or other circumstances are given:
b. when the time is asked about:
c. when the action clearly took place at a definite time even if this time is not mentioned:
d. when the time becomes definite as a result of a question and answer in the the present perfect.
Lucy phoned me at six o'clock
(as soon as I got home./ from school)
"When did you read Hamlet?"
"I read it last year."
The train was five minutes late.
"Have you found the letter yet?"
"Yes I have."
"When did you find it?"
"I found it a moment ago"
(when I tidied up my drawer)
e. when there is sequence of past events (narrative use):
I met Philip yesterday and we talked for a few minutes.
for the past habitual or characteristic actions:
When Mr. Barton taught at our school, he rode his bike to classes
in indirect speech, instead of the simple present, when the introductory verb (say, tell, ask etc) is in a past tense:
Paul told me he had a new camera.
1.74. Make sentences with the words below. Use the SIMPLE PAST to express actions completed in the past (the TIME/PLACE is given).
1. Daniel, support, yesterday afternoon, at the conference my proposal.
(Subject + predicate + direct object + adverbial of place + adverbial of time
2. Eliza, ask, at school. the same question, two days ago.
3. They, climb, the day before yesterday, to the top of the hill.
4. I, hear, some time ago, that tune, on the radio.
5. He, express, his opinion, at the meeting.
6. Virginia, propose, when the meeting started, a change of plan.
7. We, identify, last Sunday, on the map, the town.
8. They, reach, before leaving, an agreement.
1.75. Use appropriate verbs in the simple past to ask and answer questions about the TIME when an action took place.
e.g. Tom: When (What time) did the professor have breakfast?
Ann: He had breakfast at nine o'clock.
Professor Parker's Programme for Wednesday; 21 October:
a.m. Car calls at hotel to go to Ministry of Education
a.m. Meeting with Director of Science Education
a.m. Money exchange at International Hotel
12.45 a.m. Shopping
p.m. Lunch with Director at International Hotel
p.m. Free time
5.00 p.m. Lecture at Physics Research Institute on 'Nuclear research in Britain'.
p.m. Dinner with Head of Research Institute
p.m. Play at the National Theatre
p.m. Drive back to hotel.
1.76. In the following narrative, put the verbs in brackets into the SIMPE PAST in order to express a SEQUENCE OF PAST EVENTS
1. Snow White (be) alone in the deep woods.
2. She (walk) on and on through the woods.
3. She (pass) by a large lake and then (enter) a large clearing.
4. There there (be) a little house with white walls and a red roof.
5. It (look) like a doll's house.
6. In order to reach the house Snow White (cross) a bridge over a stream.
7. The animals (follow) her.
8. She (walk) up to the house and (look) in through one of the windows.
9. 'Oooh!' Snow White (murmur). It's dark inside.'
10. She (knock) on the door. There (be) no answer.
11. Plucking up courage, she (open) the door and (enter).
12. 'Hello! Anybody at home?' she (call).
13. Nobody (answer) her call.
14. Snow White (turn) round.
15. She (raise) her hands in surprise.
16. Oh!' she (gasp). 'What cute little chairs!'
17. She (walk) around the room inspecting it.
18. It (be) very untidy. She (decide) to clean it.
19. The animals want) to help her, so they all (start) work immediately.
20. Snow White (pick) up the broom and (start) to sweep the floor.
21. The turtle (wash) the dishes and the big squirrel (wipe) them.
22. The little squirrels (dust) the furniture and (tidy) up the room. Then they (clean) the fireplace.
23. Everybody (work) as fast as they (can) and soon everything (look) really spick and span.
After G.N. Smith)
1.77. When one past action follows another very closely we can combine them by using WHEN, AS SOON AS, THE MOMENT, and two SIMPLE PAST tenses
Use the prompts below to connect two sentences in the simple past. Add any missing words.
1. Tom / open / window bird / fly out
When / As soon as / The moment Tom opened the window the bird flew out.
2. play / end audience / go home
3. little girl / see / mother she / start / cry
4. we / go out it / begin / rain
5. train / leave he / cross / to the other platform
6. Alec /notice / us he / sound / his horn
7. bell / ring lights / go out
8. traffic lights / change car / drive off
1.78. Ask and answer questions about Charles Chaplin. Use verbs indicating actions that took place over a period of time in the past
e.g. How long did Chaplin live? (For) 88 years.
How long was he married to Mildred Harris? (For) years.
Charles Chaplin' s life history:
16th April 1889: Born in London
1907-1913: Worked with Fred Karno
1910: Went to
the United States
1918-1920: Married to Mildred Harris
1923-1952: Worked with the united Artist Corporation
1924-1926: Married to Lila Grey
1935-1942: Married to Paulette Godard
1943: Married Oona O'Neill
1952: Left the United States and returned to Europe
25th December 1977: Died in Switzerland
1.79.A. Fill in the blanks with appropriate verbs in the SIMPLE PAST to express PAST HABITUAL ACTIONS.
1. When father was young he... chess every day.
2. Old Mr. Martin always... an umbrella with him.
3. I never... to the theatre when I was a little child.
4. When we lived at Sulina we often... in the Danube.
5. When Angela was studying English, she... thirty words every day.
6. In those days she... very hard.
1.79.B. A PAST STATE (with verbs expressing states) or a PAST HABIT (with verbs expressing events) can also be rendered by the anomalous USED TO INFINITIVE construction
Fill in the blanks with USED TO + suitable verbs.
1. They... in Medgidia, but now they have a flat in Constanta.
They used to live in Medgidia, but now they have a flat in Constanta.
2. When we were little children, we... our holidays in the country.
3. Father doesn't go in for sport now, but he... football when he was younger.
4. Mother... French quite well, but she's forgotten most of it now.
5. They... very friendly; I don't know why they don't speak to each other any more.
6. I... spinach, but I like it very much now.
7. You... me postcards, but you don't anymore. Why don't you?
8. When we lived in Tulcea, we... fishing every summer.
1.79.C. Make questions and answers using the prompts given.
1. what-drink for breakfast milk / tea
Mrs. Brown: What did you use to drink for breakfast?
Mrs. Green: I used to drink milk but I drink tea now.
2. where / live in Glasgow / in Edinburgh
3. where / work in a factory / in an office
4. what time /get up at seven / at eight
5. how/get to work by bus/by car
6. what time / come home at seven / at six
7. what / do in-the evenings go out / stay at home
8. Where / spend your holiday in the mountains / at the seaside
1.80. Make sentences based on the given facts to contrast past and present actions
1. plant the same crop every year plant a different crop every year
Farmers used to plant the same crop every year.
Now they plant a different crop every year.
2. plant in straight rows form curving rows
3. have small crops have much larger crops
4. winds / blow the good land away trees / stop the wind
5. droughts / turn the land to dust farmers / irrigate the land
6. the land turn to dust stay wealthy and rich
7. farmers / lose many crops get large crops
8. plant the same crops give the land a rest
9. have a hard time have an easier time
1.81. Put the verbs in brackets into the WOULD INFINITIVE form, to express PAST HABITUAL ACTIONS.
Situation: New Year on the Farm
(after P. Wilcox Peterson)
1. When I was growing up, we lived on a farm near the town. Every year all our relatives would come, from other farms and from the town, to be with us on New Year's Eve.
2. We (work) for days to prepare for the holiday.
3. Mother and the girls (clean) every part of the house.
4. They (get) all the extra rooms ready for the relatives.
5. Then they (wash) all our best clothes.
6. The men (cut) extra wood for the cooking.
7. Father (kill) the biggest turkey and then he (clean) the bird.
8. On December 1st the women (get up) early to begin cooking.
9. Mother (stuff I the turkey and then she (roast) it.
10. Aunt Ellen (make) dozens of cakes and pies.
11. Aunt Ann (lay) the table for dinner.
12. I (feed) the dog and the cat, waiting for the New Year to come in.
1.82. Make sentences about life on the farm in the past. Use WOULD INFINITIVE and these time markers:
1. In the old days
2. In my childhood
3. Before modern times
4. When I was young
6. In the those days
1.83. Rephrase the following sentences by using WOULD for repeated actions in the past and USED TO for an action or state characterizing a person in the past.*
WOULD is preferred to USED TO for repeated actions in the past; it usually appears in the main clause of a sentence when the subordinate clause begins with WHENEVER or EVERY TIME; it is not necessarily a contrast to the present.]
1. He walked to school whenever it was sunny.
He would walk to school whenever it was sunny.
2. She always invited me to her parties.
She used to invite me to her parties.
3. As far as I remember, he always wore dark glasses.
4. Dan cycled to work whenever the weather was fine.
5. He often played tennis when he was young.
6. Victor took the bus every time he got up late.
7. Whenever I went to the theatre, I sat in the front row.
8. She often worked in the fields when she was a little girl in the country:
9. I glanced at my watch many times during Uncle Victor's speeches.
10. The house was generally full of people in the old days.
There often were tremendous parties.
1.84. The SIMPLE PAST is used in INDIRECT SPEECH instead of the SIMPLE PRESENT when the introductory verb (say, tell, ask, etc.) is in past tense. Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past.
1. He asked me where I (live).
He asked me where I lived.
2. I told him I (live) in Bucharest.
3. I explained to him I (be) an engineer.
4. He knew I (come) from Sibiu.
5. He wanted to know if I (speak) German.
6. I said I (can) speak both German and English fluently.
7. He had heard I (have) a brother.
8. I informed him I (be) an only child.
1.85. Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past.
1. Christine (feel) very tired after her exam.
2. She (decide) to go away.
3. She (ask) Monica to go with her.
4. They (go) to a travel agency.
5. They (book) a weekend in Cluj-Napoca.
6. They (travel) to Cluj-Napoca the following Saturday.
7. They (stay) in a pleasant hotel.
8. It (be) quite near the centre.
9. They (go) sight-seeing.
10. They (meet) some interesting people.
11. They (do) some shopping.
12. They (enjoy) the holiday very much.
13. They (return) to Bucharest on Sunday evening..
14. Christine (feel) a lot better after the short holiday.
1.86. Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past.
1. Before modern farming methods, farmers (lose) many crops owing to dry weather.
2. Sometimes dry periods (last) for many years.
3. In those days, a long dry period, or drought. often (turn) the land to dust.
4. Then winds (come) along and (blow) the good land away.
5. This (happen) year after year.
6. Farmers themselves (make) the situation worse.
7. Each year they (plant) the same crops.
8. They never (give) the land a rest.
9. The land (become) poor with too much use.
10. They always (plant) in long, straight rows.
11. These (break) the land into fine dust.
12. Farmers (have) a very hard time until they (start) to use modern farming methods.
1.87. Ask and answer questions about the famous actor Stan Laurel, using the information below.
1. What / real name
2. When / born
3. Where / born
4. How many brothers and sisters / have
5. What / his father's occupation
6. When / go to the United States
7. When / the first Laurel and Hardy film / make
8. How long / Laurel and Hardy / Work together
9. How many film comedies / make
10. Who / Laurel / many
11. When / die
12. Where / die
Name: Arthur Stanley Jefferson
Date of Birth: June 16th, 1890
Place of Birch: Ulverston, in north-west England
Brothers and sisters: 2 brothers, 1 sister
Father's occupation: Theatre manager
Career: September 1910 to the United States
1926 First Laurel and Hardy film
1926-1955 More than 100 film comedies with Hardy
Marriage Ida Kitaeva, a Russian singer, 1946
Died: Santa Monica, California, 1965
1.88. Write out the life history of Stan Laurel using the information above.