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The simple past is used to talk about activities that began and ended in the past. (e.g. yesterday, last week, one hour ago, two days ago, in 1989). The past means anytime before right NOW. If something began and ended 5 minutes ago, then it should be expressed in the past tense.

John walked out of the room five minutes ago.

Bob stayed home last night.

The plane arrived late.

Most verbs form their past by adding ~ed to the verb.

Here are spelling rules that you should follow when forming the past tense.

walk + ed = walked

stay + ed = stayed

arrive + ed = arrived

Some verbs have irregular past tense forms that must be memorized.

I eat breakfast everyday.

I ate breakfast this morning.

I often ride my bike to school.

I rode my bike to school today.

In negative statements the auxiliary verb did expresses the tense of the sentence.

To form a negative statement in the past tense use did not + simple present verb.

Correct:Jim did not work yesterday.

Incorrect: Jim not worked yesterday.

Correct: He did not eat breakfast yesterday.

Incorrect: He ate not breakfast yesterday.

The auxiliary verb did is also used to form questions in the past tense.

Did you eat breakfast yesterday?

Did she work yesterday?

Questions may be answered using short answers or long answers.

Yes, I did.

Yes, I ate breakfast, yesterday.

No, I didn't.

No, I didn't eat breakfast yesterday.

No, I did not eat breakfast yesterday.

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