This lesson is part of the series on Verbs in English:
- Simple Past Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
- Present Perfect Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
- Present Perfect Continuous Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
- Past Perfect Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
- Future Verb Tense: “will”, “going to”, “gonna” (Grammar + Pronunciation)
Listen to the audio!:
…or watch the video!:
We use the simple past verb tense in English when we talk about:
- a past action with
- a definite start and ending.
This completed action is usually indicated by the -ed ending, which has three different pronunciations:
- “I walked to the store.” (Notice how I connected my speech here).
Here, the simple past verb tense is used because the walk to the store began and ended; it is a completed action.
- “I visited Paris in June.”
Here, the action of visiting Paris (arriving there, seeing the sights, then leaving) began and ended, i.e. it is a completed action.
What if I had said…
- “I have visited Paris.”
Here, you know the speaker has visited Paris before–some time in the past–but we don’t know when in the past.
So, if you want to talk about a past event that has happened in some general, non-specific time in the past, use the present perfect tense (with “have” or “has”) instead of the simple past.
Listen and Repeat
- “I visited New York last month.”
- “She studied English for 10 years.”
- “We picked up three pizzas for dinner.”
- “You wanted to buy a new suit, didn’t you?”
- “I walked the dogs this morning.”
- “It was cold, so I covered her with a blanket.” (Note that we could also delete the “h” in “her”).
- “I printed five copies of the report.”
(Don’t forget you can learn the -ed pronunciation rules here).
Irregular Past Tense Verbs
Although simple past tense verbs usually end in -ed, there are plenty of exceptions.
Let’s practice a few examples of irregular past tense verbs.
Listen and Repeat
- “You were on my mind all day.”
- “I went to the store this morning.”
- “He became ill after eating at that restaurant.”
- “She fell last week and twisted her ankle.”
- “She ran home as fast as she could.”
- “He got a sunburn at the beach.”
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