English Grammar The Past Tense
Learn English The Past Tense Grammar

Grammar Level 1- Lesson fourteen

In this grammar lesson, you learn about The Past Tense in English and how to use it in your English conversation and writing. Just follow examples and write them down a few times to learn them very well. After finishing this lesson, you should work on its quiz.

Grammar Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered the Prepositions If you just landed on this page, we suggest that you complete our previous lesson including its quizzes before continuing on this lesson.

Requirement Lessons

There is no required lessons for working and learning this lesson.


The Past Tense

There are two types of past tense verbs:
regular verbs: add “ed” to the simple form
irregular verbs: don’t add “ed”

Regular Verbs
Irregular Verbs


Regular verbs add ed to make the past tense (work / worked) and irregular verbs change their form entirely (go / went), or they don’t change at all (put / put). The most important verb to learn first in the past tense is “be.”

Be – Past Tense

I was
We were
You were
You were
He was
They were
She was
It was

I was at school yesterday.

We were in Paris last week.

It was sunny this morning.


Only the verb “be” changes its form for the singular or plural. All the other verbs, regular and irregular, use one form in the past tense, which makes the past tense a little easier to use when making statements.

More practice with the important verb Be comes in below lessons:


Regular Verb: Learn

Subject + _____ed

I learned
We learned
You learned
You learned
He learned
They learned
She learned
It learned


To make the negative, use “did” + “not” (didn’t) + the main verb in the simple form:

I did not learn
We did not learn
You did not learn
You did not learn
He did not learn
They did not learn
She did not learn
It did not learn


irregular Verb: Have

Subject + ________

(irregular verbs take many different forms in the past tense)

I had
We had
You had
You had
He had
They had
She had
It had

Irregular verbs must be memorized because they change their form completely. The list of commonly used irregular verbs are available at the end of this article.


The Past Tense describes the things you did yesterday, last year, back in February, in 1973, or an hour ago.

Regular verbs, such as learn, take an “ed” ending after the subject.
work—worked, learn—learned, visit—visited

Irregular verbs change their form entirely or not at all.
eat—ate, go—went, be—was/were, hit—hit, cut—cut

The form of the past tense is not dependent on the subject. See the example below:

Regular Verb – work:
I worked yesterday.
Irregular Verb – eat:
I ate breakfast earlier.

Regular Verb – work:
You worked yesterday.
Irregular Verb – eat:
You ate breakfast earlier.

Regular Verb – work:
He worked yesterday.
Irregular Verb – ate:
He ate breakfast earlier.

Regular Verb – work:
She worked yesterday.
Irregular Verb – ate:
She ate lunch an hour ago.

Regular Verb – like:
The dog liked her food.
Irregular Verb – eat:
She ate her food.

Regular Verb – arrive:
We arrived on time.
Irregular Verb – be:
We were on time.

Regular Verb – share:
You shared a milkshake.
Irregular Verb – have:
You had a nice lunch.

Regular Verb – visit:
They visited the beach.
Irregular Verb – go / eat:
They went to the beach and ate ice creams.

Quiz for The Past Tense

Now that you learned your new lesson, it is time to go to the The Past Tense Quiz page and finish your quiz. While working on your quiz, you can always go back to its lesson to refresh your memory.

Private Lessons in English

If you need help with quizzes of this lesson, you can hire one of our expert private English teachers by going to our Private English Tutors page and submit a request. When submitting your request, make sure to mention the grammar level and lesson number.

Next Grammar Lesson

In our next lesson, we will cover the Information Questions Before moving to the next lesson, we suggest that you complete this lesson including its quizzes.

Related Grammar Lessons


Grammar Level 1 Outline

If you wish to explore all lessons that are covered in HiCafe Grammar Level 1, you can visit the Grammar Level 1 Outline page.


List of Commonly Used Irregular Verbs

Below table has the essential Irregular Past Tense Verbs that you should memorize and use in your writing and conversation.


meaning / similar to
be was/were existence
become became change / alter / grow into
begin began start / commence
blow blew move air
break broke destroy / wreck
build built create / make
buy bought purchase / pay for
catch caught get
come came arrive
cost cost the price of something –use only with things
cut cut separate / reduce
do did act / perform / work / clean / study / research
drink drank consume
drive drove operate a vehicle / travel
eat ate consume
feel felt perceive
find found obtain / get
fly flew travel by airplane or by wings (birds do this)
forget forgot opposite of remember
freeze froze go below freezing / feel cold
get got obtain / receive
give gave cause something or someone to have / present
go went travel / move
have had possess / own
hear heard to receive information through the ears
hit hit strike / hurt
hold held grasp in one’s hand
hurt hurt cause injury
keep kept continue / hold in place
know knew understand / to have knowledge
lay laid put down / create a foundation
lead led bring to a location
leave left go away from
lend lent give for a temporary time
let let allow / permit
lie lied opposite of tell the truth
lose lost fail to remember the location / opposite of win
make made create / cook / earn money / force
meet met encounter another person the first time
pay paid give money
put put install / position
read read get knowledge from written words
ride rode travel on or in a vehicle
ring rang create sound from a bell
run ran travel fast with your feet
say said make words with one’s mouth / inform
see saw get knowledge with one’s eyes / meet / understand
sell sold get money for service or a product
send sent go to another place, usually by mail or email
show showed present
sit sat on a chair / not standing or lying down
sleep slept rest, usually at night
speak spoke create words with one’s mouth
spend spent pay for something
stand stood use of one’s feet / not sitting
swim swam move in water
take took get / lead / bring
teach taught provide help in understanding and gaining knowledge
tell told give information through words
think thought use one’s mind / judge / expect / have an opinion
throw threw move through the air, usually by hand
understand understood to get knowledge / know
wear wore put on clothes
win won gain victory over someone or something
write wrote create words with a pen, pencil, or a computer