a. Spelling

– The normal rule is to add “ed” after regular verbs.

Work => worked, start => started, play => played…

– If the verb ends in _e, add _d

Love => loved, like=> liked, change => changed

– If the verb has only one syllable + one vowel + one consonant, double the consonant. The consonant is not doubled if it is “y” or “w”

Stop => stopped, plan => planned, travel => travelled…

Played, Showed…

– In most two-syllable verbs, the end consonant is doubled if the stress is on the second syllable.

Ex: preferred, admitted…

– If the verb ends in a consonant + y, change the “_y” to “_ied”

Study => studied, try => tried, deny => denied

There are many common irregular verbs.

b. Form

The form of the present is the same for all persons.

Subjects Verb
I/ you/ we/ they/ he/ she/ it V + “ed”

c. Use

– The past simple expresses a past action that is now finished.

Ex: we played tennis last Sunday. I began to learn English 10 years ago. John left 2 hours ago.

– To express actions which follow each other in a story.

Ex: Mary walked into the room and stopped. She listened carefully. She heard a noise coming from behind the curtain. She threw the curtain open, and then she saw…He woke up early, jumped out of bed, dressed quickly and without having breakfast, left home.

– To express a past situation or habit.

Ex: when I was a child, we lived in a small house by the sea. Everyday I walked for miles on the beach with my dog.

– Notice the time expressions that are used with past simple: “last year, ago, yesterday, in 1990…”

Ex: I was born in 1897. She met her teacher at the school yesterday.


a. Form

Subject Tobe Ving
I/ she/ he/ it Was
You/ we/ they Were

b. Use

– We often use the past continuous in sentences together with the past simple when this happens; the past continuous refers to longer, “background” activities, while the past simple refers to shorter actions that happened in the middle of the longer ones.

Ex: when I went to school, I saw Jim was talking with a beautiful girl.

– The past continuous expresses a past activity that has duration.

Ex: I met her while I was walking on the street. You were making a lots noise last night. We were playing football yesterday afternoon.

– The activity began “before” the action expressed by the past simple.

Ex: she was making coffee when we arrived. When I phoned Marry, she was having dinner.

– The past continuous expresses an activity in progress before, and probable after, a time in the past.

Ex: when I woke up this morning, the sun was shining. What were you doing at 8 o’ clock last night?

* Compare past simple and past continuous

– The past simple expresses past actions as simple facts.

Ex: I did my homework last night. What sis you do yesterday evening? “I watched TV”.

– The past continuous gives past activities time and duration. The activity can be interrupted.

Ex: what were you doing at 7.00? “I was watching TV. I was doing homework when Tom arrived.

– In stories, the past continuous can describe the scene. The past simple tells the actions.

Ex: it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, so we decided to go for a picnic. We put everything in the car…

– The questions below refer to different time periods. The past continuous asks about activities before, and the past simple asks about what happened after.

What were you doing?What did you do? When it started to rain We were playing tennis.We went home.


a. Form: Had + Ved

Subjects Verb
I/ you/ we/ they/ he/ she/ it Had + Ved

b. Use:

– The past perfect is used to express an action in the past, which happened before another action in the past.

Ex: when I got home, John had cooked a meal.

*Note: the use of past perfect and the past simple in the following sentences.

Ex: when I got home, John had cooked a meal. (John cooked a meal before I got home)

When I got home, John cooked a meal. (First I got home, and then John cooked)


a. Form

Subjects Verb
I/ you/ we/ they/ he/ she/ it Had + been + Ving

b. Use

– To express an action was happening before another action in the past.

Ex: by 9 o’clock last night, the pilot had been flying nine hours non-stop. They had been waiting for someone when they saw John go with a strange man. The football match had to be stopped. They had been playing half an hour when there was a heavy rain.

– We this tense for an action that went on over a period before a past time.

Ex: when I found the file, I’d been looking for it for some time. (The action of looking went on for some time before the discovery of the life.) When I saw Tom, he ‘d been playing golf. (I saw him after the game.)