Simple Past Tense

(also called Past Simple)

The Simple Past is a common tense in English. You should understand it, and know it well.

What's next?

Check out our new series of illustrated workbooks:
Stories and Exercises to Practice the Perfect Tenses

Stories and Exercises to Practice the Progressive Tenses


  1. Read and understand the following explanations and examples

  2. Read and understand the Rules

  3. Practice, Practice, Practice with the Exercises


Are you a teacher?

Save yourself time and effort. Get the Step-by-Step Guide to the Simple Past Tense. It includes all the materials and worksheets you need to teach this tense effectively.


How do we use this tense?

The Simple Past is a form of the verb that shows the action happened in the past.

Here are the different usages of this tense:


Make sure you also read:

Examples of Typical Time Expressions

Simple Past Example Sentences

Simple Past or Present Perfect – Which Tense Should You Use?

Actions that happened in the past

(The verbs are in bold)



He broke his tooth last week.

a boy with a missing tooth




Last year he had only two candles on the cake.

a kid with a birthday cake




He was very dirty 30 minutes ago.

a boy having a bath

She asked for a kiss.

a girl that wants a kiss




He played and he lost.

a guy after football match

They worked very hard for this.

a wining team



Examples of
Typical Time Expressions

  • an hour ago
  • yesterday
  • last week
  • last month
  • 2 years ago
  • last Monday
  • in 1974
  • when I was young

Practice reading, writing and speaking in the Simple Past Tense. Download the English Grammar Stories and Exercises Series.

English Grammar Stories and Exercises




Boy writing happily


What's Next?

  1. If you want, you can REREAD the previous explanations and examples.

  2. Read and understand the rules.

  3. Practice, practice, practice with the exercises.

  4. Read and practice with these stories and exercises.


Simple Past Story 1

Simple Past Story 1

Who were they? Where did they go? What happened?

One autumn evening, Charles and Beth went to the theater. They attended a play. The play started at 7:00. Charles and Beth enjoyed the theater.

After the play, Charles and Beth walked together in the park. They walked beside the lake. The moon was bright. They talked about their future.

When Charles and Beth went home, their children were not asleep. They waited for Charles and Beth to return. They were excited to hear about the theater!

Charles told the children about the play. Then, Beth put the children to bed. Charles and Beth were very tired. It was a good night!

Click here to download the worksheet: Simple Past Story 1.

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