English Grammar in Context – Tense Timelines, Mindmaps, Writing Tips, and More...

How to Use the Past Simple Tense


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Learning to Use the Past Simple Tense

The Past Simple is one of the most widely used tenses, and its Core Characteristic is to provide basic information about an action which was completed in the Past. A sentence in the Past Simple allows us to say when, where, why, or how you did something.

As you can see from our diagram, you should always remember that the Past Simple is used for completed actions in the Past. The Reference Point (R) of the Past Simple is a time in the past; it is not essential to say exactly when this time was. For example, you can say: I walked to school. (Diagram 1):

PAST-SIMPLE-1.svg

When we add information about time, your Reference Point (R) remains the same, but it is identified as a more specific point in time: I walked to school yesterday (Diagram 2):

PAST-SIMPLE-2.svg



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