English Grammar #5: Past simple

How to form it?

PRONOUNSPOSITIVENEGATIVEQUESTIONS
Infinitive form + ED
Irregular (see the list)
didn’t + infinitive formDid + subject + infinitive?
Iworkeddidn't workDid I work?
Youworkeddidn't workDid you work?
He/she/itworkeddidn't workDid he/she/it work?
Weworkeddidn't workDid we work?
Youworkeddidn't workDid you work?
Theyworkeddidn't workDid they work?

attention
Be careful! Some verbs are irregular. There is a quite long list with all of them. You must study them, at least all the verbs that can be useful.
INFINITIVEIRREGULAR PAST SIMPLEEXAMPLE
bewas/were- He was a pilot during World War II.
- We were happy to come back to the ground.
becomebecame- She became an air-hostess in the 1970s.
beginbegan- We began our training in 2005.
buybought- My father bought a Cessna two years ago.
dodid- We did a really nice trip in Australia.
fallfell- The Boeing fell directly to the ground.
flyflew- I flew for the first time in 1990.
forgetforgot- A young pilot forgot to put his gear down.
gowent- He went to the US to become a pilot.
havehad- One engine had a failure.
hearheard- Both pilots heard the wind shear alarm.
loselost- The aircraft lost speed and fell.
makemade- She made a right turn and landed.
meetmet- We met some nice pilot in Paris Air Show last year.
readread- They read the manual to solve the problem.
saysaid- She said he was not a good pilot.
seesaw- We saw some rabbits on the runway.
speakspoke- He spoke English when he lived in the UK.
taketook- We took off at nine pm.
telltold- They told me they had a failure during the flight.
thinkthought- We thought he was not ready to fly alone.
understandunderstood- She understood Chinese pilots.
writewrote- They wrote an article about the new Airbus aircraft.

attention
PAST SIMPLE AND PAST PARTICIPLES 
Si le verbe se termine par –e,
le –e n’est pas redoublé
- She loved airplanes.
- The pilot agreed with the co-pilot.
Si le verbe se termine par une consonne + -y,
-y devient –i.
- The air hostess worried about a sick passenger.
- Travellers carried big suitcases in the airport.
Si le verbe se termine par –c,
on ajoute –k.
- Passengers panicked because of turbulence.
Si un verbe d’une syllabe se termine par consonne + voyelle + consonne finale,
la consonne finale est redoublée.
- They stopped over in New York on their way to Seattle.
Si le verbe se termine par –l,
-l est redoublé. (British English)
- He travelled around the world.
- The airline cancelled all their flights.

How to use it?
RULESEXAMPLES
Finished actions in the past- He worked as a pilot for ten years (now he isn’t a pilot anymore)
Finished actions in someone’s life (when the person is dead)- My grandmother visited New York three times.
Finished actions with no result in present ; emphasis on the action- She lost her passport in the airport yesterday. It was horrible! (The emphasis is put on the action, not on the result)

Signal words
Some words can help you to choose if you must use the past simple.
SIGNAL WORDSEXAMPLES
yesterday
-Yesterday, we flew to Russia
... ago- I went to New York two years ago.
last ... - Last year we visited Washington.
- Last month he bought his first plane.
a precise date- He became a pilot in 1982.
- Louis Bleriot died on the 1st August 1936.

Let’s do an exercise to check if you’ve understood everything.
Choose the right answer. Sometimes more than one answer is correct.
Time to play !