In this lesson we’ll take a look at how we use the past simple tense when talking about things that we have done in the past.

What Did You Do?

The past simple tense is written by adding “ed” or “d” to a regular verb or by using the past tense form of irregular verbs.

Regular Verbs
  • arrive – arrived
  • play – played
  • work – worked

Regular Verb List from EnglishClub

Irregular Verbs
  • buy – bought
  • go – went
  • sit – sat

Irregular Verb List from EnglishClub

Tips for Learning Irregular Verbs in English from EspressoEnglish

Past Tense Examples:

Here are some example sentences using past simple tense:

  • I went to the shop.
  • Steve played football.
  • They jumped out of the window.
I visited Bali

I visited Bali.

Adverbial Phrases of Time

Sentences that use past simple tense often use adverb or adverbial phrases of time.

Some examples we can use when talking about the past are:

  • a few minutes ago
  • a fortnight ago (two weeks ago)
  • last night
  • a week ago
  • four hours ago
  • last week
  • in 1996
  • this morning
  • three years ago
  • yesterday


Here are a  selection of example sentences using past simple tense and adverb or adverbial phrases of time.

  • In 1992 I visited my grandfather.
  • Last night I watched a movie.
  • Last week I went to Spain.
  • Steve worked at Microsoft last year.
  • We bought our house three years ago.
Yesterday I played golf.

Yesterday I played golf.

Your turn!

Leave a comment below and write 10 sentences about things that you have done in the past. You could write about yesterday or 25 years ago. Try to use adverbs or adverbial phrases of time in your sentences.

Don’t forget to use the past simple tense!

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.