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SSC English : Grammar Tenses Simple Past

SSC English : Grammar Tenses Simple Past

Simple Past

SSC English : Grammar Tenses Simple Past

SSC English : Grammar Tenses Simple Past

FORM      [VERB+ed] or irregular verbs

USE 1      Completed Action in the Past

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.


  • I saw a movie yesterday.
  • I didn’t see a play yesterday.
  • Last year, I travelled to Japan.
  • Last year, I didn’t travel to Korea.
  • Did you have dinner last night?
  • She washed her car.
  • He didn’t wash his car.

SSC English
USE 2     A Series of Completed Actions

We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.


I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.

He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.

Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

USE 3     Duration in Past

The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a

longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.


  • I lived in Brazil for two years.
  • Sheila studied Japanese for five years.
  • They sat at the beach all day.
  • They did not stay at the party the entire time.
  • We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.


USE 4    Habits in the Past

The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as “used to.” To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.


  • I studied sanskrit when I was a child.
  • He played the violin.
  • He didn’t play the piano.
  • Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?
  • She worked at the movie theater after school.
  • They never went to school, they always skipped class.

USE 5    Past Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true.


  • She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.
  • He didn’t like tomatoes before.
  • Did you live in India when you were a kid?
  • People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

Usage of do/does and did apart from the main verb in assertive sentences.

Look at the two sentences given below.

1              I did inform the police.

2              I informed the police.

SSC English
Both the sentences are in the simple past tense and in the first sentence did is used apart from the main verb. Did is used here simply to make it more effective and lay stress. Do/does and did are used to lay more stress if they are used apart from the main verb.

But in the sentence given below did is used as the main verb.

He did yoga in the morning.


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