Simple Past

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Simple Past by Mind Map: Simple Past

1. USE 1

1.1. Completed Action in the Past

1.1.1. 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.

1.1.1.1. Examples: I saw a movie yesterday.

2. USE 2

2.1. A Series of Completed Actions

2.1.1. 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.

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

3. USE 3

3.1. Duration in Past

3.1.1. 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.

3.1.1.1. Examples: I lived in Brazil for two years.

4. USE 4

4.1. Habits in the Past

4.1.1. 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.

4.1.1.1. Examples: I studied French when I was a child.

5. USE 5

5.1. Past Facts or Generalizations

5.1.1. The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. As in USE 4 above, this use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression "used to."

5.1.1.1. Examples: He didn't like tomatoes before.

6. FORM [VERB+ed] or irregular verbs

6.1. Examples: You called Debbie.

7. IMPORTANT When-Clauses Happen First Clauses are groups of words which have meaning but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word "when" such as "when I dropped my pen..." or "when class began..." These clauses are called when-clauses, and they are very important. The examples below contain when-clauses.