English Verbs – Past tense (Learn 18 irregular verbs)

Past tense

I had a cup of coffee this morning.
The verb “had” is in the Past Tense

Simple Present Tense ENGLISH Verbs

Using different verb tenses correctly can be difficult. Especially past tense English verbs

I made an English Verb Course to explain the basics. This post is a preview of the Simple Past Tense textbook. It will explain the basic rules of this verb grammar and get you started. Enjoy this post 🙂

Past Tense – Regular and Irregular verbs

Some past tense verbs follow a pattern, they end with the letters ED. These are called regular verbs.

  • lifted
  • played
  • washed


In English, there are many verbs whose past tense doesn’t end with _ed. These are called irregular verbs.

  • bought (this is the past tense of the verb BUY)
  • saw (this is the past tense of the verb SEE)
  • wrote (this is the past tense of the verb WRITE)

Past tense verb examples

person using typewriter
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Mark Twain was an American writer. He lived from 1835 to 1910. He wrote many popular books and traveled across Europe and America. 

Was, lived, wrote, and traveled are verbs in the simple past tense.

Regular verbs from our example. (Verbs that end in _ed.)

He lived from 1835 to 1910.
Mark Twain traveled across Europe and America.

Other examples:

We played volleyball after school.
Lois and Meg talked for hours.

Irregular verbs from our example.

Mark Twain was an American writer. (Was is the past tense singular form of the verb to be.)
He wrote many popular books.

Other examples:

I bought a new computer yesterday.
We saw a great movie on Friday, it was about Mark Twain.

happy ethnic woman sitting at table with laptop

Simple past tense rules

Negative verb forms and questions in the past tense use the auxiliary verb do. The main verb will be in the simple present tense.

Negative past tense statements use did not, didn’t.

●Mark Twain didn’t go to university. (Not didn’t went)
●The computer sale is over soon so I didn’t want to wait. (Not didn’t wanted)

Past tense questions use did you? – did he/she/it etc.

Did Mark Twain live in Australia? (Not did he lived?)
Did you buy a Mac or a PC? (Not did you bought?)

When do is the main verb

A: “What did you do on Saturday?”
B: “I didn’t do anything. My day was boring.”

Learning irregular past tense verbs

The best (and only) way to learn irregular verbs in their past tense is to memorize them. I have included a list of 18 irregular verbs below with some natural examples. The examples follow a simple story to make them easy to remember.

1. say said
“Yancy said she would be here by 6:00.”

2. make made
“I hope she gets here soon, I made reservations for 6:30 at the restaurant.”

3. go went
“Maybe she went to the bank after work?”

4. take took
“If she took the local streets she will be late. The roads are always crowded around this time.”

5. come came
“Last week she came here after work and the traffic was fine.”

6. see saw
“I just saw her pull into the driveway.”

7. know knew
I knew Yancy would be here on time!”

8. get got
“I got an email from Peter this morning, he’s back from his vacation.”

9. give gave
“Yes, he gave me a call from the airport last night when he arrived. I went there to pick him up.”

10. find found
“The airport was so busy! I finally found him after 15 minutes of searching.”

11. think thought
“I thought Peter would be on vacation for 3 weeks.”

12. tell told
“He told me that he would only stay for 12 days.”

13. become became
“He just became a division manager so he can’t be away from the office for too long.”

14. show showed
“On the drive home from the airport, he showed some photos from his trip.” *Show is an irregular verb because the past participle is shown not showed. Other regular verbs whose past tense is _ed use the same form for the past participle.

15. leave left
“Hawaii is so beautiful, You must have been sad when you left.”

16. feel felt
“I felt sad every time I left the beach! Relaxing on the beach is my favorite thing to do.”

17. put put
“Peter had to buy an extra duffel bag for all the souvenirs he bought for his staff. First, he put them in his suitcase, but then his clothes wouldn’t fit!”

18. bring brought
“He is so kind! He brought back a lot of treats for his co-workers.”

Thanks for reading this post, I hope it was helpful. ☻ If you are interested in learning how to use different English verb tenses check out my Premium Verb Course.
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