Past simple tense

Posted on Dec 4 2013 - 3:11pm by Zdenda

Past simple is one of the most important English tenses. Scott Thornbury once wrote that he would sacrifice all the perfect tenses and other grammar if he could teach past simple properly. I agree with him, because if the students could you this tense, then I would probably forgive them everything.

Basic English grammar rules – infographic

To teach all the basic English grammar rules about the past tense I use the following mind map.
Past simple tense mind map

Basic English grammar rules – online quiz

I believe that it is critical that students know the irregular verbs. Here you can find two games to learn and practise the verbs. You cannot master the basic grammar rules without some memory work and a lot of practice. To play the games, click the download link and open the downloaded file in Adobe Reader. Then click on the game and enjoy.

During the week more activities on Past simple tense are coming. Watch out for them.
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Free graded readers

15 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. maria rodrigo 05/12/2013 at 9:32 am -

    thanks a lot!!! that’s exactly what I need right now!!!

  2. nabil 05/12/2013 at 10:14 am -


  3. alia 05/12/2013 at 10:32 am -

    iwant to improve my language > but sorry without bay mony> free learning english

  4. Nikki 05/12/2013 at 5:09 pm -

    My students will love this! Thanks.

  5. Maria 05/12/2013 at 6:52 pm -

    it is really great and very clear,thanks very much…

  6. Jonny 06/12/2013 at 7:15 am -

    A very helpful and attractive mind map. Thank you.
    Just one thing, I don’t think regretted is an exception. Any verb with consonant vowel consonant, and which has the stress on the last syllable will double the last consonant, won’t it?

  7. greg 06/12/2013 at 8:19 am -

    It’s great, though one thing needs correcting… regular verbs like: travel are not exceptions. The rule about doubled letter just says that the ending pattern is CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant), not just VC…
    Geat page, thank

  8. sajida qadr 06/12/2013 at 5:06 pm -

    I am an English teacher already, this is an easy way of teaching the tense. I am thankful.

  9. David Vane 06/12/2013 at 11:03 pm -

    An easy to follow guide can you post or send more to me please?This is what I hav ebeen looking for .Thanks

  10. Kanlayanee Saejiw 07/12/2013 at 10:01 am -

    Love it. Very useful for me n my daughter. Thank you so much. How about another tense.

  11. Sandu 07/12/2013 at 3:16 pm -

    I also can use this for my students to understand easily.. Thanks..

  12. Jeff Diamond 25/12/2013 at 3:35 pm -

    This diagram is well designed and I certainly understand and second Mr. Thornbury’s sentiments. With the verbs that end in “y”, double consonants, the differences between American and British spelling (traveling/travelling) and, to top it off, the long list of irregulares, often the most common verbs, that have to be memorized, this is one of the great stumbling blocks for EFL students. I have taught very advanced students with a strong command of the language and all of them needed to review irregular verbs. One of the problems is we tend to teach them as if there were no structure to them, and it’s not true, as the diagram posted by Zdenda points out, there are categories and patterns and these patterns make them easier to memorize. has three levels of lists for EFL students (plus a master list and two lists of prefixed verbs for reference) that organize irregular verbs by categories and pronunciation patterns, making them much easier to memorize. Click on the ES symbol for Spanish and you will have access to the page in Spanish. Go into Printable lists and you will find printable lists in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. We are presently expanding and hope to have more features and languages available soon.

    Jeff Diamond

  13. suda 11/03/2014 at 1:27 pm -

    nice .very useful. thank you

  14. Marcone 21/03/2014 at 3:10 pm -

    Very fun. Thanks.

  15. Sarwar Kethelic 02/03/2018 at 7:28 pm -

    I’m learning English but my problem tense. Where I’ll add ed from last part of word?
    Please help me and teach me.

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