Past tense of regular verbs

It has been known that people remember grammar rules best if they come up with their own explanation. Therefore, the teachers should try to design their teaching activities in such a way that they will help students create their own rules.



It is not easy. I have been trying to do this for twenty years and I am still pretty far from being good at it. However, recently I have been rather successful with a method which I call colourful teaching. My students like it and their test results are much better than before.

In this post I would like to share a set of activities to teach the past tense of regular verbs. There is one worksheet showing how students should form the past tense of the regular verbs and one worksheet showing how to form the negative in the past simple tense.

Spelling of the past tense

Print the following worksheet in colour. You need one column for each student (there are two columns on one page).

Students first study the examples at the top of the page. Then they try to exploit the colours and complete items 1-4. Check their answers and explain any problems. Then students complete items 5-9. Once again check students’ answers.

Now the students try to complete the rest of the worksheet. Check their answers but do not elicit the rules. If they ask you, you can give them your rules, but do not push it. It is important that students make their own understanding of this grammar.

To test their knowledge, you can use the following test in the subsequent lesson.

If you feel that your students need an explanation anyway, you can find a nice infographic here.

Forming negatives

The following worksheet works similarly as the one above but this time students learn to form negatives in the past simple tense.

Print the following worksheet in colour. Once again each student needs one column and there are two columns on one page.

Once again, students study the examples and then complete items 1-4. Check students’ answers and ask them to do items 5-9. Check their answers again and explain any problems the students might have encountered.

Then students complete items 10-16 and you check their answers again.

If you feel that you need to give an explanation anyway, you can find the explanation how to form the negative in the past simple tense here.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Drissa Cissé

    Thank you for such a great job!! It will help me to get students engaged in activities on past simple.

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