Forming Questions in Past Tense

Posted on Sep 23 2015 - 3:43am by Zdenda

It is really important that students learn to form questions in the past simple tense. If they don’t, they won’t be able to ask about the things that happened in the past. And as most conversations deal with the things that already happened it is vital to be able to ask about the details they are interested in.

In this post I would like to help you teach your students form questions in the past simple tense using the auxiliary DID. This post will not deal with the verb TO BE in the past tense. You can find a post on the verb TO BE in questions here.
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You will find here two videos, an infographic and several interactive exercises. I hope you like it.

Question words

Before dealing with questions in the past tense, it is important to revise the question words with your students. It is shocking how many students struggle with such a simple, yet crucial, thing.
First play the video and ask the students to watch and say the question words – best before they see them on the screen.

Then, cut the following worksheet into five stripes and ask the students to write the appropriate question words there.

Wh question words worksheet

Now you can move to forming questions in the past simple tense.

Forming questions in past tense – explanation

Start the explanation with eliciting the affirmative sentences formation. Explain that there is one basic rule in English and it is called SVOMPT. All English sentences have to follow this rule. At the beginning there is a subject and it is followed by a verb and then there is the rest of the sentence.

If you use the following infographic ask the students to fold the paper, so they can see only the last three rectangles.

Forming questions in the past simple tense

To form a question in the past tense, just add DID at the beginning of the sentence and put the verb into its basic form. If you want to get a more complex answer, put a question word at the beginning. And there you are. Now you can form questions in the past simple tense.

Here you can see a video on how to form questions in the past simple tense.


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Forming questions in Past simple tense – games

The following quiz can help your students practise forming questions in the past tense. They can do it either at school or at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should match the beginnings and ends of the questions. In the second part, students have to write the questions in the past simple tense. The students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.

Questions in the past simple tense – quiz
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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Gabriela 05/10/2016 at 7:28 pm -

    Thank you. It is very useful.

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