Past simple tense – the form

Posted on May 1 2019 - 4:49am by Zdenda

In this post, I would like to share with you a set of materials which I have designed to teach the past simple tense. Using these worksheets my students learnt to form the past simple tense of the regular verbs, questions, negatives and the short answers. All these worksheets support autonomous learning and they are easy to use. I hope you will find them useful.

Regular verbs

It is easy to form the past simple tense of regular verbs. You just add the ending -ed. However, some spelling rules are tricky and that was why I created the following worksheet.

It is easy to use. You need one half of the worksheet for each student. You need to print it in colour. Hand it out and ask the students to study the examples. Then they should write the sentences 1-9 in the past simple tense. The colours should guide them.

Once they finish, check their answers. Then they should write the sentences 10-19 in the past simple tense.

Eva Gorna was kind enough to share a great idea on teaching the regular verbs in the past simple tense here.

In the following lesson, you can test your students using this test.

Irregular verbs

If you expect a miraculous method of teaching irregular verbs then I will disappoint you. After years of teaching, I think that students simply have to memorize the verbs. To help them with this arduous task I have created the following app and a list of 52 most common irregular verbs:

You can download the list of the 52 most frequent irregular verbs here:

Negatives in the past tense

Negatives are easy. However, to help my students I created the following colourful worksheet.

Once again, you need to print the worksheet in colour. Cut it in the middle and hand it out. Each student needs one copy. First, students study the examples and then they complete items 1-9. The colours will help them.

Check their answers, and then ask them to write the sentences 10-16 in the negative.

Questions in the past simple tense

In the past, my students always struggled with forming questions in the past simple tense. Introducing the following worksheet saved me a lot of explanations and I feel that my students can form the questions.

This time you need to print the whole page for each student and once again the worksheet needs to be in colour.

The students study the example and try to complete items 1-7. If you have a weak group, it is a good idea to ask them to complete the items 1-3 first and then 4-7. Check their answers and let them do the rest of the sentences up to number 17.

Then revise the question words. I use the following video to revise the question words:

Then I ask my students to study the next example in the worksheet and they try to write questions 18-21. I check their answers and they try to finish the worksheet.

Once they know how to form the questions, I print the following worksheet and cut it along the lines. (The text is hard to read on purpose. Otherwise, the students are tempted to show the cards to their friends instead of asking them.)

Give one card to each student and ask them to read it. Check that they understand their questions. Then students stand up and go around the classroom and ask and answer the questions.

If you want to have more fun in your classroom, or you just want to revise the grammar, you can play the following rap for your students.

Short answers

Now your students know how to form questions in the past simple tense, but they don’t know how to answer them correctly. To deal with the short answers, you need to print the following worksheet (in colour again 🙂 )

Students study the examples and then they complete the tables 1-5. Check their answers and let them fill in the tables 6-12. With this worksheet, your students will practise the questions and the short answers.


All these activites worked perfectly in my classes. I hope that they will be useful for you, too. Feel free to comment and share your ideas here.

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