|ESL BLUE(s)|| Formation of Past Tense |
KEY: To help you understand the structure of the sentence:verb forms are in blue, and the direct object is in bold text.
- the subject of the sentence is in italics,
|Who organized the party?
||Bill organized it.
|Who did he invite?
||He invited all his friends and colleagues.
|How many people went? ||About thirty people went.
|Did you enjoy yourself?||Yes, I enjoyed myself very much. (Yes, I did.)
|What time did you leave?||I left around midnight.
|Were you alone? ||No, I wasn't alone. I was with Elisabeth.
|Why didn't you stay longer?||I didn't stay longer because I was tired.
Use the past tense forms (listened, cried, saw, was/were etc.)
- in affirmative statements:
- She saw the movie and she liked it.
- in questions when the question word (who, what, how much/many, which) is the subject:
- Who saw the accident?
- What happened exactly?
- How many people went to hospital?
- in all cases (affirmative, negative, interrogative) with the verb "TO BE"
- -- Were you and Bob at the party?
-- I was there, but Bob wasn't.
Use the base form of the verb (the infinitive without "to) with the auxiliary 'did'
- to ask all other types of questions, that is, when the question words are not the subject of the sentence. (See for yourself. Click here.)
- Did you see the accident?
- How many people did they take to the hospital?
- What did the policemen and the paramedics do?
Watch out! We rarely use the present perfect to refer to past events.
- to form the past tense negative:
- I didn't see the accident?
- They didn't take anybody to the hospital?
- Why didn't the police do something?
For troubleshooting quizzes on the present perfect go to the main index.
- Yesterday I saw an accident.
- Yesterday I
have seen an accident.
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