How do we make the Past Simple Tense?

There are two basic structures for the Past Simple tense:

1. Positive sentences

subject + main verb
Past Simple

2. Negative and question sentences

subject + auxiliary do + main verb
conjugated in Past Simple  
did base

Look at these examples with the main verbs go (irregular) and work (regular):

  subject auxiliary verb   main verb  
+ I     went to school.
You     worked very hard.
- She did not go with me.
We did not work yesterday.
? Did you   go to London?
Did they   work at home?

From the above table, notice the following points...

For positive sentences:

For negative and question sentences:

Emphatic did
Normally, for positive sentences we do not use the auxiliary did. But if we want to emphasize (stress) something, or contradict something, we may use it. For example: "I didn't use a spellchecker but I did use a dictionary." Here are some more examples:
  • "Why didn't you go to the party?" / "I did go."
  • It did seem a bit strange.
  • After drinking it I did in fact feel better.

Past Simple with main verb be

The structure of the Past Simple with the main verb be is:

subject + main verb be
conjugated in Past Simple
was, were

Look at these examples with the main verb be:

  subject main verb be    
+ I, he/she/it was   here.
You, we, they were   in London.
- I, he/she/it was not there.
You, we, they were not happy.
? Was I, he/she/it   right?
Were you, we, they   late?

From the above table, notice the following points...