Learning English Made Easy
Rules of Using Simple Past Tense

Past Tense is used to determine the action of a verb that began in the past. Based on the formation of the sentence, It can also be used to describe the moment that took place near the present time.


Simple Past Tense takes the structure:

a. Ram + went + to the market.
b. They + slept + early at night.
c. I + ate + the cake.

Here, ( v) represents the Past form of the verb. Read Now:

Moving on, We will be discussing certain rules, and the uses of Simple Past Tense with Examples. Let’s Begin.

Rule 1 – Action Completed at a Certain Time

  1. I lived in New Delhi in the year 2003.
  2. I got up at 5:30 AM this morning.
  3. I fought with my sister over the breakfast.

Rule 2 – Action Completed but the Time is not Certain

  1. I don’t remember when, I saw the sunrise last time.
  2. She didn’t sleep well.
  3. Ashoka learnt English in Patna.

Rule 3 – Habits of a Person

  1. I studied for 5 hours everyday.
  2. He owned many shares of Reliance Industries.
  3. She wore beautiful dresses in high school.

Rule 4 – Phrasal Expressions

Simple Past Tense is used after the Phrasal Expressions, such as, it is time, it is high time, it is about time, etc. 


For Example:

  1. It is time, he started serving food.
  2. It is high time, she sang before the opera.
  3. It is about time, they began respecting my decisions.

Rule 5 – Describe a Situation in Life

  1. My brother was helpless.
  2. I had mental issues during my examination.
  3. It was summer when he asked me for marriage.

Rule 6 – Alternative Actions

In an alternative situation, Simple Past Tense is used to express an action to be done in the past.


For Example:

  1. While they played, we studied.
  2. When my daughter disturbed, I worked.
  3. While it rained, she practiced violin.

Rule 7 – A Supposition

Simple Past Tense is used to express an assumption or a supposition with the words like, if, as if, as though, if only, etc. 


For Example:

  1. He orders me as if he were my master.
  2. She carries an umbrella even though it didn’t rain.
  3. I carry an umbrella if only it rained heavily.

Rule 8 – Conditional Sentences

  1. If you reached the station in time, you might catch the train.
  2. If I went to Agra, I would see the Taj Mahal.

Rule 9 – Direct to Indirect Speech

  1. He said, “He wants to read a novel”. (Direct)
    He said that He wanted to read  a novel. (Indirect)
  2. Rahim wrote, “He manages the firm alone”. (Direct)
    Rahim wrote that He managed the firm alone. (Indirect)

Rule 10 – Continued Action

Simple Past Tense is used to show the action taking place after the continued action is shown by using Past Continuous Tense, as follows:


  1. While he was watering the plants, an insect bit him.
  2. While the girls were dancing, their father came to see them.
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