Simple past of regular verbs

The simple past is used to describe an action that occurred and was completed in the past. The simple past is formed by adding -ed to the base form of the verb (the infinitive without to).

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 * en español
 * en français
base
form
+ ed = simple
past
walk walked
push pushed
greet greeted
watch watched

In English, the simple past of regular verbs is extremely easy. It is the same for all persons. Here are example sentences of the simple past with the verb WORK.

  singular   plural
1st per I worked yesterday. We worked yesterday.
2nd per You worked yesterday. You worked yesterday.
3rd per He, She, It worked yesterday. They worked yesterday.

There are several irregularities regarding orthography (spelling) for the simple past ending of regular verbs. Similarly, there are different ways to pronounce this ending. See the lesson on pronunciation of the Simple Past -ed ending to learn more.

For regular verbs ending in the vowel -e, add -d.

base
form
  simple
past
hate hated
seize seized
hope hoped
assume assumed
tie tied
free freed

For the very few English verbs that end in a vowel other than -e, add -ed.

base
form
  simple
past
ski skied
echo echoed

Exceptions: The verbs DO and GO are irregular: See below.

For regular verbs that end in a vowel+y, add -ed.

base
form
  simple
past
play played
decay decayed
survey surveyed
enjoy enjoyed

Exceptions: The verbs SAY and BUY are irregular: See below.

For regular verbs that end in a consonant+y, change the -y to -i and add -ed.

base
form
  simple
past
cry cried
dirty dirtied
magnify magnified

Exception: The verb FLY is irregular: See below.

For regular verbs ending in a consonant + vowel + consonant, double the final consonant before adding -ed.

base
form
  simple
past
dam dammed
beg begged
plan planned
strip stripped

In American English, when the regular verb has more than one syllable and the syllable stress is on the final syllable, the final consonant is doubled.

base
form
  simple
past
  incorrect
defer deferred defered
regret regretted regreted
reship reshipped reshiped
compel compelled compeled

In these verbs, the syllable stress is not on the final syllable so the consonant is not doubled.

base
form
  simple
past
  incorrect
orbit orbited orbitted
listen listened listenned
travel traveled travelled
consider considered considerred

Here are examples with regular verbs in the simple present and the simple past.

simple present   simple past
I walk to school. I walked to school.
She works downtown. She worked downtown.
They help on Tuesday. They helped on Tuesday.
He asks a lot of questions. He asked a lot of questions.

Irregular verbs form the past tense by a change in orthography (spelling).

base
form
  simple
past
buy bought
do did
fly flew
forget forgot
light lit
go went
say said
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