Some verbs like to live in the past. If a verb refers to something that already happened, it’s called a past tense verb -- and there are some rules you need to know about using it. Learn how to write (and, if you’re an adult, teach) past tense verbs with our stash of materials on grammar and English. We’ve got worksheets, workbooks, and games both on and offline.
English has three primary tenses with which we can describe verbs: past, present, and future. The past tense form of a verb tells us that the action being described took place in the past.
Most verbs fall into one of four categories:
Simple form - Adding -ed to the verb indicates the verb is past tense.
Example: funnelled, yelled
Past Progressive Form - Use was or were in conjunction with the present tense.
Example: was yelling, were running
Past Perfect Form - Use had with the simple form
Example: had yelled, had spelled
Past Perfect Progressive Form - Use had been with the present tense.
Example: had been yelling, had been running
Not all verbs can be shown in past tense by adding -ed to the end. Some verbs are irregular, and must be shown as past tense in different ways. Some examples of irregular verbs are:
Some irregular verbs have been updated, making a more common simple form acceptable. Some examples:
Previous Past Tense
New Past Tense
Understanding the sequence of events can increase a student’s comprehension of what they read. Being able to identify actions that took place before the current setting of a passage by recognizing past tense verbs will help them along. The resources provided by Education.com above allow students to practice this skill, helping them prepare for future lessons on the past tense.