Unit 6.1

Past Simple Negative

Introduction

The past simple is the tense used to express situations, events and actions that happened in the past.

When expressed in its negative form, the verb denies something about the subject.

Form

The past simple of both regular and irregular* verbs in their negative form has this structure:
Subject + did + not + verb + …

  • Did is the past form of the verb do.
  • Short form of the negative form is didn’t.
Subject did + not Verb Short Form
I did not work didn’t
You did not work didn’t
He did not work didn’t
She did not work didn’t
It did not work didn’t
We did not work didn’t
You did not work didn’t
They did not work didn’t

*Questions and negatives of irregular verbs have the same structure as regular verbs.

Example

  1. didn’t plant some trees.
    You didn’t go to work.
  2. didn’t play volleyball when I was a child.
    We didn’t smoke when we were younger.
  3. She didn’t came to my birthday party last year.
    They didn’t eat at the restaurant yesterday. 

Use

We use past simple, in the negative form, to deny:

  1. actions, situations and events that occurred and finished in the past;
  2. repeated events and habits that took place in the past;
  3. past events and with time expressions such as: two weeks agolast yearin 2010yesterday

Summary

We use the past simple, in its negative form, to deny situations that occurred and finished in the past.

When we use the past simple in its negative form, we start with the subject followed by did not and the base form of the verb.

For example:
— “They didn’t work on an important project yesterday.” = The sentence is in the past simple negative, so we use did not followed by the base form of the verb to work (didn’t work).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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