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Unit 5.2

Past Simple – Negative


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

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

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

  • Did: It is the past form of the verb “do”;
  • Verb: In the negative form we use the base form of the verb;
  • Short form of the negative form is “didn’t“.
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 of regular verbs.

  • I didn’t bake delicious biscuits yesterday.
  • He didn’t study a lot for the exams.
  • She didn’t do exercise last monday.
  • They didn’t travel around the world last year.

We use the past simple tense to talk about:

  • Short finished actions and events that didn’t occur;
  • Long finished situations that didn’t occur;
  • Repeated events and habits that did not take place in the past;
  • Past events that didn’t occur and we use time expressions such as: Two weeks ago, last year, in 2010, yesterday, etc.

We use the past simple tense when we wish to talk about situations that occurred in the past and have now concluded. When used in its negative form, something about the subject is denied.

The past simple in its negative form has this structure:
Subject + did + not + verb.

For example:
— “I didn’t learn.” = We use the past simple in its negative form to talk about a past event that didn’t occur.

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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