Past Indefinite Tense

Past indefinite tense is also known as present simple tense. This tense is used to express actions that have occurred in the past. It states the following two types of past actions.

  An action that occurred just a little while ago 
I ate an apple.
He caught a bird in the bushes.
I met a friend in the market.

 An action that occurred on regular basis in past.
She worked in a factory.
The people paid less taxes in past.
The people believed in superstitions in ancient times.

Note. If you are a new learner of tenses, you should only focus on the first type of past actions for now. This is because past indefinite tense is mainly used for expressing an action that occurred a while ago. The second usage of this tense is relatively rare and would confuse the new learners.

Structure of Sentence:

Main verb: 2nd form of verb (past Indefinite form)

Remember, 2nd form of verb is used only in positive sentences. In negative and question sentences, 1st form of verb is used as the main verb, and ‘did’ is used as auxiliary verb.


 Subject + main verb + object.
 Subject + 2nd form of verb + object.

I ate an apple.
He bought a laptop.
She broke the cup.
He gifted me a book.
I met him in the library.
We saw a joker in the street.
He solved the problem.
They won a prize.
I wrote him a letter.
They informed us.
She kissed the baby.
He laughed to hear the joke.
I gave him some food.
He caught a fish in the river.
She made tea for the guests.
I accepted his invitation.
He participated in the competition.
He surprised me.


In a negative sentence, ‘did not’ is used and 1st form of verb is used.

 Subject + helping verb + not + main verb + object
 Subject + did + not + 1st form of verb + object

He did not go to school.
She did not eat the food.
He did not buy a car.
She did not win the game.
They did not complete the task.
I did not meet him.
You did not answer the question correctly.
They did not enjoy the party.
The dog did not bite him.
We did not finish our work.
The kids did not like the movie.
He did not pass the exam.
She did not make a painting.
He did not get the job.


The question sentence starts with ‘did’ and 1st form of verb is used in the sentence.

 Helping verb + subject + main verb + object
 Did + subject + 1st form of verb + object

Did he bring his camera with him?
Did she go to the market?
Did he receive my letter?
Did she clean her room?
Did they move to a new house?

Did we play well?
Did he come here?
Did she sing a song?
Did I answer correctly?
Did they buy a car?
Did you see him?
Did he help you?
Did you ask any question?
Did they start their work?