Try sofatutor for 30 Days

Discover why over 1.6 MILLION students choose sofatutor!

Past Tense Verbs


Be the first to give a rating!
The authors
Team Digital
Past Tense Verbs

Basics on the topic Past Tense Verbs

Past Tense Verbs – Introduction

Verbs are words in a sentence which tell you what someone or something is doing. Let’s review the definitions for verbs and their past forms:

Verbs are action words in the English language. They describe what something or someone is doing. Some examples of verbs are: open, want, run, forget, climb.

When we describe an action in the past, we need to use the past tense form of the verbs. Here are some examples of past tense verbs: opened, wanted, ran, forgot, put, climbed.


Past Tense Verbs – Regular Verbs

When we form regular past tense verbs, we usually add the letters -ed at the end of a base verb. For example:

Base Verb Past Tense Verb

You can turn a sentence about the present action into a sentence about action in the past, by following three steps:

  • First, identify the verb in the sentence.
  • Then, identify the base verb.
  • Finally, add the letters -ed at the end of the verb.


Let’s practice and turn the sentence He opens a window. into a sentence about the action in the past. First, we find a verb - opens. Then, we need to identify the base verb, which means the verb with no changes. The base verb is open. Now we can add the letters -ed. The sentence in the past is: He opened a window.

Past Tense Verbs – Irregular Verbs

But not all past tense verbs follow the rule of adding the letters -ed at the end. Some of them change in a different way. They are called irregular verbs. Some examples of irregular verbs are: make, be, do, stand, forget, buy.

When we want to use irregular verbs in the past tense, we sometimes have to change the whole word. For example, to use the verb make in the past, we need to change the consonant k to d. It means that make becomes made in the past tense.

Some past tense action verbs don’t change at all! For example, verbs like cut, hit, put, quit stay exactly the same in the past.


To learn common English irregular verbs and spell them correctly, check out our past tense verbs list for irregular verbs:

Base Form Past Form Base Form Past Form Base Form Past Form
be was / were fall fell see saw
become became feel felt sleep slept
begin began get got speak spoke
break broke go went stand stood
bring brought have had swim swam
buy bought know knew take took
come came leave left teach taught
cost cost make made tell told
cut cut meet met think thought
do did put put understand understood
drink drank read read win won
eat ate run ran write wrote

If you would like to learn more about irregular verbs, check out the video on irregular verbs in their past form.

Past Tense Verbs – Summary

Let’s review what we have learned about past tense verbs.

  • Verbs are action words that describe what something or someone is doing.
  • We add the letters ed to regular verbs, when we use them in the past.
  • Some verbs break this rule and change completely. They are called irregular verbs.

Now you know how to use verbs in the past correctly. For more practice, watch the video, download the past tense verbs worksheet, and check out the activities!

Frequently Asked Questions about Past Tense Verbs

What are past tense verbs?
How do we make simple past tense verbs?
What are some sentences with past tense verbs?
What are 10 examples of past tense verbs?

Transcript Past Tense Verbs

: "Alright, Kala, everything is ready for this years hot air balloon ride!" : "Wait a second, Dee, the ropes aren't tied to the basket!" : "But why are there words written on the ropes?" Dee and Kala need to match the words on the rope with the letters written on the basket. Let's help our friends figure out this puzzle by learning about past tense verbs. Have you ever needed to describe an action in the past? You can describe that action using a verb in PAST TENSE. You might already know about verbs, or action words that tell what something or someone does. How do verbs change in past tense? Let's take a look at the first verb on Dee and Kala's rope to start. First identify the verb that you want to put in past tense, here it's walk. To put verbs in past tense, we usually put the letters and on the end. That turns our verb, walk, into walked! : "Great job, Kala!" : "Thank you, but what do we do with the word run?" While MOST verbs follow the rule of adding on the end, there are some that don't. Instead of adding to the end, the entire word changes! To put the verb run in past tense, we need to change the vowel to . What happens to the verb run when we change the vowel? Run becomes ran in past tense! : "Phew, that one was hard!" : "Well, I think this one might be even harder (...) what is hit in past tense?" We can help our friends one last time by creating past tense verbs! Hit is also a rule breaker... it does NOT follow the rule... and it ALSO does NOT change to become a different word like when run becomes ran. How do you think we say hit in past tense? The verb hit does not change at all! Hit in past tense is (...) hit! : "We did it, Dee!" : "We're ready to go!" While our friends start their ride, let's remember. Today we learned about past tense verbs. Remember, verbs are action words that describe what someone or something is doing. We learned about a rule that most verbs follow in the past tense... by adding the letters , and to the end. We also learned about some verbs that break this rule and change completely... and some verbs that don't change at ALL! Now, let's see how Dee and Kala's ride turned out. : "Wow, this is the best view yet!" : "It's beautiful!"

Past Tense Verbs exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Past Tense Verbs.
  • What is a verb?


    In the sentence Jack will jump high, jump is the verb.

    A verb is not a word used to describe how someone feels.


    A verb is an action word used to describe what someone or something does.

  • When do we use the past tense?


    We would use a past tense verb to describe what we did yesterday.

    In the sentence Kylie played hide and seek last week, played is the past tense verb.


    We use the past tense to describe an action that happened in the past.

  • What 3 things can happen to a verb when it changes to the past tense?


    In the sentence Rob talked to Adam, we added ed to the verb.

    The past form of the verb ride is rode. In this verb, the vowel changes.


    3 things can happen when a verb changes to the past tense:

    • ed can be added to the end of the verb
    • the vowel in the verb can change
    • the verb can stay exactly the same

  • Which rule does each verb follow in the past tense?



    Here are the correct answers.

  • Do you know the past forms of these verbs?


    The past tense of teach is taught.

    The past tense of cost is cost.


    Walk follows the common rule of adding ed at the end.
    Eat, take and teach change their form in the past tense.
    Cost and cut keep their same form in the past tense.

  • What are the missing past tense forms of the verbs?


    The turtle swam in the sea.

    This sentence has swim in the past tense.

    Tom hurt his leg.

    The verb hurt stays the same in the past tense.


    You can describe an action in the past by using a verb in the past tense.