Study this example:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian musician and composer. He lived from 1756 to 1791. He started composing at the age of five and wrote more than 600 pieces of music. He was only 35 years old when he died.
Lived/started/wrote/was/died are all past simple.
Very often the past simple ends in -ed (regular verbs)
- I work in a travel agency now. Before that I worked in a shop.
- We invited her to our party but she decided not to come.
- The police stopped me on my way home last night.
- She passed her examination because she studied very hard.
But many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed. For example:
- Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music.
- We saw Emily in town a few days ago.
- We went to the cinema four times last week.
- It was cold, so I shut the window.
In questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + infinitive (enjoy/see/go etc.).
- “Did you go out last night?” “Yes, we went to the cinema but we didn’t enjoy the film much.”
- “When did Jackson die?” “About ten years ago.”
- “Did you have time to write the letter?” “No, I didn’t.”
Be careful when do is the main verb in the sentence:
- What did you do at the weekend? (not “what did you at the weekend”)
- I didn’t do anything. (not “I didn’t anything”)
The past of be (am/is/are) is was/were:
Note that we do not use did in negatives and questions with was/were:
- Was the weather good when you were on holiday?
- They weren’t able to come because they were so busy.
- Did you go out last night or were you too tired?