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.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian musician and composer. He started composing at the age of five. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian musician and composer. He started composing at the age of five.

 

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.
I work in a travel agency now. Before that I worked in a shop. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
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.
We invited her to our party but she decided not to come. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
We invited her to our party but she decided not to come.

 

  • The police stopped me on my way home last night.
The police stopped me on my way home last night. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
The police stopped me on my way home last night.

 

  • She passed her examination because she studied very hard.
She passed her examination because she studied very hard. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
She passed her examination because she studied very hard.

 

But many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed. For example:

Write, wrote (Many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed.) - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

  • Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music.
Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music.

 

See, saw (Many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed.) - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

  • We saw Emily in town a few days ago.
We saw Emily in town a few days ago. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
We saw Emily in town a few days ago.

 

Go, went (Many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed.) - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

  • We went to the cinema four times last week.
We went to the cinema four times last week. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
We went to the cinema four times last week.

 

Shut, shut (Many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in -ed.) - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

  • It was cold, so I shut the window.
It was cold, so I shut the window. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
It was cold, so I shut the window.

 

In questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + infinitive (enjoy/see/go etc.).

In questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + infinitive (enjoy/see/go etc.). - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

  • Did you go out last night?”  “Yes, we went to the cinema but we didn’t enjoy the film much.”
“Did you go out last night?” “Yes, we went to the cinema but we didn’t enjoy the film much.” - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
“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.”
“When did Mr. Jackson die?” “About ten years ago.” - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
“When did Jackson die?” “About ten years ago.”

 

  • Did you have time to write the letter?”  “No, I didn’t.”
“Did you have time to write the letter?” “No, I didn’t.” - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
“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”)
What did you do at the weekend? - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
What did you do at the weekend?

 

  • I didn’t do anything. (not “I didn’t anything”)
I didn’t do anything. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
I didn’t do anything.

 

The past of be (am/is/are) is was/were:

The past of be (am/is/are) is was/were. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)

Note that we do not use did in negatives and questions with was/were:

  • Was the weather good when you were on holiday?
Was the weather good when you were on holiday? - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
Was the weather good when you were on holiday?

 

  • They weren’t able to come because they were so busy.
They weren’t able to come because they were so busy. - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
They weren’t able to come because they were so busy.

 

  • Did you go out last night or were you too tired?
Did you go out last night or were you too tired? - English Grammar - Past simple (I did)
Did you go out last night or were you too tired?