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 department store.
– We invited them to our party, but they decided not to come.
– The police stopped me on my way home last night.
– Laura 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
See → saw
Go → went
Shut → shut
– Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music.
– We saw Rose in town a few days ago.
– I went to the cinema three 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/she/they enjoy/see/go?
I/she/they didn’t enjoy/see/go
– A: Did you go out last night?
B: Yes, I went to the cinema, but I didn’t enjoy the film much.
– ‘When did Mr Thomas die?’ ‘About ten years ago.’
– They didn’t invite her to the party, so she didn’t go.
– ‘Did you have time to write the letter?’ ‘No, I didn’t.’
In the following examples, do is the main verb in the sentence (did… do / didn’t do)
– 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:
– I was angry because they were late.
– Was the weather good when you were on holiday?