How do you form the past tense in English?


Quick Answer

To form the simple past tense with most verbs in English, add "-ed" to the end of the verb. For example, the past tense of the verb "play" is "played." Certain verbs are exceptions and change differently.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

If the last letter of a verb is "e," only add a "d" to the end. For example, "dance" becomes "danced."

In words that end with a consonant followed by vowel and another consonant, double the last consonant before adding "-ed." For example, the word "commit" becomes "committed." However, two-syllable words that stress the first syllable don't follow this rule and instead just add the "-ed." Another exception occurs if the word's final consonant is "w," "x" or "y," in which case it also only adds "-ed."

Irregular verbs are those that don't have a past tense with the "-ed" ending. Examples include the past tense of the word "go," which is "went." Since these irregular verbs don't follow any rules, you should memorize them.

The verb doesn't change to the past tense for negative sentences or questions. Negative sentences use the present tense of the verb combined with "did not," while questions combine it with "did." For example, the negative version of "He lived there" is "He did not live there." A past tense question for this example is "Did he live there?"

Learn more about Education

Related Questions