Past Tense Verbs

Past Tense Verbs | Useful List With Rules and Examples

Learning many different past tense verbs is essential for English language learners if they are to talk about the past in English. Learning the past tense can, however, be quite challenging for students because there are regular and irregular past tense verbs and different rules for changing a verb into the past tense.

On this vocabulary page, you can find a list of regular and irregular past tense verbs with example sentences. We will also explain the simple past tense rules and how to make regular verbs into the past tense. And, check out the bottom of the page for related resources for learning and teaching about the past tense.

Regular Past Tense Verbs List

With regular verbs, there are certain rules to follow to change the verb into the past tense. Below we will explain these rules and provide examples of regular past tense verbs with example sentences.

Past Tense Rule 1 | Add -ed

Past Tense Rules 1

With most regular verbs, to make the past tense we simply add -ed to the end of the verb. Here are some examples of common past tense verbs that end in –ed.

  • watch – watched – I watched a movie yesterday.
  • play – played – Chris played soccer with his friends before school.
  • talk – talked – We talked on the phone for hours last night.
  • start – started – Kelly started to dance when she heard the music.
  • cook – cooked – Mum cooked a delicious meal for lunch.
  • walk – walked – I walked to work today.
  • show – showed – I showed my ticket to get on the train.
  • rain – rained – It rained all morning.
  • learn – learned – I learned a lot at school today.
  • clean – cleaned – I cleaned my room before going to sleep.
  • wash – washed – Dad washed the dishes after dinner.
  • wait – waited – I waited at the bus stop for 30 minutes.
  • want – wanted – I wanted to see a movie but the tickets were sold out.
  • need – needed – Matt needed to drink some water after his workout.
  • end – ended – The movie ended before I even arrived.

Past Tense Rule 2 | Add -d

Past Tense Rules 2

If a regular verb ends in the letter ‘e’, then to make the past tense, simply add –d. Here are some examples of common past tense verbs that end in –d.

  • like – liked – I liked your performance today. It was really good.
  • close – closed – I closed my eyes and immediately fell asleep.
  • smile – smiled – Kelly smiled at me and I smiled back.
  • type – typed – Chris typed his essay on his computer.
  • race – raced – I raced here as fast as I could.
  • care – cared – Sally cared for her sick puppy yesterday.
  • bake – baked – Mom baked cookies. They smell delicious.
  • escape – escaped – 5 people escaped from prison today.

Past Tense Rule 3 | Add -ied

Past Tense Rules 3

If a verb ends in a consonant followed by the letter ‘y’, then to change into a past tense verb, take off the ‘y‘ and add –ied. For example, the word ‘cry’ ends in a consonant (r) followed by ‘y’. So, cry becomes cried.

Here are some examples of common past tense verbs that end in y.

  • cry – cried – I cried after reading the book. It was such a sad story.
  • fry – fried – For breakfast, I fried some eggs.
  • try – tried – Chris tried to win the race.
  • carry – carried – Kelly’s boyfriend carried the shopping bags for her.
  • study – studied – I studied all night for the test.
  • marry – married – My parents got married in 1975.
  • worry – worried – I worried all day about the results of the test.

Past Tense Rule 4 | Double The Consonant And Add -ed

Past Tense Rules 4

If a regular verb ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, then double the consonant and add –ed. This is the rule, except for words ending in the letter ‘x’.

Here are some examples of common past tense verbs which follow this rule.

  • stop – stopped – The baby stopped crying when his mom picked him up.
  • plan – planned – The teacher planned a fun lesson.
  • hop – hopped – The rabbit hopped away when it saw me.
  • clap – clapped – The audience clapped loudly at the end of the concert.
  • jog – jogged – I jogged for 5 miles yesterday.
  • beg – begged – The boy begged his teacher not to call his mom.
  • fan – fanned – I fanned my face with a newspaper as it was so hot.
  • rip – ripped – Chris ripped his jeans when bent over to pick something up.
  • zip – zipped – I zipped up my jacket as it was cold.

Irregular Past Tense Verbs List

Unlike regular past tense verbs, irregular past tense verbs don’t follow any easy to remember rules. And so, students simply need to memorize irregular past tense verbs.

Here is a list of common irregular past tense verbs with example sentences.

  • go – went – I went to the zoo yesterday.
  • see – saw – I saw an elephant at the zoo.
  • come – came – Mom came home at 11 o’clock.
  • read – read – I read an interesting book last night.
  • write – wrote – Kelly wrote a letter to Chris.
  • meet – met – I met my friends for lunch today.
  • eat – ate – We ate spaghetti and pizza.
  • buy – bought – I bought a new jacket last weekend.
  • is – was – Yesterday, the weather was terrible.
  • make – made – Chris made a robot at school today.
  • sleep – slept – I slept until midday.
  • wear – wore – I wore my new jacket to school today.
  • win – won – England won the 1966 World Cup.
  • bring – brought – I brought sandwiches for lunch.
  • catch – caught – Yesterday, my father and I caught a lot of fish.
  • choose – chose – I chose this dress. What do you think?
  • cut – cut – I cut my finger when I was cooking yesterday.
  • dig – dug – The dog dug a big hole in the garden.
  • draw – drew – Kelly drew a picture of the dog.
  • drink – drank – The teacher drank 2 cups of coffee this morning.
  • drive – drove – We drove all night to get here.
  • fall – fell – I fell down yesterday, but I am okay.
  • fight – fought – My great grandfather fought in World War 2.
  • fly – flew – I flew here from Canada.
  • find – found – I found this wallet. Is it yours?
  • get – got – Chris got a new watch for his birthday.
  • give – gave – Kelly gave Chris a new watch for his birthday.
  • hear – heard – I heard that it’s your birthday today. Happy birthday.
  • hide – hid – We hid behind the sofa to surprise Chris on his birthday.
  • know – knew – Chris knew about the surprise party.
  • lose – lost – I lost my wallet. Have you seen it?
  • pay – paid – I paid a lot of money for this dress.
  • ride – rode – We rode our bikes in the park at the weekend.
  • run – ran – The dog just ran across the road.
  • say – said – The doctor said you should get some rest.
  • sing – sang – The choir sang beautifully.
  • sit – sat – The students all sat down in their seats.
  • speak – spoke – I spoke to my grandma last week.
  • take – took – I took a shower at 8 am.
  • think – thought – Chris thought the test was on Monday.
  • wake – woke – I woke up at 7:30.
  • break – broke – Yesterday, I fell over and broke my glasses.

Resources To Teach The Past Tense

Here are some free resources you can use to teach past tense verbs in English.