Past Indefinite Tense (Part – 2)

In this article, you will learn

– The different Uses of the Past Indefinite Tense

– How to Teach the Past Indefinite Tense in the ESL Classroom

– The Advantages of Using the Past Indefinite Tense in Academic Writing


The grammar world in each and every language is really inevitable. If you wish to learn any language, you should learn some basic grammar first. We are going to learn the past indefinite tense here from basic with all the important rules. Let’s cut to the chase!

What is the Past Indefinite Tense?

It is the simple past tense with past forms to show past incidents and events. You should go through the first part of the past indefinite tense to understand the concept completely.

How to Form the Past Indefinite Tense

You need to use a basic structure to form this simple past tense. As you are aware of tenses.

The present tense

The past tense

The future tense

There are three main tenses. This tense takes the past form of the verb. Look at the below table to understand it.

Present (V1) Past (V2) Past Participle (V3)
Go Went Gone
Come Came Come
Think Thought Thought
Study Studied Studied
Speak Spoke Spoken
Understand Understood Understood
Write Wrote Written
Talk Talked Talked
Play Played Played
Learn Leaned Learned

In this table, you can easily see the three different forms of verbs. There are a lot of action verbs, but only a few are mentioned here.

The past (V2) form of the verb is used in the past simple tense. Let me show you some examples now!


How to use Affirmative Sentences (all subjects + V2)

Romeo arrived here 2 days ago.

We visited the Taj Mahal last week.

How to use Negative Sentences (all subjects + did not + V1)

They did not meet me.

I did not finish my work yesterday.

How to use Interrogative Sentences (W.H.F + did + Sub+ V1)

W.H.F – there are 10 words to make questions. These start from either ‘W’ or ‘H’.

What, When, Why, Who, Whose, Whom, Which, Where

How (is the only word that starts with ‘H’)

What did you eat yesterday?

When did they go to Goa?

When to Use the Past Indefinite Tense

Although there are multiple uses of this tense. We use it to express our past actions, habits, and events generally indicated by these adverbs of frequency.

Often, seldom, normally, usually, generally, occasionally, sometimes, never, always, frequently, rarely, daily, used to or would, etc.

1) He always went to school on time.

2) We seldom visited any restaurant.

3) Neha occasionally ate chocolates.

4) I rarely fought with anyone in my class.

5) He frequently took a holiday last week.

6) We never abused our teachers.

7) They usually bunked the class.

8) I sometimes reached home late.

9) Kamal used to go for a morning walk.

10) We would wake up early in the morning.

Adverbs show adverbs at any point in time in the past.

Earlier, ago, back, before, yesterday, a day before yesterday, the other day, the other morning, last week/ year/ month/ time, or with any past date (1947, 1999, etc.)

1) I learned German earlier.

2) They met me long ago.

3) The students scored good marks in the last test.

4) She bought belts last week.

5) They met each other yesterday.

6) We went to the market two days before.

7) Michael received his order the day before yesterday.

8) We won the battle in 1999.

With these time expressions

It is about time/ it is time/ it is high time + Past indefinite (V2)

These time expressions show the time when someone started anything.

1) It is time India won the World Cup.

2) It is the time I joined Cognizant technical solutions.

3) It is high time they started preparing for the examination.

This is how you can use this tense in order to know more about the past indefinite tense, click here to learn some different usages.


I hope you learned these ways to use this tense. It is the second part, do visit the first part to learn it completely. Thanks for visiting us.

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