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Simple Past Tense #2, by Dennis Oliver

 
 

Simple Past Tense #2

 

English uses verbs in the simple past tense to refer to
actions, situations, or events that are finished and that
happened before now. There are three ways to form
simple past tense in English. One way is what happens
with the verb be: it uses the special forms was and were.
Another way is what happens with regular verbs.
(They are called regular because they all add the same
ending--ed--or some variation on it.)

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The Simple Past: Regular Verbs

 

Regular verbs make their past tense by adding - d, - ed,
or (if the verb ends in a consonant + y), changing the y
to i and then adding - ed.

Examples:

Add -d:    baked, cared, eased, filed, greased,
hated, liked, piled, raced, seized,
smiled, typed, wheezed, whined
     
Change y
to i and
add -ed:
  apply / applied;
bury / buried;
cry / cried;
fry / fried;
hurry / hurried;
marry / married;
pry / pried;
spy / spied
try / tried
vary / varied
worry / worried
     
Add -ed:   

other regular verbs:

asked, belonged, clapped,
dialed, filled, guessed,
hopped, looked, marked,
needed, pulled, reached,
started, touched, viewed,
washed, yelled, zipped

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Special Notes:

1.   Add only - d if a regular verb ends in one or more
vowels, a single consonant (except x), and e. See
the examples above.
     
2.  

If a regular verb ends in a single vowel and a single
consonant (except x), double the consonant before
you add -ed:

beg / begged; clap / clapped; fan / fanned;
hop / hopped; jog / jogged; mar / marred;
pin / pinned; rip / ripped; slam / slammed;
tan / tanned; whip / whipped; zip / zipped

Compare these verbs:

hop / hopped and hope / hoped;
pin / pinned and pine / pined

file / filed and fill / filled;
like / liked and lick / licked

     
3.  

If a regular verb has two or more syllables, if the
verb ends in l or r, and if the last syllable is stressed,
double the l or r before you add -ed:

compl / compelled;
confr / conferred;
contrl / controlled;
defr / deferred;
fulfl / fulfilled;
prefr / preferred;
propl / propelled

If a regular verb has two or more syllables, if the
verb ends in l or r, and if the last syllable is not
stressed, do not double the l or r, before you add -ed:

cncel / canceled;
hnor / honored;
sffer / suffered;
trvel / traveled

Note that British spelling does not use this rule.

     
4.  

If a regular verb ends in a consonant and y (or if
the final syllable of a regular verb ends in this way),
change the y to i and then add -ed:

apply / applied; bury / buried; cry / cried;
copy / copied; defy / defied; fry / fried;
falsify / falsified; hurry / hurried; modify / modified;
pity / pitied; qualify / qualified; reply / replied;
spy / spied; supply / supplied; try / tried

     
5.  

If a regular verb ends in a vowel and y (or if the
final syllable of a regular verb ends in this way),
do not change the y to i and then add -ed:

annoy / annoyed; dismay / dismayed; enjoy / enjoyed;
obey / obeyed; play / played; stay / stayed

     
6.  

If a regular verb ends in x, add only - ed. Do not
double the x:

box / boxed; fax / faxed; mix / mixed; tax / taxed

     
7.   Regular verbs ending in other spelling patterns usually
add -ed.

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Next: more on simple past tense
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