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Verbs - Irregular Past Tense - 5

Verbs - Irregular Past Tense - 5

 

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Irregular Past – 5

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the last group of irregular past tense forms. This group is related in a way that we will learn about a future lesson. These verbs are related in another tense form, so we will learn them together in this tense. As we learned before, there is no real way to predict how each verb will look in the simple past tense. The irregular verbs must be memorized.

The simple past tense forms for the verb "to be" are "was" and "were". As we have learned in a previous lesson, the irregular verbs are the most common verbs. Much use is what causes them to change. So it stands to reason that the common verb "to be" is very irregular.

The pronouns "I, he, she, it," and a singular subject such as "Jennifer" use the simple past tense "was". The pronouns "you, we, they," and a plural subject such as "David and Jennifer" use the simple past tense "were". For example, we might say "Jennifer was busy yesterday." and "David and Jennifer were hungry for hamburgers last night.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to eat" is "ate". We might say "David and Jennifer ate breakfast at 6:30 yesterday morning." or "I ate a candy car for lunch.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to fly" is "flew". We might say "The international visitors flew here last week." or "The baby bird flew away from its mother.".

The simple past tense of the verb "get" is "got". Similarly, the simple past tense of the verb "to forget" is forgot.".For example, we might say "David forgot to take his lunch to work yesterday." or "I forgot the man's name.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to give" is "gave". Jennifer could say "David gave me a birthday gift.". The simple past tense of the verb "to go" is "went". We could say "David went to work early this morning.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to see" is "saw". Jennifer might say "I saw Mrs. Smith today.".The simple past tense of the verb "to speak" is "spoke.". Jennifer could say "The international visitors spoke English.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to wear" is "wore." We might say "David wore a blue shirt to work yesterday.".

Now that we have seen the simple past tenses of these verbs, let us listen to the dialog. In this dialog, David is looking for something to eat. He is very preoccupied by his hunger.

David: I am hungry. Where were you?

Jennifer:  I was out. I saw Mrs. Smith at the store.       

David: When did you go to the store?

Jennifer:  I went early this morning.

David: Did you get some more tuna for my lunches?

Jennifer:  No, I forgot. But I got some mayonnaise and a loaf of bread.

David: So you saw Mrs. Smith? How is she?

Jennifer: Fine. She gave us an invitation to a picnic at their house.

David:  A picnic – that sounds like fun. I am still hungry.

David begins this dialog by saying "I am hungry. Where were you?" We notice that David uses the simple past tense of the verb "to be" when he says 'Where were you?". As usual with the verb "to be", we do not need to use a "do" or "did" to form the question. We just invert the subject and verb to form the question.  Similar questions are "How are you?" in the simple present tense or "How was the movie?".

Jennifer answers "I was out. I saw Mrs. Smith at the store.".Jennifer uses a common expression which has a couple of meanings. One meaning is: out of the house. The other meaning is: unconscious. How do we know which Jennifer means? As always, we have to rely on the context. Jennifer seems to be fine; she is telling where she went, so we can fairly easily assume that she means she was out of the house, not unconscious. Jennifer says "I saw Mrs. Smith at the store.". In this utterance, she uses the simple past tense of the verb "to see", which is "saw.". As is the case with all the simple past tense forms except "was" and "were", the form "saw" stays the same regardless of the subject. We would say "Mrs. Smith saw Jennifer." or "we saw" or "he saw" or "they saw". All use the same simple past tense form.

David asks "When did you go to the store?". We see that he uses the signal word "did" for the simple past tense question. And he uses the base form of the verb "to go", which is "go".

Jennifer answers "I went early this morning.". We see that she uses the simple past tense of the verb "to go" which is "went". The simple past tense form stays the same regardless of the subject, except for the forms for "to be". So we might say "she went", "he went", "we went", or "they went".

David is very preoccupied with his hunger, so he asks "Did you get some more tuna for my lunches?". He might have asked "Did you get some tuna at the store? I need it for my lunches.". But he knows that Jennifer knows what he likes for his sack lunches, so he puts it all in one sentence. We see that he uses the signal word "did" with the base form of the verb "to get", which is "get".

Jennifer answers "No, I forgot. But I got some mayonnaise and a loaf of bread.". We notice that Jennifer uses the simple past tense of the verb "to forget" which is "forgot". It forms its simple past tense the same way as the verb "to get", as we see in the next sentence: "But I got some mayonnaise and a loaf of bread.".  

David says "So you saw Mrs. Smith? How is she?".David uses the simple past tense of the verb "to see", which is "saw".   The simple past tense form stays the same regardless of the subject, except for the forms for "to be". So we might say "I saw", "he saw", "we saw", or "they saw".

Jennifer answers "Fine. She gave us an invitation to a picnic at their house.". Jennifer might have said "Mrs. Smith is fine." or "She is fine.". She was able to truncate her utterance because she was answering David's precise question, so there is no possibility of misunderstanding when she answers simply "Fine.".

Jennifer then says "She gave us an invitation to a picnic at their house.".  See that she uses the simple past tense of the verb "to give", which is "gave". We could use the form "gave" with any subject, regardless of whether the subject is singular, plural, first, second or third person. "I gave, you gave, we gave, they gave, he gave, she gave, Mrs. Smith gave, Mr. and Mrs. Smith gave".

Of course, David is still preoccupied by his hunger. "A picnic --", he says. "that sounds like fun.". The expression "That sounds like fun." is a common expression meaning (translate: that sounds like fun). He could also have said "A picnic sounds like fun.".If we are watching an activity that looks enjoyable, we can say "Thatlooks like fun." or "That seems like fun.".  

Finally David reminds Jennifer that he is still hungry. "I am still hungry." The adverb "still" means ongoing without stopping. David wants Jennifer to know he has not stopped being hungry.

Now that we have examined the dialog, let us listen again. Pay attention to the simple past tenses.

David:  I am hungry. Where were you?

Jennifer:  I was out. I saw Mrs. Smith at the store.            

David:  When did you go to the store?

Jennifer:  I went early this morning.

David: Did you get some more tuna for my lunches?

Jennifer:  No, I forgot. But I got some mayonnaise and a loaf of bread.

David: So you saw Mrs. Smith? How is she?

Jennifer: Fine. She gave us an invitation to a picnic at their house.

David:  A picnic – that sounds like fun. I am still hungry.

Great! Your English is improving. You now know many of the irregular past tenses in English. You are able to follow complex discussions. Enter into as many discussions in English as possible. "That sounds like fun!"