Before you jump on to memorising different types of tenses in English grammar tables and timelines, take a moment to ask yourself – will you be able to recall, choose and apply the exact correct tense in the middle of a conversation? No. Nobody can unless you take 30 seconds to break before every line you speak. So how do you tackle errors of simple past tense?
Thus to improve your use of tenses you need them as they are used in real conversations, understand types of mistakes you are making and then work upon them by practice.
Types of Simple Past Tense Errors
The best way to identify where you might possibly make an error is to put yourself into the middle of a conversation. The one below is between two friends who usually meet for an evening jog. If you want to learn what is simple past tenses, you must go through these examples.
Past Tense Examples
Neha: So how was your weekend?
Pooja: Nothing much went to the Mall watched a movie, went to the Donuts shop and come back home
Neha: That sounds like every weekend. There has been at least one interesting experience every weekend.
Pooja: Well, actually there was one. When we went for lunch, there was this restaurant which had an amazing spread in their lunch buffet and they had live western music.
We went inside, started having our meal, and then suddenly my daughter started running and standing right in front of the band and to my surprise, they started playing twinkle-twinkle little stars.
The Conversation Continues
Neha: Wow, that’s sweet
Pooja: I know, they went on to play 4 more rhymes. Piya was so happy and excited.
Pooja: Anyways, how was your weekend?
Neha: Well, I would say, It was special, because of a rather unexpected visitor from our past.
Pooja: Really, “our past”, as in your and mine, then you must tell me more.
English Grammar Error Type 1 – Mixing Past with Present
One of the most common mistakes of simple past tense in English we all commit is, mixing past with the present. In the above example: In all the words marked bold, the past has been mixed with the present.
Error Correction in English Grammar
Error 1- Nothing much went to the Mall watched a movie, went to the Donuts shop and come back home
# Error correction: Nothing much, went to the Mall watched a movie, went to the Donuts shop and then came back home.
Error 2- When we went for lunch, there was this restaurant that had an amazing spread in their lunch buffet and they have live western music.
# Error correction: When we went for lunch, there was this restaurant that had an amazing spread in their lunch buffet and they had live western music.
Error 3- We went inside, started having our meal, and then suddenly my daughter started running and standing right in front of the band and to my surprise, they started playing twinkle-twinkle little stars.
By now you have a clear idea about this type of mistake of past tense. Thus correction for the last mistake is for you to do, meanwhile, we continue with the gossip between Neha and Pooja.
Continuation of Past Tense Example
Pooja: Really, “our past”, as in your and mine, then you must tell me more.
Neha: I was sitting in the CCD next to my house sipping coffee, reading a book I long wanted to finish. And you know who bumped into me?
Neha: Shalini Mehrotra
Pooja: What are you saying, “The Shalini Mehrotra”
Neha: Yes, and the best part is she didn’t change much.
Pooja: Oh god, does she still think she is a higher being?
Neha: Not really, but she is so full of herself. All she talked about was how she landed in Mumbai, and how difficult it was to settle down in a small house. She went on ranting on how she was always getting so many offers and how she had found it so difficult explaining her address to uber drivers and how this would all change in the next few days because her new SUV is scheduled for a delivery”
Pooja: My god, she stole the show
Neha: So many years have gone by, we have become mothers, but she is the same college girl.
English Grammar Error Type 2 – Changing Tenses in a Long or Complex Sentence
When it comes to describing complex past events, our tendency to make mistakes of simple past tense further increases and we start mixing different types of past tense.
For example: In the statement given below, all the bold marked words are not talking about the same event of the past and thus the sentence seems awkward.
“Not really, but she is so full of herself. All she talked about was how she landed in Mumbai, and how difficult it was to settle down in a small house. She went on ranting about how she was always getting so many offers and how she had found it so difficult explaining her address to uber drivers and how this would all change in the next few days because her new SUV is scheduled for a delivery”
Also Read: Best App to Practice English Speaking: Go Digital at the Comfort of Your Home for Fun Learning
Let us look at the correct version, where all the entire sentence will have correct past tense:
“ Not really, but she is so full of herself. All she talked about was how she landed in Mumbai, and how difficult it was to settle down in a small house. She went on ranting about how she was always getting so many offers and how she found it so difficult explaining her address to uber drivers and how this would all change in the next few days because her new SUV was scheduled for a delivery”
Simple Past Tense Examples for Better Understanding Set 1
How to use the simple past tense? Where to use the simple past tense? Go through these examples to get an idea of it.
I watched Netflix last week.
We ate chicken with my best buddy yesterday.
The train stopped 5 minutes ago.
He met his wife 8 years ago.
He left the home in 2010.
She bought a new car last month.
Did he clean his room?
I read an interesting article last month.
They did a lot of shopping at the Uni mall.
He cut his arm and went to the doctor.
She finished her chores at 5 o’clock.
The rain stopped 2 hours ago.
He discovered a new land.
We watched a film last week.
We were good friends.
I forgot my purse.
He had a cat last year.
Last year I travelled to Egypt.
Two girls played with a boomerang.
An old man walked with his dog.
Simple Past Tense Examples for Better Understanding Set 2
A lady brought a little baby girl to the lawn.
An old woman sat down and read her newspaper.
A large package came around the corner.
He finished all the exercises.
I enrolled in a botany course.
You were at the gas station.
I went to bed early the day before yesterday.
Mike came home very late last night.
Dr Arya healed the old man.
They bought 5 tickets for the UZI concert.
Mikel studied hard all year.
Did you play baseball yesterday?
I missed the movie last week.
My sister drank a glass of juice 1 hour ago.
They had a meeting with her mentor.
They were undergraduates last year.
Simple Past Tense Examples for Better Understanding Set 3
He smoked a cigar.
They lived in Rome.
Alex changed his rent place.
I liked the movie.
Did they lose the game?
A gardener swept up dry leaves.
We listened to music.
Where was he at 8 o’clock last night?
Amy chose to stay with her mother.
Dev forgot to turn off the light.
I cancelled my meeting for tomorrow.
I went to the gym yesterday.
We played baseball last Sunday.
We saw the Taj Mahal.
How to Tackle the Errors of Past Tense in English Grammar?
To tackle errors of the past tense you must know what is past tense and then you must attempt to read a lot of material that is generally written in the past tense. Here is a list of things you can do:-
# Read local newspapers, which talk about events of the previous day. Event-based news has to be written in the past tense
# Read travel-related blogs. Travel blogs written by authors based on their experiences will have to be in the past tense
# Read fiction books. They are mostly written in the past tense.
How to Improve Your English in 1 Month?
There are several short, interactive games available to assist you in practising and improving your English. Each exercise focuses on certain language ability, like reading, writing, listening, pronouncing words, grammar, or vocabulary.
All of the exercises are designed to be used on mobile devices, so you may learn English at home or on the move in as little as a few minutes. Make it a habit to practise English on a daily basis, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes. Learning ‘little and often is more successful than extensive study on rare occasions.
Find the Right Activity
It’s critical to find learning activities that are appropriate for your age group. It might be disheartening if an activity is far too tough. Nevertheless, if you stick in your comfort bubble, you will make slower progress.
A quick multiple-choice exam can be used to assess your English proficiency. By choosing the skill, degree, and period of time you have, the innovative search engine allows you to practise English how and when you want.
Enhance Your English Writing
Academic studies necessitate the ability to write essays in the proper language. You will be more successful if you improve your English writing abilities. Learners at the individual level can practise creating larger sentences and connecting their thoughts by utilising linking words and phrases. Learners at the proficient level can practise structuring their writing with referring words and discourse indicators to improve their written fluency.
Enhance Your English Reading
Any academic course requires students to read textbooks, journals, and research papers. Strengthening your reading abilities will assist you in achieving academic success.
Learners at the independent level can practise reading fast to locate particular information in a book. Learners at the proficient level can practise reading slowly and attentively to grasp intellectual concepts and academic debates available in English.
Enhance Your English Listening
Students at the university level must pay attention in class and participate in seminar discussions. Try listening for a presenter’s major arguments, viewpoints, and attitudes. In a presentation or conversation, independent-level students can practise listening for the important points and concepts. Listening for subtly communicated attitudes based on the language and tone employed can be practised by proficient-level students.
Improve Your Pronunciation
Improve your English pronunciation to gain confidence when giving presentations or asking questions in seminars. Learners at the independent level can practise pronouncing various English sounds, such as the long and short “i” sounds.
Learners at the proficient level can practise different word pressures and see how they affect the meaning of a word or a phrase.
Work on Your Grammar and Vocabulary
Continue to brush up on your grammar and vocabulary. This will aid in the formation of well-formed sentences and the development of your English fluency. Learners at the independent level can practise utilising past simple and present perfect verb tenses, as well as adverbs, in a variety of circumstances.
Learners at the proficient level can practise utilising the relative pronoun “which” as well as alternative vocabulary for qualifying assertions and views.
Give Practice Tests
A Cambridge English test will demonstrate that you have a sufficient command of the English language and will assist you in achieving your academic and professional objectives. Try a practice exam to see whether you’re prepared. It’s critical to become familiar with the exam’s question categories. This will boost your self-assurance and improve your exam skills.
Read/ listen to at least 1000 words of the past, and write at least 200 words of the past every week and you would be able to get rid of all errors of the past in about 2 months. Initially, you can practice some exercises to understand the basics of simple past tense. Learn to speak and write in English in 14 days with excellent services from The Fluent Life.