Past simple

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Past simple Empty Past simple

Message  ismail le Mer 15 Oct - 7:41

Or preterite. In older textbooks often called the imperfect.

Affirmative: He wrote
Negative: He did not write
Interrogative: Did he write?
Negative interrogative: Did he not write?
The same change of word order in the negative interrogative that distinguishes the formal and informal register also applies to the preterite. Note also that the preterite form is also used only in the affirmative. When the sentence is recast as a negative or interrogative, he wrote not and wrote he? are archaic and not used in modern English. Periphrastic forms must instead supply them.

This tense is used for a single event in the past, sometimes for past habitual action, and in chronological narration. Like the present simple, it has emphatic forms with "do": he did write.

Although it is sometimes taught that the difference between the present perfect and the simple past is that the perfect denotes a completed action whereas the past denotes an incomplete action, this theory is clearly false. Both forms are normally used for completed actions. (Indeed the English preterite comes from the Proto-Indo-European perfect.) In addition, either can be used for incomplete actions. The real distinction is that the present perfect is used when the period either is the present or includes the present, whereas the simple past is used when the time frame is in the absolute past.

The "used to" past tense for habitual actions is probably best included under the bracket of the past simple. Compare:

When I was young I played football every Saturday.
When I was young I used to play football every Saturday.
The difference is slight, but "used to" stresses the fact that the action has been discontinued.

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