Learning verb forms together: Simple past

Even if it happened only an instant ago, it's still past

This is another lesson in support of my book Understanding English verb forms http://bit.ly/9Kr9aT

Think past

We are going to use a youtube video that is even more popular than the one we used for the simple present tense (I don’t like you all the time, Mommy http://bit.ly/ayP1EA  ). The video clip has more than 235 million views and it is easy to see what it is so popular.

It involves a cute situation with the two little brothers in the photo. The little brother does something to the older brother and, even though it just happened a second ago, he correctly uses the past tense. It happened, so it's past.

Notice also, that the boy uses two irregular verbs forms, i.e., forms that don’t end end in ed. Watch the video. What are the verb forms? What are their present (root) forms?

Describing the video

When you watch the video for the first time, it is natural to use a present type of tense. In this case, the action in the video happened over a period of time (it had duration), so the present progressive is the natural tense to you.

For example, what is happening in the photo to the left?

Charlie, the younger brother, ________ __________ his older brother.

If you discuss the video after you have seen it, it is natural to use the past progressive for the situation in the photo. What was happening in the photo?.

One more thing: what do you say in English when you feel sharp pain?


root: bite  past: bit
root: hurt  past: hurt

Charlie, the younger brother, is biting his older brother.

Showing off your own video

If you have a short video or an idea that you think would work to illustrate an English verb form, you can connect us through twitter or contact me directly at:

If you have a finished video, you can upload it to a site like Youtube so we can have a look at it. We can then embed it on a page on our site as well. Make a short lesson together with your video so users can understand the main point.

You can also point out videos that you find online that might be useful for understanding verbforms.

Related search: simple past tense

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager