Simple Past, Would, Sandwiches

Brian remembers eating sandwiches as a kid. He says, “When I went to school, my mom would pack me a sandwich every day.” He uses the simple past tense.

The simple past tense is used to talk about a completed action or state that was in the past. For regular verbs, we make this tense by adding -ed to the end of the verb. For example, the past tense of “walk” is walked. Use the simple past whenever you say that something happened in the past. For example, “I talked to her yesterday.”

There are also many irregular verbs in the simple past tense. For example, the past tense of “have” is had. The past tense of “do” is did. “Be” is extra difficult because we say I/he/she/it was and you/we/they were. When Brian says, “When I went to school,” he uses the irregular past tense of the verb “go.”

Brian also uses a unique simple past tense verb when he says, “my mom would pack me a sandwich every day.” The modal verb would has many jobs to do in English. One of these jobs is being the past tense of the modal verb “will.” In other words, Brian could talk about the future and say, “My mom will pack me a sandwich.” The same sentence in the simple past tense is, “My mom would pack me a sandwich.”

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