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Ma'ruza " Teaching the use of Past Simple Tense"

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Ma'ruza " Teaching the use of Past Simple Tense"

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«Ma'ruza " Teaching the use of Past Simple Tense"»


  1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………..

  2. Main Part ………………………………………………………………..

    1. Teaching Past Simple ……………………………………………

    2. How to teach Past Simple – Regular/Irregular Verbs……………

    3. The activities and games to teaching the use of Past Simple…….

  3. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………….

  4. Recommendation ………………………………………………………..

  5. List of used literature ……………………………………………………

  1. Introduction

On December 10, 2012 President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov signed a degree “ On measures to further improve foreign language learning system”.

It is noted that in the framework of the law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “ On education and the National Programme for Training in the country, a comprehensive foreign languages “ , teaching system, aimed at creating harmoniously developed, highly educated, modern thinking, young generation, further integration of the country to the world community, has been created.

Language is a way of communication among people. People all over the world mostly speak at least one language which is their native but there is a tendency to learn more languages to be able to communicate with people from different countries. Learners – people who learn languages - need motivation which gives them the energy and desire to spend time on learning. Language knowledge helps us to express our wishes, opinions. Nowadays there is a global need for language learning, which is a process of acquiring the system of sounds, words, sentences in the written as well as spoken form and using this system appropriately. The task of languages teachers is to hand on information concerning foreign language, it means grammatical rules, vocabulary, learning strategies, etc. and showing the learners how to deal with it, helping them practice it, motivating them, correcting their mistakes, etc. The process of language learning – as mentioned above - also contains learning grammatical rules which give the learners the idea of correct combination of the words and forming sentences. In my diploma thesis I focused on learning and teaching grammar, specifically on the past tense. In the theoretical part I listed approaches to English teaching used in the past as well as in the present. Using of modern methods supports pupils independence and creativity, provide pupils practical examples from everyday life, so as they can understand the aim of learning. The teaching of grammar, as well as the factors that influence this process, are described. The difference between the overt and covert teaching and spoken and written grammar is explained. In the theoretical part various activities are listed which could be useful when presenting and practicing the past simple tense. The practical part contains the examples of the lesson plans based on past simple which are possible to use in the classroom. Finally the results of the research are presented where I tried to find out learners´ attitude to grammar learning

Grammar is the main part of the learning languages effectively. Today grammar is not taught in lessons as a topic by the teacher, but it is given through different activities and games. Grammar is a developmental skills text in, which grammar serves as the springboard for expanding learners abilities in speaking, writing, listening and reading. It uses a grammar – based approach integrated with communicative methodologies. Starting from a foundation of understanding form and meaning, pupils or students engage in meaningful communication about real actions, real things and their own real lives in the classroom context.

2. Main Part.

2.1.Teaching Past Simple

The past simple tense is a very often used verb tense. It refers to finished past activities and the learners usually run into it in the sixth grade of a primary school. Together with the present simple it belongs to the most frequent grammatical tenses. This part is devoted to the examples of the past simple practice activities drawn mainly from the didactics books . Listening to stories the teacher reads a story focused on the past activities. The story can be also listened from the recorder. After finishing it the students are to recall some of the sentences in the past tense. The story need not be a single one but the students can be exposed to a serial form of stories or a book can be read. Ur (1988) Telling a story The preparation needs the teacher’s own story using past tense. It should be interesting and it should have a plot. The students are given just key words from the story and not in the order as they are mentioned in the story. The students guess what the story is about and possibly try to make the story. Telling the teacher’s story follows and students put the key words in the correct order according to the story. Then students write the story themselves using the past simple. Pilling up events each student is given a verb in the past tense and they form the story. This is a chain of events when each student is to repeat preceding sentences and add their own at the end. As a follow up activity the writing is possible to practice when learners are asked to write as much as they remember from the story. The teacher dictates some past simple verbs to the students. These verbs are from the story which must be prepared beforehand. Students work in pairs or small groups to make a story that has all the dictated verbs in that order. The various stories are shared and then the original one is told. The beginning of the activity is the same as in the previous one. Each student is given a verb in the past simple. The teacher begins to tell a story. After a few sentences he or she stops a student continues adding a sentences including the given past tense form. It is continued until all of the students have contributed with their sentences. The difference to the previous activity is in repeating the sentences. During the chain story the learners add just their own sentence and do not repeat the preceding ones. It helps student miming. The students can be asked to mime some action and the others are to guess what it is. All the sentences are in the past tense. The students may be told that we are talking about the last week activities. Pictures into story Material needed is a simple picture story which can be found even in students’ books. Pictures are taken one by one and students write or narrate the story in the past simple. It can be done in the way that students are shown only the first picture and they guess what happened next. Afterwards the second picture is shown and it is continued in the same way. At the beginning the teacher may just ask some questions about pictures using past simple. Students answer and afterwards they are asked to make a list of the past simple verbs used in asking a answering the questions. The teacher’s telling the story according to the pictures follows and students check whether their list is complete. Putting stories in order putting stories in the correct order follows the similar principle as the previous activity with the difference that the pictures are given the students separately or together but not in logical order. Their task is to make the logical sequence and then make a story. Students are asked to think about a past event in their lives that made a significant change. The teacher starts the activity with telling students their own story and makes them ask the teacher questions. Students are very curious about a teacher’s personal life that is why they really ask about some details. After the teacher’s story students’ contributions follow in the same way. Then writing comes when students are to write their change as a short story. A recorded series of various sounds is needed. The tape is played and students guess what happened. By listening to the sounds, they are asked to make a story. Questionnaires Students’ task is to survey each other. They make their own questionnaire including arbitrary questions in past simple and they find out the information. Then they tell the results of the questionnaire to the class. Scrivener (2003) Alibi A scene of a crime is set. Two students are suspects, they go outside the classroom and prepare their alibi for the particular time. The suspects come back after some time and they are asked questions. If they corroborate each other’s stories, they are innocent in the opposite case they are guilty. “Two people are interviewed separately by The Institute of Paranormal Research about an encounter with aliens that they claim to have experienced. They are questioned separately about the exact details of the encounter, in order to check that it is authentic.” Cooperative story each student is given a sheet of paper having a title of the stories on it as well as the names of two main characters-male and female. Each student writes the first sentence and passes it to the next student. He or she writes the second sentence, folds the paper to hide the title and the first sentence, leaving only his or her own sentence exposed and so on. Grammar quiz Past forms of the verbs are trained. There are two teams and the teacher uses a naught and crosses grid to score on-the team must get three symbols in a row. Someone from one team says the infinitive of some verb and someone from the other team says the past form. Whether it is correct, he or she can make a naught or cross on the board.

2.2. How to teach Past Simple – Regular/Irregular Verbs

The simple past is a verb tense that is used to talk about things that happened or existed before now. Imagine someone asks what your brother Wolfgang did while he was in town last weekend.

Wolfgang entered a hula hoop contest.

He won the silver medal.

The simple past tense shows that you are talking about something that has already happened. Unlike the past continuous tense, which is used to talk about past events that happened over a period of time, the simple past tense emphasizes that the action is finished.

Wolfgang admired the way the light glinted off his silver medal.

You can also use the simple past to talk about a past state of being, such as the way someone felt about something. This is often expressed with the simple past tense of the verb to be and an adjective, noun, or prepositional phrase.

Wolfgang was proud of his hula hoop victory.

The contest was the highlight of his week.



  • John Cabot sailed to America in


  • My father died last year

  • He lived in Fiji in 1976

  • We crossed the Channel yesterday

he simple past tense, sometimes called the preterite, is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. The simple past is the basic form of past tense in English. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past and action duration is not important.

You always use the simple past when you say when something happened , so it is associated with certain past time expressions

  • frequency: often, sometimes, always

I sometimes walked home at lunchtime.

I often brought my lunch to school.

  • a definite point in time: last week, when

I was a child, yesterday, six weeks ago

We saw a good film last week.

Yesterday, I arrived in Geneva.

She finished her work at seven o’clock.

I went to the theatre last night.

  • an indefinite point in time: the other

day, ages ago, a long time ago

People lived in caves a long time ago.

She played the piano when she was a child.

How to Formulate the Simple Past

Regular verbs form the simple past end-ed; however there are a few hundred irregular verbs with different forms. For details see English verbs § Past tense.

Most verbs have a single form of the simple past, independent of the person or number of the subject (there is no addition of -s for the third person singular as in the simple present). However, the copula verb be has two past tense forms: was for the first and third persons singular, and were in other instances. The form were can also be used in place of was in conditional clauses and the like; for information on this, see English subjunctive. This is the only case in modern English where a distinction in form is made between the indicative and subjunctive moods in the past tense.

Questions, other clauses requiring inversion, negations with not, and emphatic forms of the simple past use the auxiliary did. For details of this mechanism, see do-support. A full list of forms is given below, using the (regular) verb help as an example:

  • Basic simple past:

    • I/you/he/she/it/we/they helped

  • Expanded (emphatic) simple past:

    • I/you/he/she/it/we/they did help

  • Question form:

    • Did I/you/he/she/it/we/they help?

  • Negative:

    • I/you/he/she/it/we/they did not (didn'thelp

  • Negative question:

    • Did I/you/he/she/it/we/they not help? / Didn't I/you/he/she/it/we/they help?


The simple past is used for a single event (or sequence of such events) in the past, and also for past habitual action:

He took the money and ran.

visited them every day for a year.

It can also refer to a past state:

knew how to fight even as a child.

For action that was ongoing at the time referred to, the past progressive is generally used instead (e.g. I was cooking). The same can apply to states, if temporary (e.g. the ball was lying on the sidewalk), but some stative verbs do not generally use the progressive aspect at all – see Uses of English verb forms § Progressive – and in these cases the simple past is used even for a temporary state:

The dog was in its kennel.

felt cold.

However, with verbs of sensing, it is common in such circumstances to use could see in place of sawcould hear in place of heard, etc. For more on this, see can see.

If one action interrupts another, then it is usual for the interrupted (ongoing) action to be expressed with the past progressive, and the action that interrupted it to be in the simple past:

Your mother called while you were cooking.

The simple past is often close in meaning to the present perfect. The simple past is used when the event happened at a particular time in the past, or during a period which ended in the past (i.e. a period that does not last up until the present time). This time frame may be explicitly stated, or implicit in the context (for example the past tense is often used when describing a sequence of past events).

was born in 1980.

We turned the oven off two minutes ago.

came home at 6 o'clock.

When did they get married?

We wrote two letters this morning.

She placed the letter on the table, sighed, and left the house.

These examples can be contrasted with those given at Uses of English verb forms § Present perfect. Also, for past actions that occurred before the relevant past time frame, the past perfect is used.

Various compound constructions exist for denoting past habitual action. The sentence When I was young, I played football every Saturday might alternatively be phrased using used to (... I used to play ...) or using would (... I would play...).

The simple past form also has some uses in which it does not refer to a past time. These are generally in condition clauses and some other dependent clauses referring to hypothetical circumstances, as well as certain expressions of wish:

If he walked faster, he would get home earlier.

I wish I knew what his name was.

I would rather she wore a longer dress.

For more details see the sections on conditionals, dependent clauses and expressions of wish in the article on uses of English verb forms.

For use of the simple past (and other past tense forms) in indirect speech, see Uses of English verb forms § Indirect speech. An example:

He said he wanted to go on the slide.

Learning a languages happens in stages. There are lots of different rules and exceptions, and this is especially true for learning Past Tense verbs: what happened in the past.

Here is some information about how children develop their past tense language skills, and different activities you can do to help them learn past tense verbs.

The three stages of Development

Children or pupils typically develop their verbs tenses over many years early in their life. There are three main stages that they’ll go through:

  1. Beginning to speak a small number of frequently used verbs in the past tense. Most of this verbs will be irregular, which means they don’t share a common format. Some common words are “ ate “, the past tense of “ eat “, “ drank “, the past tense of “ drink “, and “ saw “, the past tense “ see “.

  2. Beginning to add “ –ed “ to regular verbs, like turning “ hop “ into “ hoped ”; “ like “ into “ liked “, and “ try “ into “ tried “.

As pupils developing their understanding of the regular past tense verb rule, they may add “-ed “ to irregular verbs, and come up with non-existing words like “ eated “, “ swimmed “, or “ runned “.

  1. Correct use of regular and irregular verbs.

Different Verbs Sound Different

It can be tricky for a child or pupils to learn the past tense for regular verbs, because that same “ –ed “ ending can sound different depending on the verb being spoken. Here are some of the different ways:

  • “ –ed “ sounds like “ ed “ or “ id “ ( depending on your accent ) in words like painted, waited and landed.

This is the easiest form to hear, because it adds a completely new syllable to the end of the base verb.

  • “ –ed “ sounds like “ d “ in words like played, tried, and remembered.

Some of these are easy to hear and say because the “ d “ sound stands out at the end of words that finish with a vowel sound, like “ play “ and “ played “.

  • “ – ed “ sounds like “ t “ in words like walked, kissed and liked.

These are the trickiest because the ending sounds soft and short. That means most children will need to hear it over and over to pick out the rule. And they’re more difficult to speak , because the ending doesn’t always easily flow from the base verb: “ jumped “ ends with an “ mpt “ sound. Because it is a blend of three consonant sounds, it can be difficult to learn how to say…

2.4. The activities games to teaching the use of Past Simple.

So, what’s the best way to help your child learn these complexities? Exposure, and repetition. Expose them to the right way of using a verb in the past tense by saying the word in meaningful situations so children can hear it being used correctly, and do it over and over and over.

During these games or activities pupils or students are very challenging and feel happy to learn while they are playing or doing. Here are some games or activities that you can use to focus on the past tense.

Activity 1. Good and Bad days.

As a class, brainstorm what makes a day great, and then make another list for what makes a day bad. Have pairs of students ask each other question and give answers about a day in the past. For example, one student might ask, “ Did you spill your coffee yesterday?” the other would answer, “ No, I didn’t spill my coffee yesterday”. This is a great way to practice questions and negative use of the simple past.

Activity 2. Dear Diary

Writing about their day is a good way for your students to practice the written form of the simple past. Have students write about what they did yesterday paying particular attention to transitions of time ( next, then, after, that, finally, etc)

Activity 3. Charade Series

In an activity similar to charades, have your students describe the steps in a process after their classmates acts it out. Have one student pantomime an activity like brushing his teeth or writing and mailing a letter. Once charade is over, have your students describes each step in the process using the simple past.

Activity 4. Excuse Excuse Board game

Here is an amusing past simple game to help students practice past simple affirmative sentences as well as regular and irregular verbs. In the activity, students play a board game where they make excuses for arriving to class late. The class is divided into groups of four and each group is given a copy of the game board and a set of excuse cards. When a student lands on a square marked ‘ Sorry I’m late’, the student pick up am excuse card and changes the sentence in to its past simple form to make an excuse for being late, e.g. ’Sorry I’m late. I missed the bus’. If the sentences is formed correctly, the student stays on the square. If it is incorrect, the student must move back to their previous square. The first student to arrive at class wins the game. Play continues until most or all of the students have arrived at class.

Activity 5. Board game

This enjoyable past simple game helps to teach students how to make past simple affirmative sentences containing time expressions. The game also helps students practice changing regular and irregular verbs into their past simple form. Student take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a square, they make a past simple affirmative sentences with the time expression and words in the square. If a student makes a grammar mistake, they must go back to their previous square. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.

Classroom activities for regular Past Simple pronunciation and spelling.

The most active way of practicing this point is getting students to physically react depending on which form they think they hear ( preferably being able to analyse them using the rules which have been presented to double check ). This only really works with a double distinction ( rather than trying to do all three pronunciation of – ed at the same time). Young learner classes can be asked to run and touch opposite walls of the room with “/id/” and “/d/ or /t/”written on them( in a game called Stations) or race to slap one of two cards on their desk. The same thing could also be done with “ one syllable” and “ two syllables” to emphasize that part of the pronunciation. Adults can do something similar by lifting cards with the –ed pronunciation or number syllables written on them.

Playing with toys.

  • With you child, pick out some dolls or action figures. Then, have them act out an action- something small like jump or run. Afterwards, tell your child what happened using the past simple tense: “ Did you see the cat? It jumped.”

  • Use a wind-up toy and let it move around on its own. Then, talk about what happened: “ Wow, the robot walked across the floor.”

  • Play hide-and-seek with the toys. Hide a stuffed animal somewhere, and then with your child go find it. Once you found it, say where: “ I found She was under the couch.”

  • Talk about your child’s favorite toys: “I thought your favorite was Fluffy the cat, but dad said yours was Coco the dog.” ( And, talking about thoughts and feelings like this can also help your child to develop their Theory of Mind skills.)

Singing Songs and Rhymes

  • When you’re saying a rhyme, put an emphasis on the past tense verbs, like: “The icy wincy spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out…”

  • Make up a call-and-response song with lots of actions. For example, you could jump up and down and pat your head, and afterwards sing “ I jumped up and down and I patted my head.” Then have your child do the same thing. This will connect the action of jumping with past-tense verb of jump.

  • Listen to some songs with your child, and read through the lyrics. Then as you’re teaching your child some of the lines, highlight which of the words are in the past tense. Do this by talking about what they did in the song, and highlighting the verbs that you’re saying in the past tense.

  • As you’re listening and a song finished, talk about it: “ Wow, that was a great song. I haven’t heard it before.”

Doing Daily Routines

  • As you’re doing daily routines like cooking, cleaning, or relaxing, talk with your child about what they’ve just done. For example, after dinner you could say “ You did it! You finished your food. You ate it all up.”

  • Talk about the feelings that you had earlier in the day: “I was tired before my nap”, or “ The cat was hungry before we fed”.

  • Talk about the things you see, feel, smell, or hear: ” I saw a balloon outside”, “ I heard the cat meow”, “ I smelled the food as it was cooking”, “ I touched your new stuffed animal”.

  • Talk about the things you feel: “ Dad thought you were behind the curtains, but I new you were under the bed because I saw your shoe”. Talking about thoughts and feelings like this while using past tense verbs will again double up to also develop your child’s Theory of Mind skills.

No matter which of these activities you do, keep this in mind: children learn and remember things better when they hear them at the end of the sentence. It can be hard to do this in English, because we tend to hide our verbs in the middle ( even some of the examples here have done that), but try as much as you can to use verbs at the end of a sentence while your child is in the early stages of developing their use of verb tenses.


Nowadays, English language is very demanding subject in our society. Listening, reading, writing, and speaking are four skills which is required frequently. But also grammar is important and has a significant role in teaching and learning language. Today we learn grammar rules through different games and activities . Because Communicative language teaching method and other modern methods requires it.

Properly selected games and activity are significantly helped as they attract the students or pupils attention immediately. And at the same time allow them to practice language skills. This is suggests effective way how to teach past simple. I tried to show that teaching grammatical rules need not be boring for the learners but it can be done in a communicative and game-like way. I tried to avoid using it in unusual way. Sometimes the coursework provide few ideas for interesting and meaningful grammar practice so in the part of grammar activities I presented communicative activities that develop students´ fluency and their vocabulary and that do not need much extra materials, sometimes the only things that the teacher needs is a board. In the conclusion I would like to point out the importance of a teacher´s role. The teachers have important tasks including satisfactory motivation of the learners, showing them the importance of English learning, ability of understandable explanations of grammar, vocabulary, learning strategies, etc. The teacher also is to show the learners that grammar is not just broad list of explanations and rules but the means for better and more understandable communication. Grammar only makes any sense if you can use it.” In the process of language teaching grammar plays very important part and learners should realize it. When facing a new grammatical structure (it is not only the past simple) the learners should be exposed to it several times (in texts, conversations, etc.). Then they are to understand the form and its meaning. After this step they should try it themselves and then use the structures as much as possible. I would like to wish the teachers to be patient when teaching grammar and to acknowledge the fact that the process of teaching grammar is not easy but slow and sometimes messy for learners. I would recommend them not to give up when the learners continue doing mistakes but to remember that the best way how to teach foreign language is an instant exposure of the language. It means that the teachers should speak English as much as possible, which help the learners acquire wide range of vocabulary as well as grammatical structures.


This work entitled “ Teaching the use of Past Simple tense on the topic “ When I was…?” can be very helpful for beginners who want to improve their grammar skills and ace the English subject. In my opinion it’s useful material for practicing Past Simple tense in English, and is a valuable activities for improving your learners listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

This paper has presented some techniques and sample games that I have found particularly useful and enjoyable for my pupils. This work gives a lot of information not only about the past simple tense , but also about it’s structures regular and irregular verbs and the activities used with the past simple tense. I write my theme due to the principles of CLT i.d teaching Past Simple through games, activities, role plays and others.

Teaching the English past simple verb tense to ESL students is rather straightforward after you’ve taught the preset simple. Students will be familiar with the idea of auxiliary verbs in the question and negative but not in the positive. For example, Board Game is enjoyable past simple games help to teach students how to make past simple affirmative sentences containing time expressions. The game also helps students practice changing regular and irregular verbs into their past simple form.

I recommend these activities using in the classroom to activate pupils and encourage them to educate materials.

List of used literatures

  1. Bibliography Barraclough, C. (2004). Project Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  2. Celce-Muria, M, Hilles S. (1988). Techniques and resources in Teaching Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Celce-Muria, M. (2001). Teaching English as a second or Foreign Language. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

  4. Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  5. . UsingEnglish.com

  6. ingilizceturkce.gen.tr (2014). Past Simple with Exercises

  7. iStudyEnglishOnline (2013). Past Simple Uses & Explanations


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Целевая аудитория: 6 класс.
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Ma'ruza " Teaching the use of Past Simple Tense"

Автор: Sahibova Zilola Zoirovna

Дата: 10.04.2020

Номер свидетельства: 546040

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