Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » Past simple – negatives and questions

Past simple negatives and questions

We use did and didn’t to make negatives, questions and short answers in past simple.

Grammar chart outlining the structure of the past simple tense in positive, negative, and question forms, with examples and common mistakes.

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Word order in questions

Remember that the word order in questions is QWASI: (Question Word), Auxiliary (did), Subject, Infinitive.

Grammar chart demonstrating how to form questions in the past simple tense using 'was/were' with 'be' and 'did' with other verbs.

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Infinitive without to

We use did or didn’t with the bare infinitive of the main verb (= infinitive without to).

  • I didn’t work yesterday. blank
  • I didn’t didn’t worked yesterday. blank
  • Did you go to the concert? blank
  • Did you went to the concert? blank

Don’t use did in positive sentences

We use did or didn’t in negatives, questions and short answers, but NOT in positive sentences.

  • We stayed home yesterday. blank
  • We did stay home yesterday. blank
  • I went out last night. blank
  • I did go out last night. blank

Did or was/were?

We use did and didn’t (NOT was/wasn’t or were/weren’t) as the auxiliary verb in negatives and questions in past simple.

  • We didn’t eat at 6. blank
  • We weren’t eat at 6. blank
  • Did you do your homework? blank
  • Were you do your homework? blank

We do NOT use did or didn’t in past simple negatives or questions when the main verb is be.

  • They weren’t happy. blank
  • They didn’t be happy. blank
  • Was he at home? blank
  • Did he be at home? blank