Past Indefinite Tense in English & its 11 Rules With Examples

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Hello English Learners,

Today we gonna learn the Simple past tense that is also known as Past Indefinite tense. It is one of the most important tense that used in all types of conversations and communications.

In this article, we will learn the use of past indefinite tense and it rules. I will explain its 12 rules with the full explaination. So let’s start wthout wasting any time.

Definition of Past indefinite tense

What is Past indefinite tense with examples?” Past indefinite tense is used to express past actions and activities which already happened in the past on a specific time. In simpler words, those works are ended with the completion of time. Let’s understand with an example:-

Simple past tense examples to understand it

  • He went to singapur, yesterday.
  • She came to meet me last night.
  • The building was built 286 years ago.
  • I bought some chocolates last sunday, when i was with my beloved friend.

As you can see that, all these actions were ended on a particular time like yesterday or some years ago, because the time is mentioned in all the examples.

In these types of sentences, some time expressing words is used. Just look at the list of time expressing words which can be used in past indefinite tense.

“Yesterday, Yesterday Morning, Yesterday Noon, Yesterday evening, yesterday night, ago, the other day, last morning, last evening, last night, last day, last week, last month, last year, last moment, In march 1943 etc are the words which you can use in simple past tense to express”

Past indifinite tense structure

What is the past indefinite tense structure’s meaning? Without implementing the structure, it is impossible to make a specific sentence. In grammar terms, every tense has its own structure which shows that this tense belongs to present, past or future. So, present indefinite tense also has a particular structure. The structure of simple past tense is so simple and easy to understand. That is why its name is simple past. Click here to see the chart of Past simple tense.

Structure :- Subject + V2 + Object

Now, do you know what is subject and object? Subject is the person. Just look at the example below.

  • Ram gave her a rose when Deepika came near.

In this sentense, Ram and deepika are subjects. Rose is the Object and Gave is a Verb.

Click here to understand Present tense and its types in detail

Past indefinite tense rules

Rule 1 of Past indefinite tense

Past indefinite tense is also used for those past actions which does not relates to a specific time. It means, those activities which ended on a random or unknown time. For example,

  • The peon bought a cup of coffee.
  • Mohan’s father came back at home.
  • I bought this pen in australia.

It is clearly seen that, there is no time mentioned and we do not know when the peon bought a coffee cup or when the father of mohan came back.

Rule 2 for Past indefinite tense

Simple past tense is also used to represent habitual actions that happend in the past. For example:-

  • In my childhood, i played cricket.
  • she always invited me to dinner on saturday.
  • Mohan always carried a bag with him.

Note – Words for representing the past habitual actions – Always, never, seldom, often, rarely, once a day, once a week, once a month, daily, everyday, every week, every month, every year, etc.

Rule 3 for past indefinite tense

After, it is time, it is high time and it is about time. we use simple past tense. for example:-

  • it is time when he started play football.
  • it is high time she left for the bus stop.

Rule 4 for the simple past tense

This tense is also used to show the related situation. For example, it was night or he was very poor.

Rule 5 for the past tense simple

At the time of the use of Adverbs of time such as today, this morning, this evening, this week, this year, this month, etc. we use simple past tense. for example, He saw me today and He has seen me this week.

Rule 6 for past indefinite tense

When two or three actions are happening consistently in the past. At this time past tense is used. For example:-

  • while she cooked, i wrote a book.
  • while they played, we studied the maths.

Rule 7 for past indefinite tense

Those sentences which starts with suppositional sentences like if, as if, as though, if only, i wish etc, you should use simple past tense. for example:-

  • I wish i were the chief minister of bihar. (This is not possible)

Rule 8 for simple past tense

Those sentences which represent the bet or challanges, along with this show the action of future and present by the use of past indefinite tense.

  • if you reached on time, you might catch the train.
  • if my servant came on time, i would pay him his wages

Rule 9 for past indefinite tense

If the reporting verb is in past tense in direct speech and the reported speech is in simple present tense then reported speech is changed to the simple present tense and simple pas tense. For example,

  • He said,”i want to read a novel.” (Direct)
  • He said that he wanted to read a novel. (indirect)

But, use of universal truth, principle and proverb in reported speech then the tense in reported speech do not change. For example:-

  • He said,”two and two makes four.” (Direct)
  • He said that two and two makes four. (Indirect)

Rule 11 for the past indefinite tense

When a work is happening in the past but immidiately the second work happed related to the first work, then we use simple past tense. For example,

  • When she was cooking, her hand was burned.
  • When i made a tea, my father drunk it all.

Past Indefinite tense Sentences

  1. I went there when my father was running in the park.
  2. Reena came to my home when i was cooking.
  3. I drunk alot in the party last night.
  4. Last year, my family visited to america.
  5. My exams was ended last month.
  6. When i was studying, my father scolded me alot for less marks.
  7. If you reached on time, the situation might be good.
  8. My teacher slapped me tomorrow.
  9. I attended a annual function last week in my school.
  10. I thought it will be good to meet you.

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