Grammar Rules: Past Tense

Written by Leny Ortega

In the last post, we talked about Present Tense. In this post, we continue our series on tenses with Past Tense.

Past tense is used to denote actions that are completed in the definite past time. This tense of the verb generally uses definite time expression when the action really took place or happened. These time expressions are: yesterday, last night, last month, two years ago, etc.

To form the verb in the past tense the following are observed:

  • For regular verbs you just add d or ed for example: talk = talked, walk = walked, etc
  • For irregular verb a change of spelling is necessary. Examples: Write= wrote, eat =ate
  • For auxiliary verb the following are the forms:

Singular = was, had, did

Plural = were, had, did


  1. Pope Francis visited the typhoon victims at Palo Leyte yesterday.
  2. The principal asked the teachers to submit their lesson plans for checking last Tuesday.
  3. He visited Davao last month.
  4. The Pope waved his hands at the people waiting for his arrival at the airport last Thursday.
  5. She had a bad encounter with the students last night.


Choose the correct form of the verb in the following sentences:

  1. News anchors (has, had) a hard time covering the Papal Visit in the Philippines last week.
  2. Strict security measures (was, were) implemented to secure the safety of Pope Francis.
  3. Filipinos (feels, felt) blessed with Pope’s visit in the country.
  4. The President (declares, declared) the entire NCR holiday for the coming of the Pope last month.
  5. Many families (take, took) time to have a glimpse of the Pope yesterday.


  1. The answer is Had because the subject is plural (news anchors) and the action happened last week.
  2. The correct answer is were.  Again, the subject is plural (security measures). Thus, it is wrong to use the verb was although it is in the past tense.
  3. In sentence number 3 the verb in the choices differs in tenses. Feels is in the present tense while the other one, Felt is past tense. Therefore, the correct answer is Felt.
  4. Likewise in sentence number 4, choices are in the present (declares) and Past tense (declared) respectively. So, the verb declared is the correct answer
  5. Number 5[i] options comprise of present and past tense of the verb. Here, the correct answer is took.

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