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past simple

Past simple

See also:
irregular verbs

The following ESL resources are available for Past simple:

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Past simple questions oxo
Pairwork past simple questions


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Past simple questions dominoes
Ss match segments of past simple questions and then match again to grammar labels ('past simple subject question' etc)


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Bank robbery - alibis
(1) Gapped bank robbery story. Students find missing information by asking partners. (2) Question formation: detective interviews suspect. This prepares students for alibis game.


Past simple and continuous - anecdote - the Donkey Dog (372)
Short anecdote about a frightening experience gapped for past continuous and past simple plus 'enormous' and 'the biggest'



General English course books (adults)

English Result Pre-Intermediate Student's Book book cover 

English Result Pre-Intermediate Student's Book 

Mark Hancock   Annie McDonald   
Unit 2 My region  Page 23   past simple
Global Intermediate Coursebook book cover 

Global Intermediate Coursebook 

Lindsay Clandfield   Rebecca Robb Benne   
Unit 2 Lives and Legends  Page 19   Past simple & past continuous
Unit 2 Lives and Legends  Page 21   Past perfect & past simple
Inside Out Student's Book Intermediate book cover 

Inside Out Student's Book Intermediate 

Susan Kay   Vaughan Jones   
Unit 3 Dating  Pages 25 - 27
New Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate students' book book cover 

New Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate students' book 

Sarah Cunningham   Peter Moore   
Module 2 Important firsts  Pages 16 - 17
Short text on the invention of TV. Quiz questions on 'important firsts' for question formation
Module 7 Ambitions and dreams  Pages 64 - 65
Short texts about people's careers. Contrasts present perfect with 'for' , and past simple; + throws in other uses of the present perfect
Consolidation modules 11 - 15  Page 138 
Tense identification exercise

Photocopiable resource books

Elementary Grammar Games book cover 

Elementary Grammar Games 

Jill Hadfield   
34 - was and were  Page 34 
Game 1. Picture story (soap opera cards). Ss arrange pictures to tell a story; then arrange word cards to make a sentence for each picture. + follow-up card game (groups) Game 2. Picture card matching game (Strange but True cards). requiring past simple questions and answers with the verb 'to be'.
35 - Past simple: affirmative and negative  Page 35 
Game 1. Matching game - Ss match past simple and bare infintive cards. (irregular verbs)
36 - Past simple: yes / no questions  Page 36 
Matching game with role cards. Ss ask yes / no questions to solve puzzle: where did they see each other last night?
37 - Past simple: wh- questions  Page 37 
Lotto game. Ss have to form 'wh' questions to match answers on an anwer card.
Grammar Games and Activities 1 book cover 

Grammar Games and Activities 1 

Peter Watcyn-Jones   
8 - Half a crossword : Irregular verbs  Pages 49 - 50
Ss complete crossword of irregular past tenses.
35 - Life stories  Pages 95 - 96
Ss in pairs each have a short biography. They ask and answer questions to find 12 differences.
Intermediate Communication Games book cover 

Intermediate Communication Games 

Jill Hadfield   
8 - Alien  Page 8 
Witnesses role play. Each S is a witness to an alien visitation. Task is to put info together to find out what happened.
12 - Good news, bad news  Page 12 
Picture card game in which Ss match good news and bad news cards.
27 - When did you last see your father?  Page 27 
past simple + ago. Questions, 'When did you last..?'
28 - The queue  Page 28 
Past simple. Yes / no questions. Ss have to reassemble a queue of people by asking yes / no questions and using information in role cards.
29 - Detective work  Page 29 
Card game. Small groups. Past perfect Past simple Language for making deductions. Murder-solving game with clue cards.
Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8) book cover 

Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8) 

Colin Granger   John Plumb   
Picure story Frank woke up page 9  Page 9 
Simple picture story. Ss order pics and make sentences from given verbs (regular and irregular)
When? page 28  Page 28 
Responding to past simple questions. Ss have to guess the answer to questions such as, "When did people start travelling in cars?'

Grammar books with exercises

Developing Grammar in Context book cover 

Developing Grammar in Context 

Mark Nettle   Diana Hopkins   
4 The past simple  Pages 18 - 22

General English adult course resource packs

Reward Pre-Intermediate Resource Pack  book cover 

Reward Pre-Intermediate Resource Pack  

Sue Kay   
6a A romantic meeting  Page 6 
Group story writing from question prompts
6b Shirley Valentine  Page 6 
Picture story with text. Students order pictures
7 Who were they?  Page 7 
Students answer quiz sheet in groups
8 A holiday to remember  Page 8 
Students arrange pictures to tell the story of a holiday they had. Partner then asks questions to find more information
Progress check 6 - 10a and 6 - 10b Bingo  Pages 6 - 10
Irregular past simple bingo
31b A dream  Page 32 
Students write a dream using picture prompts (28 cards)
32 Strange things happen  Page 32 
Students order 14 sentences to tell the story of a spooky experience while driving at night.

ESL lesson plans

How Donald Trump Got Rich: A Tale of Three Trumps

US Election ESL worksheet 1 Donald Trump ESL worksheet 2 Donald Trump worksheet 3 Donald Trump ESL worksheet 4 Donald Trump ESL worksheet 5 Donald Trump ESL worksheet 6
B1 / B2 Complete lesson Skills: split reading; discussion; role play Vocabulary: business and economics

Download A Tale of Three Trumps for B1/B2 (PDF)
C1 Complete lesson Skills: split reading; discussion; Grammar: participle clauses

Download A Tale of Three Trumps for C1 (PDF)

US Election Special 2016

US Election ESL worksheet 1 US Election ESL worksheet 2 US Election ESL worksheet 3 US Election ESL worksheet 4
B2/C1 Complete lesson Vocabulary: politics, elections; skills: discussing elections and issues.

Download Politics and the US Election (PDF)

Wear high heels or go home: gender discrimination at work

Gender descrimination ESL worksheet 1 Gender descrimination ESL worksheet 2 Gender descrimination ESL worksheet 3
B2/C1 Complete lesson Vocabulary work clothes; skills: gender discrimination; grammar: reported speech.

Download Workplace gender discrimination (PDF)

English grammar notes

Comparison with as...as

Comprehensive grammar reference notes, illustrated.
Grammar notes on comparison with as..as 1 Grammar notes on comparison with as..as 2 Grammar notes on comparison with as..as 3
Download English grammar notes: comparison with as...as (PDF)