Past Simple and Used To – Verb Meaning and Use

This post will show you how to use the Past Simple and Used To.  To see how to form the Past Simple and Used To, click here.

PAST SIMPLE

We use the Past Simple to talk about a state or action that started and finished in the past. We use time expressions to describe the time period.

  • She lived in Tokyo in 2010.
  • We went to school yesterday.
  • They played hockey on Saturday.
  • Winter was cold last year.

.

The actions or states can happen in the recent past (a short time ago), or the distant past (a long time ago).

Recent Past                                                                        Distant Past

He arrived ten minutes ago.                                     They moved to Dubai in 2001.

She felt tired yesterday.                                              He was very sick last year.

.

The actions or states can last for a short or long period of time.

Short Period of Time                                                       Long Period of Time

The rain lasted for five minutes.                                The rain lasted for days.

I worked there for two weeks.                                    I worked there for 12 years.

.

The actions or states can happen once, or repeatedly.

Happened Once                                                            Happened Repeatedly

He moved to Seoul in 2008.                                  He always walked to work.

She arrived late yesterday.                                    She always arrived late.

.

USED TO

used-toUsed to suggests that a habit or situation was true in the past, but is not true now. We use used to for repeated or habitual actions or states that started and finished in the past. Do not use it for actions or states that happened only once. Adverbs of frequency and other time expressions with used to emphasize the repeated actions or states.

  • He used to smoke, but he quit last year.
  • We often used to visit my grandparents before they passed away.
  • She used to live in Sidney before she moved to Prague.

You can use the Simple Present with time expressions to show how a present situation is different from the past.

  • I used to watch TV after school.  Now I don’t have time for that.
  • People used to get their new from newspapers or the radio. These days most people get their news from the internet.
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Past Simple and Used To – Verb Meaning and Use

  1. Pingback: Past Simple and Used To – Verb Form | Present Simple ESL

  2. Pingback: All Twelve English Verb Tenses | Present Simple ESL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s