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Practice Speaking in the Past Tense

Many students of English forget to speak in the past tense. The present is the first tense that people learn, and it is more essential for everyday life. And yet, the past is needed in order to sound fluent. This page provides questions that you can ask yourself. Your answers should be timely and true--then you will remember them. Create one or more sentences for each word. The examples sentences will help you get ideas and will show you correct grammatical patterns.

You will also study pronunciation of -ed here. All the words in the chart below have an -ed ending that sounds like D (the E is silent). Learn about the 3 ways of pronouncing -ed.



Example 1

Example 2

Name something you agreed to do.
I agreed to work on the weekend.

I agreed to clean the kitchen.
Name something you believed once, but you do not believe now.
When I was a child, I believed in ghosts.
I believed that I could eat anything I wanted until I gained weight.

Name someone you called on the phone.
I called my husband an hour ago.

I called my father last week.
Name something you carried recently.

I carried my grocery bags to the car.
I carried my briefcase to work.
Describe something you explained.
I explained driving directions to my student.

I explained how to use the website.
Describe a person that followed another.
The tall man followed me out of the bus.
My niece followed her friend into the store.

Write a common expression with this word.

I don't know what happened.
Do you know what happened?
Name something you learned as a child.

I learned to clean my room.
I learned to respect my elders.



Example 1

Example 2


Name a place you lived in the past.

I lived in Portland, Oregon.

I lived in New Delhi, India.


Name something you listened to recently.

I listened to the news.

I listened to jazz music.


What sport or instrument did you play during high school?

I played tennis.

I played the tenor saxophone.


What is something you remembered this week?

I remembered to send an e-card for my sister's birthday.

I remembered a funny moment from my class.


Describe how a friend or relative seemed recently.

My mother seemed happy.

My friend seemed distracted and irritable.


Name something shown on TV.

The news showed President Obama giving a speech.

The movie showed many war scenes.


Where have you travelled?

I have travelled to England.

I have travelled to San Diego.

Bonus: Describe the preceding year. Did it go well? What did you do? Try to use at least 6 of the past tense verbs on this page.

Also practice speaking the past tense when -ed sounds like T and when -ed sounds like -ed.

Speaking Practice

ESL Advanced

Pronunciation of -Ed

Student Questions

About Speak Method
Accent Facts

How to Change Your Speech

Chart of English Language Accents

Choosing Your Voice

Milestones in Pronunciation

I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, holds the copyright for all materials on this site. Speakmethod is part of I.E. Tutoring.