Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's lesson, we are going to talk about something many students have difficulty with. We are going to talk about the past simple -- or simple past -- tense and time markers, which can help students to figure out what tense to use. So I'll explain this in a second. First, my question: What is the past simple? What is the simple past? Well, "I ate two cookies." The present tense: "I eat two cookies. Every day, I eat two cookies." So in the past, we would say "ate". So usually, simple past are verbs, actions that end in "-ed". So we have "cleaned" -- "I cleaned the floor." "I cooked spaghetti." "I baked a cake." "I worked all night." These are all "-ed" -- past verbs. We also have some things called "irregular verbs", like "ate" -- "ate", "lay". What are some other irregular verbs? "I ran to school yesterday." "I run -- right now, I am running. Every day I run to school. Yesterday I ran to school." So these are irregular verbs. So if you look at my timeline, we have the future. What's the future? Everything after today. So this would be tomorrow. Maybe this would be a week from now. Maybe this would be 2020, and then 2050. So this is the future. This line right here represents now. Today it is the year 2013, okay? Maybe when you watch this, maybe it will be 2014, but right now, as I film, it is 2013. So that's the present; that's now. This is all the past, okay? This is all before. This is 1990, 1950, 2000. This is yesterday, so things that happened before. So when we talk about the past tense, we're talking about here. Okay. So now, let me tell you what "time markers" are. Many students, they hear the present -- present perfect: "I've never been to China." "I have eaten four cakes today." They hear this, and then they hear the simple past, "I ate four cakes." Which one do you use? Simple past? Present perfect? And teachers love to test on this. So how do you know? Well, one way is using things called "time markers". These are our time markers right here. So we have, "yesterday", "the other day", "last week", "last month", "last year", "when", "just now", "ago", and "in". So these are all words that we can use with the past simple or simple past. You do not use these words with the future. You do not use these words with any of the presents. You use them with the simple past or past simple. Okay. So let's do some examples. I could put "yesterday" here. "Yesterday, I ate two cookies." Okay? I could say, "Yesterday, I ate two cookies." "The other day, I ate two cookies." "Last week, I ate two cookies." "Last month, I ate two cookies." "Last year, I ate two cookies." Even if this isn't written, if it's a test: "I _________ two cookies." "I eat two cookies"? "I have eaten two cookies"? As soon as I see "yesterday", I know: "Yesterday -- ate." "The other day -- ate." "Last week -- ate." Okay? So these are your clues. So memorize them. Associate them with the simple past. Now, we have "when" here. What do I mean by "when"? "I ate two cookies when -- when I was eight years old." "I ate two cookies when I broke up with my boyfriend." Okay? So you can use -- when you see "when -- blah, blah, blah", "when I -- blah, blah, blah", this is a clue. This should be -- what should it be? Simple past or past simple; not present perfect. "Just now": "Just now, I ate two cookies." "Just now, I went shopping." "Just now, I made a video." Okay? So again, "just now" -- what is it? That's right. Past simple or simple past. "Ago": "ago"? This is when you're talking about a certain amount of time. "Two years ago, I went to Thailand." "Five years ago, I went to France." "Two days ago, I ate two cookies." Okay? So there's usually a number in either years, days, weeks -- "ago". As soon as you see "ago" -- past. Finally, the last one we will talk about today: "in". "In 1990 -- what happened in 1990? In 1990, I was a little kid." "In 2000, I finished grade 8." "In 2009, I think, I finished university." So if you see "in" with a year, what is it? It's simple past. Okay. Very good. And what do all of these things have in common? Again, they are talking about -- if we look at this -- a moment in time, okay? They're looking at a moment. They're not looking at this whole period of time. They are not looking at a long period of time. They're looking at a moment. All right, so let's do some questions to see how much you guys remember. Okay. So let's do some questions together. I have a blank; I will tell you the verb; I want you to tell me is it simple past? Is it -- it doesn't matter if you don't know what it is, but just tell me if it's simple past or not simple past, okay? Based on the time words you see. So let's get started. No. 1: "Yesterday, I ______ a movie." So the verb is "see". "Yesterday, I see a movie"; "Yesterday, I've seen a movie"; or "Yesterday, I saw a movie"? What do you think it is? Do you think it's simple past or present or future? It is simple past: "saw". How do we know it's simple past? We have our key clue: "Yesterday". Okay? So let's try No. 2: "Just now, I ______ my homework." So we can say, "do my homework", "did my homework", "have done my homework". Do you think this is an example of simple past or something else? Let's see. Here is our clue: "just now". Was this one of the words you saw before? It was. So what does that mean? "Just now I did -- sorry about my writing. Just now I did my homework." So again, because we see this, we know what form the verb should take. No. 3: "I _______ to China before." What's our time expression here? We have the word "before". Here is our clue. Was "before" one of the words on the list? Do you think "I went to China before"? Or "I have been to China before?" What do you think? It is not simple present. No simple present. I'm just going to put an "X" here. I won't explain which tense it is, but just know "before" is not simple present -- not simple present. What am I saying? Simple past, okay? It is not simple past. "Last week I _______ shopping." Okay? So what is the clue here? Here is our expression, our time expression: "last week". Is this simple past or is this something else? "Last week I go shopping"; "Last week I went shopping"; "Last week I have been shopping"? What do you think? If you said "simple past", you are correct. "I went shopping." Good. Okay. No. 5: "At the moment, I ______ to school." So we can have different verbs for this, but this is our clue: "At the moment". Was this on the list before, "at the moment"? If you think, "No, it wasn't on the list", you are correct. "At the moment, I went to school"? No. "At the moment, I go to school." So this is not simple past. No. 6: "I never ______ French." So "I never" -- we'll say the verb is "learn". Do you think it's, "I never learned French"? "I've never learned French"? What do you think? Is it simple past? Here is our clue word: "Never". It is not a simple past sentence. If you see "never" -- not simple past. It would be "I've never learned French." No. 7, last one: "Four years ago, I _______ to Toronto." So we'll say the verb is "move". Do you think it's "I moved to Toronto", "I moved to Toronto", or "I have moved"? What is our clue here? Can you find the clue? Ding, ding, ding, ding! "Ago". "Four years ago I..." -- what is it? It is simple past. "...I moved to Toronto." So again, when you see these words, you know what it is: simple past or past simple. It doesn't matter which one you call it. Different people use different terms. Okay. So the main thing I want you to remember from this video is there are expressions you can use to help you know what tense you should write the verb. Another thing I want to say is these things you really need to practice. You need to practice, practice, practice, and get used to thinking of "yesterday -- oh, simple past". "Never -- not simple past." So if you want to do more practice, I would like to invite you to our website: www.engvid.com. On this website, I will have a list of different questions similar to this where you can to a lot more practice. Okay, so until next time, take care, and thanks for watching.