The past simple negative

The past simple negative is used to talk about things that did not happen in the past. It is always formed the same way unless the main verb is “be.”

The past simple negative

The past simple negative

The past simple negative is used to talk about things that did not happen in the past. It is always formed the same way unless the main verb is “be.”

 

The past simple negative

The past simple negative uses “did not” or “didn’t” with the base form of the main verb. The main verb is not put into the past simple.



How to form

Some more examples:

You didn't like the beach 

They didn't buy a big, expensive car. 

She did not talk to anyone before the exam. 

("Did not" is only used for emphasis or informal situations.)

I didn't eat all the chocolate! 

Emily didn't enjoy the theme park as much as Zara. 

Hugh did not cycle to work today. 

 

Common mistakes base forms in the past simple negative

When using the negative form of the past simple, “didn’t” plus the main verb in the base form is used. The main verb is never in the past simple.

 

I didn't play tennis last night. (Correct)

("Play" should be in the base form.)
 

I didn't played tennis last night. (Incorrect)

(The main verb should only go into the past simple if it's a positive statement.)
 

The past simple negative of “be.”

To form the past simple negative of “be,” “not” is added after “was” or “were.”

 

The book was interesting, but the movie was not. 

The books were great, but the movies were not. 

How to form

Some more examples:

Kate was not feeling well. 

The cat wasn't in the house. 

("Was not" is often shortened to "wasn't.")

My parents were not pleased. 

The computers weren't working. 

("Were not" is often shortened to "weren’t.".)