Grammar

Simple past: haben

A verb in the simple past indicates that the action took place in the past. You already know the simple past of the verb sein. The verb haben is also often used in the simple past, e.g. when explaining why you arrived late:

Tut mir leid, mein Auto hatte eine Panne.
Tut mir leid, der Bus hatte Verspätung.

 

Below is another overview of the present:

Mein Auto hat (jetzt) eine Panne.

Singular  
1st person  ich habe
2nd person  du hast
3rd person  er/sie/es hat
Plural  
1st person  wir haben
2nd person  ihr habt
3rd person  sie haben
Formal  Sie haben

 

The simple past is formed like this:

Mein Auto hatte (gestern) eine Panne.

Singular  
1st person  ich hatte
2nd person  du hattest
3rd person  er/sie/es hatte
Plural  
1st person  wir hatten
2nd person  ihr hattet
3rd person  sie hatten
Formal  Sie hatten

 

Grammatical terms in German:

das Präsens:  The present is a verb tense. It is used when we are talking about events, activities or situations that take place in the present or are ongoing.    

das Präteritum: The simple past is a verb tense. It is used mainly in written language to describe events, activities or situations that took place in the past. Certain verbs, e.g. haben are also used in the simple past in spoken language.
Grammar