Simple past: regular verbs (1)

Regular verbs in the simple past

The simple past is the verb tense used when something happened in the past. It is mainly used in written language, for example, in newspapers or books.

You already know the simple past of the auxiliary verbs sein and haben, and that of the modal verbs. Just like with modal verbs, regular verbs in the simple past are made by adding -te- to the root verb, followed by the ending that corresponds to the person doing the action. In the first- and third-person singular, however, there is no additional personal ending after the -te.

An example of a regular verb is machen, which is conjugated like this:

  Present Simple past
Singular    
1st person ich mache ich machte
2nd person du machst ich machtest
3rd person er/sie/es macht er/sie/es machte
Plural    
1st person wir machen wir machten
2nd person ihr macht ihr machtet
3rd person sie machen sie machten
Formal Sie machten Sie machten