The simple past is used above all in written language to describe the past. It is used, for example, in biographical texts:
Der Architekt Walter Gropius wanderte 1934 aus und arbeitete ab 1937 in den USA.
The verbs wandern and arbeiten are examples of regular verbs. You've already learned the difference between regular and irregular verbs in the present perfect tense. Verbs that are regular in the present perfect make the past participle by adding -t. These verbs are also regular in the simple past.
We make the simple past of regular verbs by adding -te- to the verb root, followed by the personal ending. In the first- and third-person singular, no ending is added the -te.
The verb is conjugated as follows:
|1st person||ich wanderte|
|2nd person||du wandertest|
|3rd person||er/sie/es wanderte|
|1st person||wir wanderten|
|2nd person||ihr wandertet|
|3rd person||sie wanderten|
You already know this conjugation from other verbs in the simple past.
If the verb root ends in -t or -d, -ete- is inserted after it.
|1st person||ich arbeitete|
|2nd person||du arbeitetest|
|3rd person||er/sie/es arbeitete|
|1st person||wir arbeiteten|
|2nd person||ihr arbeitetet|
|3rd person||sie arbeiteten|
Grammatical terms in German:das Präteritum: The simple past is a verb tense. We usually use the simple past in written language to describes events, activities or situations that took place in the past. The simple past of some verbs, for example sein, is also common in spoken language.