Help please! Which past tense verbs do you teach first?

OK, now I’m free to start work on some new themes for you!

One I want to do is a past tense verbs song.

I’ve got some really cool ideas built up but I want to know which verbs you teach first.

Do you teach the “….. ed” regular ones?

Or the irregular ones?

If you could write up your top 5 past tense verbs (or even sampleΒ sentences) you like to teach first (or which ones the kids like the best!) then I’ll get to work on some demos for you on the Beta Test / Top Secret Laboratory page!

(Remember the magic is in keeping the list cool but *small* )

Comments in the blog comments please!

As always, thank you for your help and support!

Richard

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

45 Responses to “Help please! Which past tense verbs do you teach first?”

  1. Roy Melling

    In Korea, the first lesson taught after summer vacation is ‘How was your vacation?’

    How was your vacation?
    It was great!
    What did you do?
    Did you…?
    I went to the beach
    I visited my grandparents
    I studied
    I played video games (popular answer)
    I watched t.v

  2. Margit

    良っし!ζ₯γŸγƒΌγƒΌγƒΌγƒΌγƒΌγƒΌοΌ
    If naturally no other one pops up I usually teach irregulars first; my top five list:
    (you like 5 recently, don’t you?!
    went
    ate
    drank
    forgot (this one usually pops up naturally very early age)
    and then I’m not sure about the sequence
    saw, lost and found

  3. Gumby

    Yes, Yes, Yes,
    I love Margit’s list. It leaves a lot of room for storytelling!

    mine are
    went
    ate
    saw
    had
    played

  4. sandra

    I teach first:

    -went
    -ate
    -did
    -played
    -studied

  5. sussie

    Great idea, I really need this!
    I usually go with the regulars +
    – went
    – was/were
    – said (very useful in story-telling!)
    – had
    – saw, ate, found

  6. mercedes acosta

    My verbs are:
    went
    played
    visited
    drank
    ate
    watched

  7. mido

    hi man
    i think it is better to start with iregular verbs
    go went
    do did
    read read
    keep kept
    have has had
    eat ate
    write wrote

  8. Claudia

    My verbs are:
    had
    was/ were
    went
    saw
    said
    ate
    + some regular ones such as jumped, opened, played …..

  9. nigel

    mine would be
    had (as this can be used instead of ate and drank)
    went (as people tend to go to lots of places, and can replace visited)
    played (kids tend to play lots of games. speaking of which, the books usually speak of video games, insn’t that an old fashioned expression, shouldn’t they be computer games (that’s what i call them anyway)
    did, didn’t, did, didn’t, did to, didn’t did, did did
    watched (yep they watch a lot of TV, not many bird watchers though)

  10. Roxana

    My list would be:

    was/were
    went
    had
    played
    watched

  11. David Hobbs

    I would like to teach the past tense as following words

    1. Be Verbs (were/was)
    2. came/went
    3. know/knew
    4. eat/ate
    5. sleep/slept (Taiwanese students really like to take this as their primary answers for questions like “What did you do last Saturday?”

  12. Janet Gray

    My first 4 verbs (present and past)I really concentrate on in the beginning are:
    have/had
    like/liked
    need/needed
    want/wanted

  13. Coleen

    The ones I taught in elementary school were:

    listened
    watched
    played
    read
    studied

  14. Miah

    Hello Richard, finally nice weather today! Hope you are doing well.

    OK the verbs:

    to eat
    to drink
    to play
    to do (sports)
    to watch

  15. youhee

    My words are
    – regular: played, watched, listened, studied, stayed
    – irregular : sang, swam, went, came, slept

    And
    What about
    go ~ing / play (sport or musical instrument)??

    – irregular : go/went (fishing, skiing, shopping, swimming ~~)
    – regular : play/played (soccer, tennis, baseball ~~~)

  16. Nathalie

    was
    were
    went
    had
    played
    ran

  17. Jesus

    did
    was/were
    studied
    went
    watched
    ran
    ate
    had
    payed
    walked

  18. Fantastico

    After was/were I teach
    “What did you do yesterday?”-I PLAYED football.
    “Was it good? -Yes, it was great!
    “What did you do yesterday?”-I WATCHED TV.
    “Was it good?-Yes, it was OK.
    “What did you do yesterday?”-I USED a computer.
    “Was it cool?- Yes, it was great!
    “What did you do yesterday?”-I VISITED my grandmother.
    “Was she happy?-Yes, she was happy.
    “What did you do yesterday?”-I CLEANED my room.
    “Was it good?”- No, it was horrible!

  19. Nena

    Here are my favorite ones:

    IRREGULAR
    go – went
    do – did
    say – said
    eat – ate
    see – saw

    REGULAR
    play – played
    listen – listened
    watch – watched
    want – wanted
    like- liked

  20. Carla Chazottes

    Hello Richard,

    Did
    Had
    Went
    Was/were
    Ate
    Played
    Walked
    Watched

    Great idea! Tks a lot

  21. Sonja

    regular: danced, clapped, jumped, walked, watched
    irregular: was/were, sang, ran, ate, went

  22. Ana mfont

    I teach verbs like:
    Be,come,go,like,eat, drink and them sit, jump, move….. I try to teach at the begining every day verbs.

  23. Amanda Pym

    These are the verbs that are most ueful (in my opinion)

    was/ were
    went
    had
    did
    liked

    hope that’s useful! x

  24. Morattel

    was, were – went – (ed) – saw – took – came – bought, for older kids

    for the yungest – I wached TV, I cooked spagetty, I listened to the radio, I walked slowly, I stoped, I claped my hands, I stomped my feet, I opened my eyes, I closed my eyes, I laughed, I cryed, I smiled, I was happy, you were saad,

    GOOD LUCK – I KNOW IT WILL BE JUST GREAT

  25. Resther

    I think some good verbs are:
    REGULAR: because you can use them to tell stories or what you have done in your holidays
    play
    visit
    invent
    discover
    study
    IRREGULAR:
    was / were
    had
    did
    come

  26. Darina Kocurova

    was/were
    had
    went
    saw
    wrote
    did

    maybe a song in the past with questions and answers would be a good idea, for example (something like that) Did you see an elephant? Yes, I saw it. Did you go… Yes, I went…and so on…
    However, we all are sure you will come up with something very suprising and exciting again!

  27. Jennifer

    Hi Richard,
    Did you get an email I sent you about this?
    1. past simple verb to be
    2. past simple regular
    3. past simple irregular
    4. past continuous
    5. present perfect
    6. past perfect.
    A storyline would help association for the past simple and after each tense you could contrast with the present. e.g. I drank coke yesterday but today I’m drinking milk.
    There are infinite possibilities.
    What about vocab? Are we limiting the words to stimulate learning the structures first and widen vocab later? Alternatively we could introduce very few words(about five) each time and build up,however this would mean a progressive course which yours really isn’t.

  28. lehang

    My lists are:
    – Regular verbs: walk, play, watch, listen,stop
    – Irregular verbs: go, have, eat, drink, sleep
    I think you should write TWO SONGS: ONE FOR REGULAR VERBS AND THE OTHER FOR IRREGULAR ONES

  29. Amalia

    Hi Richard!
    My top five list:
    be/was/were
    go/went
    do/did
    have/had
    play/played
    Thank you for your wonderful ideas!

  30. Petra

    I always start with regular verbs after was, were
    My list would be:

    regular: played, stayed, visited, travelled, wanted

    irregular: went, wrote, had, left, ate, broke

  31. Lines

    Go went gone Hiphopsoftware pack, it’s an escellent rap song to learn past verbs. My pupils love this pack and the learn a lot grammar with it easily and having fun because they love rap.
    They learn the verbs they usualy need in their speach, regulars and irregulars:
    played, went, got up, had a shower//lunch// dinner//read, was/were born, ate, drunk, visited, listened,did homework, cooked, made a cake…
    thank you very much for helping us so much.
    Please buy the hiphop software, pupils love it and learn by heart easily.

  32. Pat

    I teach the the irregular past tense..
    What did you do on the weekend?
    The answers to this question bring out these past verbs..before we start styudying past verbs
    Ate, went, saw, had, bought,was, did

    What did you eat?
    What did you see?
    Where did you go?

  33. Valentina

    The ones I choose are: saw, went, wrote, ate, slept

  34. Sabrina

    Richard,
    I always teach was/were and regular verbs first.

    1-was/were
    2-play, want, watch, call, live.
    3-write, go, have, take, buy.

    saludos desde Argentina,
    Sabrina

  35. Dan

    This comes up during class…”finished”. After a game, an activity or a song sometimes the kids say “finish” with no “ed” and it sounds like they are trying to tell me they’re from Finland!

  36. Jocely Kikuchi

    Hi Richard,
    I haven’t started yet teaching past tense form to my elementary students. But for the adults I usually got started with iregular verbs: here are my top five
    go- went
    do- did
    eat- ate
    have- had
    give -gave
    Thank you

  37. Gen

    These are the ones that come up most often-
    went
    ate
    drank
    had
    got

    they tend to pick up ‘did’ quite easily as they just copy my model questions and substitute for ‘do’.

  38. Miki Inosaka-Rust

    Richard–sorry this is late but here it goes! I don’t actually teach a huge amount of verbs (sad, I know!). But the one’s I do in past tense are: went to, ate, studied, played. I teach a bunch in present tense (drink, sing, skate, play, go, jump, kiss, etc). Good luck on the new stuff!!

  39. Jaynie

    I agree with Nena and the verbs she chose;same as me!
    Both regular and irregular would be great if you could manage it.
    Thanks.

  40. nikki fouere

    I think the verbs should be ones they will use the most in frequency.

    Was, were
    had
    went
    did
    could

  41. LMarie

    I think they should be ones we use in the classroom

    What did you do yesterday in English?

    I read a book.
    I wrote a sentence.
    I listened to a song
    I sang the song.
    I talked to my classmate.
    I went home!

    And what did Baby Monkey do?

    (repeat with he as a subject) reinforcing the idea that he/she/it don’t change in past simple.

    πŸ™‚

  42. richard

    Wow 42 comments – thank you!

    And the winners are………

    34 went
    23 played
    22 had
    22 ate

    18 was
    15 watched
    14 did
    8 saw

    I’m just wondering how you teach the difference between “watched” and “saw”?

    Also “did” & “was” seem a little out of pattern.

    So just in case the next four runners up were …

    studied
    drank
    wrote
    visited

    Thank you everyone and hopefully I’ll have some very funky demos for you soon!

  43. Gumby

    In elementary, I wouldn’t teach the difference between saw and watch

    Just use an example
    I watched TV
    I saw an elephant

    For the higher levels, I usually say that look is something you do consciously, watch is something that changes as you look at it, and see is something you may or may not do consciously .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *