Using the past simpleThis is the basic past tense. We use it whenever we want to talk about the past and we don't have any special situation that means we should use the past perfect, present perfect or past continuous.
Finished actions, states or habits in the past.
1: We use it with finished actions, states or habits in the past when we have a finished time word (yesterday, last week, at 2 o'clock, in 2003).
- I went to the cinema yesterday.
- We spent a lot of time Japan in 2007.
- Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.
- The Vikings invaded Britain.
- I've hurt my leg. I fell off a ladder when I was painting my bedroom.
- I've been on holiday. I went to Spain and Portugal.
- He went to a café. People were chatting and music was playing. He sat down and ordered a coffee.
5: We use the past simple to talk about things that are not real in the present or future. So we use it with the second conditional and after words like 'wish'.
- If I won the lottery, I would buy a house.
- I wish I had more time!
If you want to learn more about the tenses, especially about how to use them when you're speaking, you could try my video course, Terrific Tenses, which is part of Perfect English Grammar Plus.