Meaning of “the past tense” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"the past tense" in British English

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the past tensenoun [ S ]

uk /ˌpɑːst ˈtens/ us /ˌpæst ˈtens/

used to describe verb forms in many languages used for actions that have now finished. It is used by some people to refer to the past simple in English:

Add -ed to all these verbs to put them in the past tense.
I think her husband must be dead - she always talks about him in the past tense.

More examples

  • How do you say that in the past tense?
  • The perfect form is just one way of forming the past tense in English.
  • Some verbs have an irregular past tense.
  • 'made' is the past tense of 'make'.
  • The past tense of regular verbs is generally formed by adding -ed.

(Definition of “the past tense” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

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