Published 9th August 2018

TEFL students

The regular verbs of the past simple are formed by adding -ed. Play becomes played. Like becomes liked and so on. The problem is that in English we also have irregular verbs which don’t follow this pattern. For example, do becomes did and eat becomes ate. Read on to find out how to help your TEFL students.

The irregular verbs will be in the back of your TEFL student’s coursebook. They will need to commit these verbs to memory. You can help them by creating games which use the irregular verbs or using word search or worksheets to help them.

Useful grammar reminders for TEFL students

The past tense is used:

  • When something has happened once in the past – I left school in 1989.
  • When things happen more than once – We ate a lot when we were on holiday.
  • When something refers to a time in the past – I lived in Spain for 2 years.

We can also use the word ago with past tense phrases – It happened a long time ago

Negatives and Questions

We use the past tense of do with questions:

  • Did you see that car?
  • Did you live in Spain a long time?
  • Did she pass her exam?

We use didn’t (did not) with negatives:

  • We didn’t go on holiday this year
  • I didn’t call her yesterday

Some TEFL students may get confused using do/did with question forms. For example, they may ask why ‘do’ isn’t used with all wh- questions.

Question forms is another lesson, but as a quick explanation you can tell your students if there is an auxiliary verb or a modal then we use that verb. For example;

  • How much does the watch cost?
  • When does your sister get home?

When there isn’t an auxiliary verb we use do/did

If you’re teaching TEFL students as beginners, start off with irregular verbs such as:

  • Be – was
  • Become – became
  • Can – could
  • Do – did
  • Eat – ate
  • Get – got
  • Go – went
  • Have – had
  • Leave – left
  • Make – made
  • Say – said
  • Sit – sat
  • Tell – told
  • Write – wrote