past simple bare infinitivesFollowing on from the exercise testing understanding of the bare infinitive in the present simple, this article tests understanding of how it is used in the past simple. In the past simple, verbs change forms with +ed for regular verbs, or in a variety of ways with irregular verbs (which can require a different form for he/she/it subjects). This means almost all past forms are different from the bare infinitive (except for some rare irregular verbs). The exercise below tests the difference, with answers.

Bare infinitives in the past simple – exercise

Complete the following sentences in the past simple using the verb in brackets. Should it be a bare infinitive, or a past verb form?

  1. Did he ______ a new pair of trousers? (to buy)
  2. We ______ for hours, but no one came. (to wait)
  3. I’ve eaten all of the chocolates, they ______ really good. (to be)
  4. What did you ______ to the mayor when you met him? (to say)
  5. When their team scored, the home team ______ loudly. (to cheer)
  6. Lady Taylor didn’t ______ her stamp collection with just anyone. (to share)
  7. When did your foot ______ better? (to get)
  8. They ______ on a houseboat for three months. (to live)
  9. Who ______ to your most recent party? (to come)
  10. Where did that pile of newspapers ______ to? (to disappear)
  11. He sent her flowers purely because he didn’t _____ to seem ungrateful. (to want)
  12. When she laughed, he _____. (to cry)



  1. buy (bare infinitive)
  2. waited (regular past)
  3. were (irregular past)
  4. say (bare infinitive)
  5. cheered (regular past)
  6. share (bare infinitive)
  7. get (bare infinitive)
  8. lived (regular past)
  9. came (irregular past)
  10. disappear (bare infinitive)
  11. want (bare infinitive)
  12. cried (regular past)

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