English Grammar Exercises for A1 – Past simple: be and can

1. Look at the calendar. Write sentences about Natalie and Chris. Use the past simple of be (affirmative or negative).

Calendar

Day

Chris

Natalie

Mon

Budapest

Madrid

Tues

Rome

Lisbon

Wed

Athens

Athens

Thurs

Paris

Prague

Fri

Istanbul

Budapest

Sat

Dublin

Dublin


1 Natalie / Madrid / Monday

  Natalie was in Madrid on Monday.

2 Chris and Natalie / Athens / Wednesday

  ________

3 Chris / Lisbon / Tuesday

  ________

4 Natalie / Dublin / Saturday

  ________

5 Chris and Natalie / Dublin / Friday

  ________

6 Natalie / Budapest / Monday

     ________

Show answers

2 Chris and Natalie were in Athens on Wednesday.

3 Chris wasn’t in Lisbon on Tuesday.

4 Natalie was in Dublin on Saturday.

5 Chris and Natalie weren’t in Dublin on Friday.

6 Natalie wasn’t in Budapest on Monday.

2. Where were Chris and Natalie last week? Complete the questions, then write answers.

1 __Was__ Chris in Budapest on Monday?

  Yes, he was.

2 Where __was__ Natalie on Tuesday?

      She was in Lisbon.

3 ____ __ Natalie in Budapest on Wednesday?

  ____________

4 ____ __ Chris in Istanbul on Friday?

  ____________

5 Where ________ Natalie and Chris on Wednesday?

  ____________

6 ____ __ Chris and Natalie in Athens on Thursday?

  ____________

7 ____ __ Chris and Natalie in Dublin on Saturday?

     ____________

Show answers

Was; No, she wasn’t.

Was; Yes, he was.

were; They were in Kraków.

Were; No, they weren’t.

Were; Yes, they were.

3. Look at the chart. Write questions and answers about Martha and Liam. Use the past simple of be and can.

Martha

Liam

write his / her name

age 3

age 4

ride a bike

age 6

age 5

swim

age 7

age 7


1 Liam / write his name / four?

     Could Liam write his name when he was four?

     Yes, he could.

2 Liam / swim / six?

________________

3 Martha / ride a bike / seven?

________________

4 Martha and Liam / swim / seven?

________________

5 Martha and Liam / ride a bike / four?

________________

Show answers

Could Liam swim when he was six? No, he couldn’t.

Could Martha ride a bike when she was seven? Yes, she could.

Could Martha and Liam swim when they were seven? Yes, they could.

Could Martha and Liam ride a bike when they were four? No, they couldn’t.

4. Complete the dialogue. Use the past simple form of be and can (affirmative, negative or interrogative).

Mike   Where 1 _____ you last weekend? I 2 _____ phone you on your mobile.

Rachel Sorry, mobile 3 _____ on. I 4 _____ in the USA. The calls are very expensive!

Mike   5 _____ you in New York?

Rachel No, we 6 _____ We 7 _____ in Chicago.

Mike   What 8 _____ it like?

Rachel It 9 _____ amazing. On Saturday morning we 10 _____ at the top of the Willis Tower. But we 11 _____ see much because the weather 12 _____ very good.

Show answers

1 were   2 couldn’t   3 wasn’t   4 was   5 Were   6 weren’t

7 were   8 was   9 was   10 were   11 couldn’t   12 wasn’t

Challenge!

Where were you at these times? Write three sentences.

1 at seven o’clock yesterday evening.

  ________.

2 at ten o’clock on Saturday morning.

  ________.

3 at three o’clock yesterday afternoon.

     ________.