what is the past tense of speak
ESL | Grammar | Past tenses | Teaching

What Is The Past Tense Of Speak?

past tense of speak

The verb “speak” is one of the first ones that many learn when learning English as a second language. Even when it is our mother tongue, learning to speak is one of the biggest milestones in our early development, and thus the word has a firm place in the imaginations of English speakers everywhere. The simple past tense of speak is “spoke” and the past participle is “spoken.”

What is the past tense of “speak”?

Speak (verb):

(1) To say something with the aim of conveying information, opinions or ideas to another person

(2) To give evidence about something (used for objects, behavior, manner, etc.)

  • Infinitive                       to speak
  • Simple Past                spoke
  • Past Participle             spoken

Conjugation Table

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Ispeakspokehave spokenam speaking
You (sing.)speakspokehave spokenare speaking
He/She/Itspeaksspokehas spokenis speaking
Wespeakspokehave spokenare speaking
You (pl.)speakspokehave spokenare speaking
Theyspeakspokehave spokenare speaking

Example Sentences

(1) To say something with the aim of conveying information, opinions or ideas to another person

  • He spoke with clarity and conviction
  • When someone else is speaking, you should be listening
  • If you want to learn to speak another language, you should be ready for a big challenge

(2) To give evidence about something (used for objects, behavior, manner, etc.)

  • The bags under his eyes speak to his lack of sleep recently
  • His manner in court yesterday seemingly spoke guilt, it was difficult to watch

Focus: Past Tense of Speak

For a better and more comprehensive understanding of the word “speak” and how to use it in the past tense, we should study some example sentences in the following forms:

  • Simple past
  • Present perfect
  • Past continuous
  • Past perfect

Simple Past

  • The teacher spoke very quickly in class, and I’m afraid I couldn’t keep up when note taking
  • He spoke to me in such a rude manner, I had to ask him to leave the room and come back later
  • They spoke to one another like old friends, but they were thinking something very different

Present Perfect

  • I have spoken on this topic many times before, so I feel confident about this presentation
  • My sister and I haven’t spoken in years because of some fight we had when we were in college. Do you know? I can’t even remember what the fight was about
  • He has spoken to me before about you, and I am very excited to finally meet you in person

Past Continuous

  • I was speaking to him yesterday, but he seemed distracted
  • Was that John you were speaking to yesterday?
  • We were really speaking the same language during the meeting yesterday. I’m glad to hear you are being so supportive of the plan

Past Perfect

  • I had spoken to them about this on that very afternoon, so I’m surprised to hear that they subsequently went out and did that!
  • You had spoken briefly about that topic, but I think were then interrupted by the fire alarm

You can check other past tense words by clicking on the links in the table below.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs


I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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