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What is the Past tense of Forget?

Past Tense of Forget “Forget” is a very useful word in English, especially for learners who want to express a failure in memory when it comes to vocabulary or grammar.

It can come in handy when trying to explain why something is taking longer than expected to remember something.

As we have just mentioned, “forget” is a verb that refers to a failure of memory when it is accidental, and also a deliberate action of removing certain thoughts from one’s mind.

The past tense of “forget” is “forgot” and the past participle is “forgotten”.

What is the past tense of Forget

What is the past tense of “forget”?

Forget (verb):

(1) To fail to remember something (involuntarily)

(2) To deliberately try to remove information from one’s mind  

  • Infinitive                     to forget
  • Simple Past                forgot
  • Past Participle            forgotten

Conjugation Table for “Forget”

Example Sentences

(1) To fail to remember something (involuntarily)  

  • I forgot to bring my umbrella and now it’s raining!
  • He felt like he was forgetting something, but couldn’t quite think what it was
  • We totally forgot about the meeting tomorrow!

  (2) To deliberately try to remove information from one’s mind  

  • Forget about that money you owe me, it’s not a problem
  • Don’t let bad memories stop you from being happy, just forget them; put them out of your mind
  • Forget your troubles with a nice, long vacation
What is the past tense of Forget

Focus: Past Tense of Forget

Everyone forgets things from time to time, which is why it’s such an important verb for English learners to master. Beyond using the term in its infinitive form, it’s critical that we learn about using it in its various past tense forms.

Below we have prepared example sentences that showcase how to use “forget” in different contexts in the past tense, including:  

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

Simple Past

  • I forgot our wedding anniversary last year and my wife was furious
  • He’s quite sure that his boss forgot his name during the meeting, but can’t say anything
  • You forgot to submit two of the forms, so I’m afraid we can’t process your application

Present Perfect

  • As a society, we have forgotten too many of our national traditions
  • I have forgotten my purse, and have no way to pay for this! How embarrassing!
  • All of them have forgotten their ID cards, so we will have to cancel the trip

Past Continuous

  • We were forgetting how experienced we really were, which is why we struggled through that situation
  • Henry was always forgetting his gloves in the winter, so his mother sewed them into his jacket sleeves

Past Perfect

  • We had gotten halfway to the airport when we realized we had forgotten to lock the back door
  • I had forgotten all about that thing until you mentioned it just now

Understanding the Verb “Forget”

The verb “forget” traces its origins back to the Old English “forgietan”, meaning “to lose” (one’s grip on). It is used to express the lack of memory or remembrance about something or someone.

The term encompasses not just the involuntary act of not remembering but also the intentional act of trying to disregard or put something out of one’s mind.

Phrasal Verbs with “Forget”

  1. Forget about: To stop thinking about or considering something/someone.
    • Example: “Forget about the past; focus on the present.”
  2. Forget to: Overlook or neglect to do something.
    • Example: “I forgot to lock the door when I left.”
  3. Forget oneself: To behave in a manner that is not typical or acceptable, usually because of strong emotions.
    • Example: “He forgot himself and shouted at his boss.”

Nuances in Usage

  • Forgetting vs. Not Remembering: While “forgetting” often implies a loss of memory, “not remembering” is more neutral and doesn’t necessarily imply that the memory was once there.
  • Forget + Time Phrases: Often paired with time references to indicate duration.
    • Example: “I’ll never forget the day we first met.”

Common Mistakes

  1. Incorrect: I forget to call him yesterday. Correct: I forgot to call him yesterday.
  2. Incorrect: Don’t forget about to take your umbrella. Correct: Don’t forget to take your umbrella.
  3. Incorrect: I’m sorry, I forgot your name again. Note: While this is technically correct, it might come across as rude. A more polite option could be: “I’m sorry, could you remind me of your name?”

In Summary

Forget” is a commonly used verb in English, capturing the essence of lost memories, overlooked tasks, or intentional disregard. Its correct usage in varied contexts – from daily interactions to more formal settings – demonstrates a nuanced grasp of the language.

We also have a full list of irregular verbs from A – Z on the site which you can access from the link here.

You can check other past tense words and our past tense resources by clicking on the links in the table below and in the resource list below that.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

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We also have articles and worksheets which we will link examples of below, and if you need more you can try the search box.

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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