Basic English – Past Simple: Whitney Houston’s funeral

 The grammar here is for Beginners. The Elementary English that we explain is Irregular Verbs for when we are talking about the past: Past Simple (Preterite). There is a table of irregular verbs here for reference.

Everyone knows that Whitney Houston died in a hotel in LA last week. She had her funeral on Saturday and many people attended it, including lots of celebrities like Mariah Carey. Kevin Costner spoke about filming the movie, ‘The Bodyguard’ in a great speech. Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keyes also sang at the emotional service. It took place in her home town of Newark in New Jersey, USA and because a lot of people wanted to see the ceremony, it was shown live on the internet. A lot of fans didn’t want to miss it. There is one question that people still ask: how did she die? We know that she died in the bath after a late night party. Unfortunately, nobody knows exactly, and the doctors said it will be another few weeks until they know the full reason. Some fans blame her husband, Bobby Brown, for indirectly causing her death. They did not like him at all. Did he have a bad influence? Only he knows, but everyone thinks yes. They thought that when they married in 1992, her life got worse. However, other fans just want to  see the positive things in her life. She did a lot of great things:

  • She sold 170 million records all over the world
  • She had 11 UK and US number one songs
  • She won six Grammy awards
  • Her song “I Will Always Love You” was the biggest-selling song of 1992 and is still the biggest today by a female singer
  • Her film ‘The Bodyguard’ was also very successful and made her a movie star, as well as a singer

It is a shame that she did not have a good image when she died, but she will always be remembered by her fans for her earlier good things…especially for her magical voice. The funeral on Saturday gave time for people to think about the good parts of her life and they did not forget that she was once the ‘Pop Princess’. The funeral ended with her most famous song “I Will Always Love You” and it was a nice way to close the life of a superstar.

Past Simple

1.     The past simple expresses a past action that is finished, usually with a past time 2.     The verbs are divided into two groups; regular and irregular. 3.     Regular verbs are formed by adding –ed to the end of it (e.g. want – wanted). 4.     A list of irregular verbs can be found here. 5.     The form of the past simple verbs is the same in all people


I/he/she/it/we/you/they  +  past simple verb Whitney Houston died in a hotel


I/he/she/it/we/you/they   +   didn’t (did not)   +   infinitive They did not like him


Question word (what/where/how etc.)   +   did   +   I/he/she/it/we/you/they   +   infinitive How did she die?

Yes/No Questions

Did   +   I/he/she/it/we/you/they   +   infinitive Did he have a bad influence?

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