The past tense for completed actions

The past tense for completed actions denotes actions completed at a particular time in the past and is roughly equivalent to the English past simple tense.

Unfortunately, it (as do all Bulgarian tenses) has two variants – one denoting an action the speaker witnessed and another denoting an action the speaker didn’t witness.

Describing actions that we witnessed in the past:

Positive sentences

Type 1 verbs:

аз писах (I wrote)
ти писа (you wrote)
той писа (he wrote)
тя писа (she wrote)
то писа (it wrote)
ние писахме (we wrote)
вие писахте (you wrote)
те писаха (they wrote)

Type 2 verbs:

аз работих (I worked)
ти работи (you worked)
той работи (he worked)
тя работи (she worked)
то работи (it worked)
ние работихме (we worked)
вие работихте (you worked)
те работиха (they worked)

Type 3 verbs:

аз исках (I wanted)
ти иска (you wanted)
той иска (he wanted)
тя иска (she wanted)
то иска (it wanted)
ние искахме (we wanted)
вие искахте (you wanted)
те искаха (they wanted)

Note that some of the past tense forms, especially for type 2 and 3 verbs may coincide with some present tense forms:
Той рабoти в банка. – He works in a bank.
Ти/той работи в банка миналата година. – You/he worked in a bank last year.
Той иска кафе. – He wants coffee.
Ти/той иска кафе вчера. – You/he wanted coffee yesterday.

Negative sentences

The negative sentences are formed by adding the negative particle не in front of the past tense form of the verb:
аз не писах (I didn’t write)
ти не писа (you didn’t write)
той не писа (he didn’t write)
тя не писа (she didn’t write)
то не писа (it didn’t write)
ние не писахме (we didn’t write)
вие не писахте (you didn’t write)
те не писаха (they didn’t write)

General questions

The general questions are formed by adding the interrogative particle ли which can be positioned differently in the sentences without any major changes in their meaning:
аз работих ли (did I work)
ти работи ли (did you work)
той работи ли ( did he work)
тя работи ли (did she work)
то работи ли (did it work)
ние работихме ли (did we work)
вие работихте ли (did you work)
те работиха ли (did they work)

Special questions

To form special questions you add a question word to the positive sentence:
аз четох → Какво четох (аз)? – What did I read?
ти чете → Къде чете (ти)? – Where did you read?
той чете → Кога чете (той)? – When did he read?
тя чете → Защо чете (тя)? – Why did she read?
то чете → Колко чете (то)? – How much did it read?
ние четохме → В колко часа четохме (ние)? – What time did we read?
вие четохте → Колко често четохте (вие)? – How often did you read?
те четоха → Кога четоха (те)? – When did they read?

The past tense of the
verb TO BE

Positive sentences:

аз бях – I was
ти беше – you were
той беше – he was
тя беше – she was
то беше – it was
ние бяхме – we were
вие бяхте – you were
те бяха – they were

Negative sentences:

аз не бях – I was not
ти не беше – You were not
той не беше – he was not
тя не беше – she was not
то не беше – it was not
ние не бяхме – we were not
вие не бяхте – you were not
те не бяха – they were not

General questions:

аз бях ли – was I
ти беше ли – were you
той беше ли – was he
тя беше ли – was she
то беше ли – was it
ние бяхме ли – were we
вие бяхте ли – were you
те бяха ли – were they

Special questions:

Защо аз бях тук? – Why was I here?
Защо ти беше тук? – Why were you here?
Защо той беше тук? – Why was he here?
Защо тя беше тук? – Why was she here?
Защо то беше тук? – Why was it here?
Защо ние бяхме тук? – Why were we here?
Защо вие бяхте тук? – Why were you here?
Защо те бяха тук? – Why were they here?

Describing actions that we didn’t witness

We use special forms of the past tense for completed actions to describe past actions that we didn’t witness:

аз съм писал/ писал съм
ти си писал/ писал си
той е писал/ писал е
тя е писала/ писала е
то е писало/ писало е
ние сме писали/ писали сме
вие сте писали/ писали сте
те са писали/ писали са

аз съм работил/ работил съм
ти си работил/ работил си
той е работил/ работил е
тя е работила/ работила е
то е работило/ работило е
ние сме работили/работили сме
вие сте работили/ работили сте
те са работили/работили са

аз съм искал/ искал съм
ти си искал/искал си
той е искал/искал е
тя е искала/искала е
то е искало/искало е
ние сме искали/искали сме
вие сте искали/искали сте
те са искали/искали са