English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

when I clicked on video file nothing has happened.

Is that correct?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

No, that would imply that the effect would have come before the cause, i.e. that the video would have been shown before you clicked to show it.

You should keep the same tense for cause and effect, as the effect if expected to come almost immediately.

When I clicked on a video file, nothing happened.


When I click on a video file, nothing happens.

share|improve this answer

That is not entirely correct. Here is how I'd say it:

When I clicked on the video file, nothing happened.

  • You need an article before "video file", or it would be unclear whether you meant just any file or a specific file.
  • You need a comma after "file" because the sentence begins with a subordinate clause.
  • You need the past simple "happened" because it is about something that happened at a specific time in the past.
share|improve this answer

There is an issue with semantics as well. You don't actually click on a file, but on an icon or a label or some other on-screen element that represents the file. I would rewrite the sentence as:

when I clicked on the video, nothing happened

Or, if you want to emphasise the "file" aspect of the interaction:

when I clicked on the video file [icon/title/etc.], nothing happened

share|improve this answer

No; you're mixing the perfect and the imperfect past tenses (and missed out an article, too). Make them both perfect with the following:

When I clicked on the video file, nothing happened.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.