This tag is for questions related to usage of the past tense in English.

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2answers
35 views

“It had not been working as I thought” vs. “It was not working as I thought”?

I want to convey that I recently discovered that a software code was not working like I thought it was working...I'm not sure how to phrase it correctly. Which A phrase goes with which B phrase? A1. ...
3
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3answers
81 views

Usage of Present Perfect and Past Simple in answer

I'm reading "English Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy and I have a question about Present Perfect and Past Simple. Here's the example from the book: They've gone away. They'll be back on Friday. ...
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4answers
53 views

What does 'had been long settled' mean?

The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. (My question) What does 'had been long settled' mean? Here my ideas.
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1answer
75 views

“Did you just…” present or past tense?

Consider the following two statements, and the tenses. Did you win? You just won. But what about *Did you just __ a camera*? Would it be followed by win or won?
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3answers
22 views

“In the past” or “Into the past”?

Maybe my question is only relevant for my current context. I'm writing a documentation that shouldn't allow a user (using a calendar) to add an event in/into the past. So, should it be in or into?
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2answers
31 views

Past or present to explain an active state in a past sentence

So, I have a sentence, more or less like this: "Gil, who HAS a psychokinesis ability, studied math yesterday." or "Gil, who CAN move things without touching them, studied math ...
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1answer
37 views

Which is correct - 'did with the egg' or 'with the egg did'? [closed]

I'm writing a story, which takes place in a past. Can you tell me which option is correct? When I was wondering what 1)did with the egg 2)with the egg did someone pushed me. I've chosen 1) but I'm ...
3
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2answers
107 views

'How dared you?' versus 'How dare you?'

A book I'm reading has this sentence in it: "How dared you go and see her without me?" Is the usage of the past tense 'dared' here grammatically wrong or just odd given the established phrase "How ...
1
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1answer
59 views

‘He decided’ vs. ‘He had decided’

He decided that I could have the apartment before he looked at my credit report. I found that sentence in an exercise, and I wonder why it isn't: He had decided that I could have the ...
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2answers
32 views

Usage of the Past Perfect of “to be” for 2 (discrete) past events?

He wasn't resolute thus he confabulated with her. How would I rewrite this sentence using the past perfect tense, because I sense that the sentence above currently is flawed? The first ...
2
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2answers
77 views

Mixing verb tenses involving a Past-Belief/Thought/Attitude about timeless facts

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? 1.) Oscar believed that the sum of two and two is four. In this case it seems to make the most sense to mix the past tense "believed" with the ...
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2answers
43 views

Shifting tenses in a short story

I am writing a short story using past tense, but I am a little bit confused when it comes to writing this part: She had never seen a man as athletic as him before. She knew Japanese men (were / are) ...
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4answers
56 views

Passive or Past perfect?

a) The train was left by then. Or b) The train had left by then. Could you tell me which alternative is correct?
3
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5answers
126 views

past simple vs past perfect

My question might seem to be stupid enough, it's basic grammar, I believe; however, I'm at my wits' end. Should we use Past perfect or Past Simple in the following sentence: He promised/ had ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

In a technical environment what is the correct sentence to use when solving a problem

What is the most suitable sentence to use when answering to someone about a problem that they had and we solved it for them: 1- The problem is solved 2- The problem has been solved
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3answers
40 views

What does “It can't have been her you saw yesterday: she is abroad.” become in indirect reported speech?

What does the sentence: It can't have been her you saw yesterday: she is abroad. become in indirect reported speech? He told me it… can't have been (?) couldn't have been (?) … her I had seen ...
1
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1answer
70 views

Present Perfect for the past?

I've come across the - more or less - following sentence in a book (American publisher): "They have done it in the past" I've always thought that "PAST" and "PRESENT PERFECT" can't go together. The ...
0
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1answer
63 views

Was + past participle [duplicate]

Is such phrase is correct? A request was sent to somewhere. Something is telling me that sentence below is correct one. A request has been sent to somewhere.
0
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1answer
84 views

“meeting called to order” vs “meeting call to order”

Which do you think is more appropriate, "Meeting call to order" or "Meeting called to order" if it's used in a printed meeting program? As for now, the program looks like this: 13:45 [Doors open] ...
2
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2answers
110 views

Should I use present tense in reporting speech?

Should I use present tense in reported speech? I have both sentences and not sure which one is correct: (1) Peter mentioned that the formula A is based on formula B. (2) Peter mentioned that the ...
18
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5answers
2k views

How would you describe the semantic phenomenon that allows this joke?

Groucho Marx had a joke that's long been a favorite of mine: I've had a wonderful time; this wasn't it. I assume he's using the present perfect to say I've had a wonderful time. But, when he ...
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1answer
45 views

“I [had] visited them two months ago” [duplicate]

A. I had visited them two months ago. B. I visited them two months ago. Which one is correct?
0
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1answer
28 views

Changing tenses

I am a sports writer and was wondering if this sentence is wrong because it starts in the past tense and changes to past participle "Sophomore Chelsea Vujs recorded a double-double by scoring a ...
0
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1answer
86 views

What is the difference between following 2 sentences? [duplicate]

What is the difference between following 2 sentences? Can you please explain me the meaning of both? "I have eaten my lunch" "I ate my lunch" Thanks a lot for helping.
0
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1answer
74 views

Which tense should use? Present Perfect or Past?

Which of the following sentence is correct? "I have talked with him today. He wants to do the work" or "I talked with him today. He wants to do the work." Which tense I need to use at the sentence? ...
0
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1answer
63 views

A question on narration in the past

This is a bit of a complicated question. The context is that someone gave advice to someone else. The whole situation is narrated in the past. I fear that by using the past tense, the reader may ...
0
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1answer
48 views

I would like to have come

I wonder how can it be it is correct to say: I would like to have come but I was not informed. (I found many examples on Google). Wouldn't it better to say: I would have liked to come? Or is there ...
0
votes
1answer
178 views

how to use “has been” [duplicate]

I had been preparing for a tennis event since March, but it has been postponed until next year. Question: Can "it has been postponed" be replaced with "was postponed" grammatically without changing ...
1
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3answers
170 views

Is the use of 'shew' and 'glew' as the past tense of 'show' and 'glow' commonplace in some areas?

A friend informed me recently that in some areas of England (he named Suffolk) it is relatively common to find 'incorrect' past tenses being used. His examples were: 'I shew him', instead of 'I ...
0
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1answer
57 views

Meaning of “bobbed” in “hair bobbed from a ray of sunlight” [closed]

From The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: Ed Miller: I was with a girl once. Wasn't a squaw, but she was purty. She had yellow hair, like uh... oh, like something. Dick ...
2
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3answers
129 views

Are pled and pleaded interchangeable past tense of plead?

From this article: http://nation.time.com/2014/02/03/stand-your-ground-michael-dunn-jordan-davis-killing-loud-music/ "Dunn has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges along with three ...
1
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1answer
58 views

In “Who would have thought he could do it!”, is “could” “was able” or “would be able”?

In the sentence "Who would have thought he could do it!" does "could do" mean "was able to do" or "would be able to do"?
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votes
8answers
615 views

“I didn't know you liked her” or “I didn't know you like her”

I have a friend who insists that "I didn't know you like her" is more correct than "I didn't know you liked her" if the liking is still taking place. But to my ear, only the latter ...
2
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3answers
99 views

told vs have told in a sentence [closed]

How do you say the next sentence? 1) I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake 2) I told him to stay on the path while he was ...
2
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2answers
99 views

“Is left untouched” or “was left untouched” [closed]

Which is correct? My book was left untouched for so many years. or My book is left untouched for so many years. Well, until now, that book is really untouched. So does that mean that just ...
1
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3answers
140 views

The unexpected had happened? [closed]

What's the correct way to say it? The unexpected had happened or The unexpected have happened or The unexpected has happened
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6answers
451 views

Past present future all in one word?

Does the English language have a mechanism for expressing past, present and future tense simultaneously? In other words, consider the following three sentences: 1) The force was with me. 2) The ...
0
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1answer
74 views

Using “must have” in the past [duplicate]

I know the must have/must had thing has been asked before but I have yet to see it in the context of this question. Does "have" make grammatical sense in the following? It sounds like it conflicts ...
1
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1answer
76 views

it “went” without saying?

I was reading a traveling novel and came across this sentence: We all caught the metro back to the centre of town at about midnight, drunk and very happy. It goes without saying that the carriage ...
3
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2answers
462 views

Why do we say and write “read” instead of “readed” for the past? [closed]

Why do we write read unchanged for present and past, while study changes; we have studied. The present form of read is read, pronounced as "reed". The past form of read is also read but it is ...
0
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2answers
51 views

What tense to use in this example?

I am developing a system for patients that allows them to see their medication history. There is a function that lists history of all drugs the patients have ever tried. I am trying to figure out ...
2
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3answers
692 views

“While” followed by simple past/past continuous

I'm currently reading "Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue" by Hugh Howey. Here's a short passage with my problem zone and the subsequent question: ...Well, I'm going to go do more Officser ...
0
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2answers
125 views

“fail to do” or “failure in doing”, which is better in this case?

I went to live in the small village to seek a simple life after my failure in finding a decent job in the metropolis. I went to live in the small village to seek a simple life after I fail ...
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1answer
47 views

Using knock and knocking

For a Halloween event, I dressed up as a student, knocked on my teacher's doors, and received extra homework. Can this sentence be rewritten using knocking? Is the following grammatically ...
2
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1answer
151 views

“Once…” in the past tense

I was standing on the spot where the murderer had been, thinking, "Did he hesitate? Once the trigger was pulled for the first time, there would've been no turning back." Can the following ...
0
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0answers
17 views

Which tense is more appropriate in the clause of this sentence, the simple past or present perfect? [duplicate]

Sentence 1: It is quite disappointed that I was not able to pass the exam even after having worked hard for three months. Sentence 2: It is quite disappointed that I have not been able to ...
5
votes
4answers
159 views

Latin-derived verbs

Are all Latin-derived English verbs regular? For ex. decide, arrive add -ed in their past forms. Are there any specific rules to follow? To spend is irregular: why? Does it depend on when these verbs ...
0
votes
1answer
214 views

Past continuous vs Past Perfect continuous

When I was taking a Biology class in 2005, we were assigned to do an animal experiment. So what is wrong with that sentence? I am using a free grammar checker website and it says the tense is wrong.
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0answers
27 views

Why “Would you mind if I asked you something?” is correct? [duplicate]

Instead of "Would you mind if I ask you something?" Why past tense, I don't get it?
0
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2answers
92 views

Past perfect in Crime and Punishment

I've just started reading the English translation of Crime And Punishment, and come across the following sentences where the usage of past perfect tense has confused me: He was so badly dressed that ...