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

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0
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2answers
57 views

I have drunken the water / I have drunk the water [on hold]

Assume that it is impossible to rephrase. I am inclined to believe drunk is correct, but I need another opinion.
5
votes
2answers
249 views

Discussing two people - one of whom is deceased

I am writing about Don and Doris Fisher - founders of the GAP - and their love of modern art. The problem is that Don is deceased, yet Doris is alive. Writing that the Fishers loved modern art is ...
0
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2answers
42 views

Did you still want vs Do you still want

Is it grammatically correct to ask: "Did you still want to go to the park today?" Or should it be: "Do you still want to go to the park today?"
1
vote
1answer
42 views

had not vs did not - past perfect [closed]

I recently watched a YouTube tutorial which talks about right usage of past perfect tense. For negative sentences in past perfect, a simple rule to frame sentences is - Subject + hadn't + main verb ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

“It's (high) time” vs. other uses of the past subjunctive

The most common usage of the past subjunctive is in counterfactual if statements: If I were you, I would eat more vegetables. Additionally, statements starting with "it's (high) time" are also ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Using “done” instead of “did”

How does it work the use of the past participle done instead of the past tense did? Where is this form used? Only in southern U.S.? How often?
3
votes
1answer
59 views

Words that are their own past tense

Does anyone know of a particular "rule" to know which words are their own past tense (such as "hurt"), and aren't modified for time? I'd like an easy rule to tell my students
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Must + present perfect in a narration about past events

As far as I understand, the construction must + present perfect is used to make presumptions about past events with the connection to the present: Look, somebody must've been here - the stove is ...
-2
votes
2answers
61 views

What one should reply to - “Can I talk to Jeremy?”

Situation I receive a call caller asked me;" Can I talk to Jeremy?" What is correct reply and What should I respond to this situation with. he has gone for lunch. he went for lunch. he ...
2
votes
3answers
46 views

Talking about general truths but within a context that uses past tense

Pikachu strolled along the street blissfully unaware that the Earth is round. or Pikachu strolled along the street blissfully unaware that the Earth was round. What is the ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the difference between 'past' and 'present perfect;?

Are they here? 1) Yes. They arrived. 2) Yes. They have arrived. I cannot understand what the difference is. Of course I know 1) is 'past' and 2) is 'present perfect' But in my country, ...
4
votes
2answers
269 views

What is the difference between “could've” and “could of”? [duplicate]

I have seen people using could of instead of could have. Are both of them correct? Is there a difference in meaning between them?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

I have a basic grammar question about the past tense. If I met a guy yesterday, which tense should I use about his name today? For example, "Yesterday I met a guy, his name is/was John."
2
votes
2answers
53 views

past simple vs present perfect in this example

A:Why is Lisa so upset about her trip ? B:She (had her luggage searched) three times. The answer in the workbook( "Grammar in Use") shows 'had her luggage searched' is the correct answer. I'm a ...
-1
votes
1answer
38 views

Are or Were? Which linking verb would satisfy this sentence [closed]

In 2003, around 80% of North America's population (are/were) urban area residents. Is the whole sentence grammatically correct?
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Can you say: “I wanted to ask, so I could know..” [closed]

On an email I saw this sentence and was wondering what it means? I wanted to ask you a few questions, so I would know what to start with. Does it mean that after I ask, I will know what to ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

Difference in meaning: past perfect and simple past

She lived in Switzerland for ten years when she was a child. or She had lived in Switzerland for ten years when she was a child. Being a non-native speaker, sometimes i get confused.
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Using of tenses!

This year two Spanish novelists (have been awarded) or (were awarded) I have had an argument about this, I have chosen have been awarded but my friend says that Nobel is once a year, that's why ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Past simple + before + past perfect [closed]

Is it grammatically correct to employ the past simple + the word "before" + past perfect structure? For example: "I borrowed the CD before he had listened to it." I have been told that it is ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Use of past or present tense in references?

Helping a friend with a poorly translated English paper and wondered about this: the source has the writer make reference to documents prepared the 1990s (agreements prepared but never signed by ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

Present perfect or past simple - “the best movie I (saw/'ve seen) this year”

I know the rule is to use past simple when you specify the time when the described action happened, but I strangely dislike this sentence and I'm not sure if the rule applies: "It's the best movie I ...
1
vote
2answers
39 views

Is there an error in tenses here?

"Your (noun) was (past test verb) before it was (different past tense verb)" OR "Your (noun) is (past test verb) before it was (different past tense verb)" The second one sounds more natural to me, ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Did I use Past tenses correctly in this sentence? [closed]

Is the sentence A: I used to play guitar, but now that I have bought a harmonica, I mostly play harmonica. more correct than sentence B: I have played guitar earlier, but now that I have ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

I saw him going to city. I saw him go to city [duplicate]

1:I saw him going to city. 2:I saw him go to city. First one refers to Gerund. Second one refers to infinite. Do they have the same meanings or changed? Define it with reasons.
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Unusual example of past and present combination [closed]

I understand past and present can often appear in the same sentence, but I have one example that's bothering me. In a past tense work of fiction, should the line be: That's when I noticed what ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Graduate or graduated ?

When I want to describe my self .. Should I say I'm a graduate or graduated student in .. What is more accurate ? Past or present ? P.s: I have a bachelor degree and I'm not planning currently to ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Nested Flashback - Past perfect tense w/in present tense or Past tense w/in past tense or Past perfect tense w/in past tense

So, someone from ELL suggested that I ask my question on this forum. I do not want to know if nested flashbacks are okay. I am simply asking about tense. Thanks for the help! Question is below: ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

How do I distinguish simple past and past perfect with “should”?

One type of construction that has always bugged me is the distinction between should (past tense of shall), and its past perfect form. Assume a character, let's call him John: He lost the poker ...
0
votes
3answers
557 views

I noticed vs I have noticed [duplicate]

Is there a difference between I noticed and I have noticed? What is the correct use of each of these? Thanks
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Have you seen or did you see?

In US, when people work together, they may look for a colleague or any person to tell something or for any other reason, asking other collegues/people such a question: have you seen Michael or did you ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Did + multiple bare infinitives in a question

What is the proper way to combine past tense of do (did) with multiple bare infinitives in a question: Did you go to vacation or stay at home? Did you go to vacation or stayed at home? Did you go to ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Using Past-tense or Present-tense for verbs

I found a perfect example on the internet about what I am trying to ask. Take a look at this: "Mr. Dilger wants to see you." Mr. Bruce went on to say. "It's about the same thing. I thought I'd ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Question about the usage of “WAS”

I have a question that really confuses me. Imagine I was chatting with my friends in a cafe, and friendA walked out the place for whatever reason. FriendB replied "she was beautiful," in this case ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

What's the proper and formal way of asking “Didn't we used to do …”? [duplicate]

I saw it used in an article online, and it doesn't seem proper to me because of the two past tenses used together. But since "use to" can't be used here, I don't know what would be the proper way. ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

verb tense agreement [duplicate]

I was named even before I was born. Is this correct? or I had been named even before I was born In the first sentence, the even before word clarifies the time frame. Do we still need ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

Referring to results in past or present tense [closed]

When I am reporting the status of some results, should I use past tense? For example, would it be correct to say, when the test result was announced in the past, "Your test result was failed. I am ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Correct grammatical form for a conditional statement describing a habit in the past

Let's say I want to describe a habit in the past (something that happened many times over and over again) in the form of a conditional statement. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

verb +ed or to be + verb +ed

I don't quite know the explanation to this. When they arrived, they found the door locked from inside. When they arrived, they found the door was locked from inside Locked sounds better than was ...
1
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3answers
103 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

Which tense is (more) correct in this sentence, the present perfect or past simple?

The sentence is: "These investigations have seen several officials arrested." I'm not sure which tense I should use, the present perfect here seems more natural to me but I can't seem to find a rule ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

asked + lived/lives

I asked where he lives/lived. I'm confused between lives or lived. Some say only lived can be used while others say both lived and lives can be used.
0
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2answers
79 views

Present or Past?

In this sentence: "It might be relaxing if you read a book" - why is the verb 'read' in past tense? Why isn't the verb 'read' in past tense with this example: "Why not read a book?" I'm just trying ...
0
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0answers
21 views

past and present tense and eliminating commas

For example, "It's a story about how Tim and John can't pay their mortgage, [and so, wind up], spending thousands of dollars to loan sharks." Can you have this sentence without the bracketed clause?
0
votes
2answers
94 views

The ambulance is on its way. There's been an accident?

Why hasn't the simple past been used rather than the present perfect in this sentence ''The ambulance is on its way to Beck's house. There's been an accident'' Why not: ''there was an accident'' It ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Is the question “If you didn't break the vase, who did?” a conditional sentence?

My problem is that I was taught (I think wrongly) that whenever a conditional sentence refers to past, there should be past perfect tense in the if clause, as in example 1. Example 1: If you ...
0
votes
2answers
161 views

Is “I shut up” proper english grammar [closed]

So I saw that "shutted" isn't an English word, but "I shut up" doesn't sound proper. If you were to tell someone "I shut up", talking in past tense, would that be proper?
1
vote
1answer
146 views

I'd been sent to kill him / I was sent to kill him. etc..?

When do I use had and when can I leave out had? or use was instead of had This is the context it was used in: With the Reds and the Germans knocking seven shades of shit each other back at Museum ...
5
votes
3answers
354 views

It was dark by now [duplicate]

Does the following sentence make any sense? "It was dark by now, and I realized that it was time to [...]," If it was an occurrence in the past, then wouldn't referencing it as "now" be ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Using past tense for retelling events, even though the logic behind the decisions made is still valid [duplicate]

This is related to this question about using past tense when speaking of something that was observed in the past, but you know it still is the same. What if you're talking about a generally held ...
0
votes
2answers
169 views

Which tense to describe the analysis on a dataset? [closed]

It is normal to analyze a dataset in a paper. I am not sure when to use present/past tense to describe how you analyze the data and what your results are. Here I use a short example text to illustrate ...