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

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2answers
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Using “heretofore” in the past perfect

Is it grammatically correct to use "heretofore" in the past perfect? ...the king's power, which had heretofore been absolute. The meaning of "heretofore" is "before now", but would it still work ...
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3answers
26 views

Should I use present or past tense in indirect speech?

Suppose a person has told me this: I will go home. I want to report what he told me to someone else, but I don’t know whether the condition is still true — that is, whether he has gone home. ...
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4answers
435 views

“I never went to poker yesterday” - Is this grammatically correct? [duplicate]

A colleague of mine often pulls me up on my awful grammar, earlier today I said "I never went to poker yesterday" and she told me that it was grammatically incorrect. I understand that I ...
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1answer
22 views

Use of present perfect after past simple as clauses of the same sentence

Here is the thing I've written lately. Now, when I look at it, I'm not sure whether this is the right (natural, basically) way to put things. This post was written about a year ago, but it has ...
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0answers
37 views

Why is “has not had” wrong? [duplicate]

This is the sentence that needs correction: Peter realized that he has not had any experience with the extremely complex mechanisms of the mortgage industry until his father took him to Blue House ...
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3answers
53 views

Should I use past perfect tense here?

I was thinking about a certain situation. Suppose that one week ago, I played basketball once, and that today I was talking with a friend. I: I played basketball once last week. My friend: ...
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0answers
15 views

Grammar used in have been and had been in sentence [duplicate]

When we are going to use have been and had been ? Especially in Past tense and Past participle ?
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0answers
45 views

past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form

Method 1: wasn't/weren't + subject + verb(ing) + object? Method 2: was/were + subject + not + verb(ing) + object ? Which method correct in past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form? Or ...
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3answers
57 views

Past progressive construction

I’m confused about how to construct a past progressive sentence. If I say these: I was walking in the park. I was singing in the bathroom. Would these sentences be considered to be in past ...
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1answer
65 views

“Dream, dreamt” and “learn, learnt” irregular verbs: correct or not? [duplicate]

Often when I am writing emails or any other documents, I would like to use the irregular forms of dream (dreamt) or learn (learnt). But the computer spellcheckers always underline these words as being ...
3
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1answer
90 views

Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them? [duplicate]

We would never say "I builded my own house", and we would never say "I ment my fences" - as far as I can tell, words either went the d-to-t route, or they went the add-ed route. Gild, for some reason, ...
3
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1answer
78 views

simple past vs past perfect

I'm studying English and I want to ask about a sentence from my book: For myself I kept a solitary piece of china, one of the few remaining plates from the set my grandfather bought my mother for ...
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1answer
45 views

Tenses in the sentence [duplicate]

"On occasion he had even been entrusted with the rectification of ‘The Times’ leading articles, which were written entirely in Newspeak." Why can't we say: "he was entrusted"?
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1answer
40 views

the correct tense of “derive”

I'm a non-native English speaker. Given the sentence: The English word " olive " derives from the Latin word "oliva". Why is the present tense used, not the past tense? If I say, The English word ...
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1answer
45 views

He has only laid down for an hour today? [duplicate]

I would like to express that a person has only reclined for an hour so far today. Is it correct to say: He has only laid down for an hour so far today. or is it perhaps: He has only lay ...
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2answers
76 views

“I was used to do” vs. “I was used doing” [closed]

Good day everyone, Looked around and didn't find the desired answer to my question. Would you please be kind to give me a hand with the following: "I was used to do..." or "I was used to swim here" ...
1
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1answer
88 views

What tense to use when reporting something which has never been true or never happened? [duplicate]

The report said that years ago city planners had planned to build a facility that turns salt water into fresh water, but financial woes made that impossible. In this sentence should turned be ...
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1answer
249 views

“How long have you stayed there?” vs “How long did you stay there?” [duplicate]

I have a doubt about the difference between those two questions. Could you guys give me an appropriate examples and explanation? Thanks in advance!
2
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1answer
88 views

A dream come true - is it correct

I was confused by a company slogan I saw, and that made me wonder: Is it correct to write "a dream come true"? If I was the one writing it I would use "a dream comes true" but is the initial form ...
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3answers
87 views

How can I rephrase a question with if clause, to be answered only if the event of the “if” clause happened [closed]

I would like to ask a question which is to be answered only if some past condition is met: If you did something in the past, could you tell me more about it? How should I rephrase it?
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1answer
137 views

Does using “Their watch is ended” over “Their watch has ended” change the meaning of the sentence?

I've been watching this little HBO show by the name of Game of Thones. Perhaps you have heard of it. In the most recent episode the following line is used (and also happens to be the title of the ...
1
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1answer
59 views

Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? [closed]

If an action started in the past and lasted for some time, which tense should be used Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? For example, I worked out for two hours yesterday or I had been working ...
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0answers
34 views

Should we use “come” or “comes” here [duplicate]

I ran into this sentence in a ESL testing, "It really is like a dream come true." Just wonder why should we use come instead of comes here.
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2answers
82 views

“I've been waiting” Vs “I waited”

Let's say for example this sentence : Finally, you're here! Where were you ? What took you so long ? _______! 1- I've been waiting here for hours. 2- I waited here for hours. which one is correct to ...
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3answers
152 views

“Could have avoided” vs “could avoid”

This is a line from a fiction in which a killer says to the good guy For what it's worth I had hoped we could have avoided this day". I mean why not say "For what it's worth I had hoped we ...
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1answer
709 views

Can you use past and present tense in the same sentence?

Could you please confirm if the following sentence is correct or not? ...he comes over quite often, he and I got on quite well when we see each other so not much issue there. Or should it be: ...
2
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2answers
80 views

Products will be shipped in the same order they . . . ordered?

What is the correct word in the following sentence? Products will be shipped in the same order they [. . .] ordered. I am guessing for are or have been, but I'm not sure. Can someone explain? ...
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2answers
132 views

The clock (has kept/kept) precise time for over forty years? [closed]

The correct answer is "kept" but I don't understand why because shouldn't "over forty years" make it past progressive? This is from an ACT practice test. The passage talks about a guy making the ...
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2answers
66 views

Meaning of 'I didn't think you were'

What is the meaning of this sentence: I didn't think you were Why is 'were' used here instead of 'are'? How is that different from: I didn't think you are
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3answers
104 views

I wanted to know

Is this sentence grammatical with were (for talking about the present), or is are is better? I wanted to know if there were any accounts assistant posts available. I wanted to know if there ...
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0answers
19 views

Class [has been / was] removed. [duplicate]

If I want to make a very short remark as a comment to a fragment of computer program, what would be the best style of the three variants below please? Class ProjectControl... ...removed ...was ...
2
votes
5answers
91 views

Does “typically” always imply a habitual occurrence?

Example: When she lost her wallet, typically, she panicked. That looks awkward and incorrect. A present tense version of the sentence looks correct: When she loses her wallet, typically ...
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4answers
432 views

Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
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1answer
131 views

what's the difference between “past tense” and “past participle”? [closed]

For example,in this sentence: Begun in 1078, the Tower of London was built in London’s southeast corner by William the Conqueror. Why does that sentence use begun not began?
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0answers
11 views

Using the past tense and present tense in one sentence [duplicate]

Why is this acceptable English? I did see him The two verbs did and see use different tenses. did is past tense and see is present. However if there is a conjunction then we keep the past tense. I ...
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1answer
185 views

It's funny that you should say that. Why “say” not “said”?

There's an exercise in Murphy's Grammar in use unit 34. "It's funny that you should say that. I was going to say the same thing." Why not use past tense "said" but "say" here? Another should ...
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2answers
55 views

“Cannot believe what he saw” versus “cannot believe what he was seeing” [duplicate]

Which of the following sentences is grammatical: The boss could not believe what he saw yesterday morning when he entered the office. The boss could not believe what he was seeing yesterday morning ...
2
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1answer
56 views

“Does our process cause users to abandon tasks they WERE/ARE about to perform?”

I have written the following sentence as part of the conclusion to my thesis. This represents one of the future research questions, i.e., it is not part of my research questions, it is something that ...
2
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2answers
47 views

Difference between “Past Progressive” and “Past Perfect Progressive”

From this resource I find two situational explanations of Past Progressive: "Interrupted action in the past." with an example She was reading a book when the light went off, had a shower and ...
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4answers
813 views

“Did you like what you saw/see?”

So I heard this in a movie and I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct . . . Should it be: 1.) "Did you like what you saw?" or 2.) "Did you like what you see?" Which one is right, you ...
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1answer
107 views

Past tense vs past participle in passive forms [closed]

For example: The car is driven by my a friend of mine. vs The car is drove by a friend of mine. Which one is correct?
3
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2answers
151 views

Using past tense when referencing a still-true fact [duplicate]

In the sentence: "I didn't know she had a son," Can I say "I didn't know she has a son" instead, because he is a teenager now? Or are both correct?
2
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4answers
106 views

There is a current trend of using past tense, when meaning present tense.

For example, someone on the phone said, "I was calling to ask for a form," when she meant to say, "I am calling to ask for a form." I hear this consistently, and usually in customer service ...
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2answers
143 views

Can Past Progressive Tense be used for habitual past? [duplicate]

I ran across the following sentence in an ESL textbook (by Jack C. Richards): "I was going to auditions" which was used to say what the subject would do for some time after college. However, almost ...
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3answers
83 views

Can I say “she made a good baby” to say “she was a good baby”?

I know we can say "someone makes a good leader." But can the same thing be used in past-tense "he made a good leader." ?
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4answers
229 views

Present Perfect with the word “ago”?

First, I check that my native language is not English, and the problem described below met on one of the exams. With this sentence: "The most important news is that my parents ... a new ...
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2answers
3k views

Was vs had been

I guess this question has been asked before, but please take a look the following sentence and tell me if there is a difference between them. When the transaction had been completed, A was still a ...
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2answers
65 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. ...
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3answers
282 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
116 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.