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

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0
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2answers
45 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
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2answers
43 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.
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2answers
49 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 ...
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0answers
16 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?
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2answers
60 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
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1answer
73 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 ...
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2answers
52 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
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1answer
100 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
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3answers
335 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
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0answers
8 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
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2answers
47 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 ...
1
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1answer
85 views

Passengers heard 'screaming' - who was doing the “hearing”?

Passengers heard 'screaming' I feel this phrase could be interpreted in two ways: 1) The passengers could and did hear screaming (from someone else). 2) Someone else could and did hear the ...
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1answer
128 views

Begun or began? [closed]

whether to use begin began or begun seems to be well covered, but i'm wondering which feels natural or better, had begun or had began when talking about someone doing something.
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Sequence of tenses when some temporary action is still true

I got confused with the rule of the sequence of tenses. I found that when the action in the subordinate clause is a habitual action or general truth, we can use the present tense in the clause even if ...
-2
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3answers
53 views

How to use have/had in relation to a past tense action?

Lucy thanked me for what I have/had done? Here the action of 'thanking' is being done as a result of something that happens prior to 'thanking'. 'Thanked' shows the action has already been completed. ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Would it be 'meet' or 'have met' in this structure?

If I bumped into someone, who happened to be called John, yesterday, and I am telling someone else of the encounter, would I say: I happened to meet John yesterday. or I happened to have ...
0
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2answers
82 views

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time?

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time? For example A person who lived during 1790 could truthfully claim that Washington ...
-2
votes
1answer
53 views

Is 'walked' the correct tense in this paragraph? [closed]

The next folder she opened contained something that neither of them had expected: five photos of Emily’s brother. They had been taken while James walked through a glass door.
1
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2answers
208 views

using both Past Simple and Past Perfect in the same paragraph

Is there a rule about consistency within a paragraph, of using past tense and past participle in alternate sentences? In my writing class, I notice some writers mix the two freely. Since I see this ...
3
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2answers
219 views

Can “when verb+ing” refer to an activity in the past?

A correct sentence would be: When they were designing the product, they paid attention to... Is this grammatically correct: When designing the product, attention was paid...
0
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2answers
100 views

Can we use “Now” (not until now or until then) in past tense sentences

I wrote this to my friends a few days ago: (1) It used to take 5 seconds for me to reach Youtube, now it only took me 2 seconds to do it. I used "now" to refer to the moment when I installed a faster ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Present tense in Flashback story for something that is still true now?

I'm wondering whether I should use the present tense for a descriptive statement but in a past context. For example: (1) I went to the zoo and saw a giraffe last week. (2) Giraffe is a mammal with ...
4
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1answer
273 views

Origin of irregular ending “-ught” for past simple and participle

There is a little group of irregular verbs in English that follow a similar pattern, having "-ught" as their ending for past simple and for participle. These verbs are among the group of most used ...
2
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2answers
94 views

“Until” followed by past perfect or past simple

Recently we have been learning tense sequence with using after, before and so on. One of them - until turned out troublesome for me. My first exercise was to write this sentence with until: not to ...
1
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1answer
91 views

using “if” - when to use present tense, and when to use past tense?

As a native speaker of English, these two sentences sound acceptable to me: A full refund can be claimed if the school fails to provide a textbook. A full refund could be claimed if the ...
0
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3answers
144 views

reporting past simple tense [closed]

Choose: He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out. Some people say that past simple tense doesn't change in indirect speech, but my teacher says that the direct ...
0
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2answers
64 views

Can I use “when” to start a sentence with the past progressive?

My class is working on the past progressive and the simple past, and I was wondering if I can use when instead of while for the following sentence While I was eating, the bell rang. When I was ...
2
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2answers
68 views

to be + past participle

I wanted to ask a lot of questions concerning this phrase: I always consult with my children who are affected by the decisions to be made. What role does the particle "to" perform in this phrase? ...
0
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0answers
24 views

Describe the grammatical error in the sentence [duplicate]

"I did went to the movie" Describe the grammatical error in the sentence. I know that it is wrong but I am not able to explain it to my younger brother.
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2answers
45 views

“is + past tense verb”. Sugar is added or sugar added?

How to say correctly: 1) Sugar is added to the coffee. 2) Sugar added to the coffee. or 1) Software is tested successfully. 2) Software tested successfully. Thank you in advance
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0answers
145 views

Which is correct “was” or“ were”? [duplicate]

It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it was an oak. It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it were an oak. Which is correct sentence?
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the past tense form of s--t [closed]

Are shit, shat, and shitted all correct and fine to use as the past tense of shit? After a little bit of searching it seems that they are, with shat being Old English. Is any form more common in ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Past tense of wake: is there a difference between “waked”, and “woke”?

I just stumbled over the verb "to wake", which according to various sources has two valid forms for the past tense: "woke" and "waked". Some further research stated, that there seem to be two (Old / ...
1
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2answers
97 views

Past Simple and Progressive; depending on the sentence?

My question is based on Past Simple and Past Progressive. I had a test a couple weeks ago, and there was this sentence with 2 verbs that you had to choose one to make the sentence true grammatically: ...
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0answers
104 views

English simple past “did” in an affirmative statement

The English simple past (pretorite) uses did in inversion and in negative sentences. I ate at the restaurant. I did not eat at the restaurant. Did I eat at the restaurant? But is the affirmative ...
4
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2answers
367 views

The habitual past “would” versus “simple past” tense

One can use the habitual past 'would' to describe past events. For example one could say, Jim would spend weekends at the farm. He would cut weed and water the plants. One can also use the ...
2
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3answers
275 views

Mixing tenses in past tense fiction

In past tense works (novels, etc.) is there a place for some present tense verbs, such as "think" or "know" or "was." Example: I turned to leave, and he didn't try to stop me. I think I surprised ...
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3answers
64 views

Does the following statement make sense? [closed]

"As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devoted their lives to create change are forever remembered." Or should it be: "As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devote ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Use didn't leave yet, or haven't left yet? [closed]

My knowledge of English grammar is very basic. I learned English mostly from movies and a lot of times I choose a specific way to say something in English based on intuition or the feeling that it ...
0
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2answers
300 views

While I was waiting for [closed]

Which one is grammatically correct? I want to say that I waited the time that the bus would leave the terminal in the past tense. While I was waiting for the bus leaves, a man came to talk to me. ...
2
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1answer
81 views

“when” and “would” in a sentence

I would like to use when and would in the following sentence: When I would study on the morning of an exam I would say something like that. So, am I right?
0
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1answer
78 views

Is there past tense form of 'got'? [closed]

Is 'gotten' the past tense form of 'got' or is there even a word gotten?
0
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1answer
76 views

How do I use the verb “has been”? [duplicate]

What is the proper usage of "has been" in the sentences below? He has been working on it. He started working some time back (it may be near or long past) and still working. He started working ...
0
votes
2answers
332 views

“Every day” and present continuous vs simple present [duplicate]

Every day I'm eating vegetables. I eat vegetables every day. Can someone explain if there's a nuance in meaning of the two? If there's a better situation to use one than the other? (doesn't have to ...
1
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1answer
116 views

special usage of the past simple?

I'm reading Jennifer Haigh's short story Sublimation, and I came across a sentence that grabbed my attention. "Their son's habit isn't news to her, not really, though she always imagined he'd ...
-1
votes
3answers
97 views

“She had lost her consciousness last night at pub after having several cocktails”. Is this sentence grammatical?

She had lost her consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails. Is the use of had (the past perfect tense) right here?
0
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1answer
1k views

Have been awarded or was awarded? [duplicate]

My question is which one is correct: a) I have been awarded the science award 5 times or b) I was awarded the science award 5 times Thank you :)
2
votes
1answer
215 views

What does “not far wrong” mean?

First, what does the sentence below mean? He may not have been far wrong Second, why do we use have rather than has?
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4answers
173 views

Modals - ability

"He was able to win the race." It means he won the race. Can it also mean he didn't win? - he didn't use the ability to win. If not, how to express the idea?
0
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0answers
142 views

Present perfect or past perfect? [duplicate]

Since I have stopped working, I started to learn English at home. Since I had stopped working,I started learning English at home. Are both questions having the same meaning in this context?