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

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41 views

What tense should I use in the following case?

I'm describing something in the past tense. However, that something repeats over and over again. What is more correct? A ball destroyed a vase. It was an infinite loop. The ball bounced up. It hit ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
57 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: ...
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0answers
27 views

I finished my essay yesterday but I (?) it in to the tutor yet

I finished my essay yesterday but I (?) it in to the tutor yet. A.I've given B.I hadn't given C.I didn't give Which is correct? My dear tutor said the answer had to be B. But I find no correct ...
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3answers
82 views

“Since she had given up smoking, …” or “Since she gave up smoking, …”?

Since she had given up smoking, she has been looking good. or Since she gave up smoking, she has been looking good. Shouldn't it be "had given up"?
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1answer
18 views

Present Perfect usage in a sentence; continue with the same tense or move to Past Simple?

I've been rewriting a known quote: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. I used the Present Perfect and turned the quote into: Curiosity has killed the cat, but ...
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3answers
49 views

Good decision I “made” / “have made” today

As a non-native English speaker, I'm a little bit confused. Should I say: The only good decision I made today was to ... or The only good decision I have made today was to ... What is the ...
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1answer
16 views

Tense in a general statement

Do all of these mean the same? Is one preferable to the other? It's important to finish what you start. It's important to finish what you started. It's important to finish what you've started.
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2answers
913 views

The difference between “past continuous” and “present perfect continuous”

Let's consider the following context: You come to the office on Saturday and see somebody finish some actions and now (s)he is sitting at your workplace (you didn't expect to meet anyone), ...
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0answers
32 views

How do I stay in the right past tense?

I recently wrote in my journal about a crash that had occurred on my way to work. I couldn't decide if I needed to write: Thursday morning, a truck had hit and killed a woman on the motorway. The ...
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2answers
48 views

Why past simple whereas present perfect should be used instead?

In "Game of Thrones", season 6, episode 4 there is a scene when one guy spots that his mate is sick (his hand is getting rotten) and gets worried about it. But the mate says: "Don't worry. I didn't ...
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0answers
38 views

Past tense of “to steel oneself”? [closed]

What is the correct way to render the past tense form of “to steel oneself”? My mind keeps suggesting “stole” but I know that is incorrect.
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1answer
49 views

Does/did in the following sentence?

So the context is A: I play the piano every night before I go to bed. B: I thought I was the only one who does that/did that?? Because person B thought before that she was the only one who did it, ...
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2answers
77 views

Time tense consistency

I was taught that we have to keep time tenses consistent throughout a sentence in English. I am writing a paper, and I wasn't sure of this. "I came to realize that information security is becoming ...
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2answers
22k views

Is “should” ever used as past tense of “shall”?

Looking at the dictionary, I read that should has origin as past tense of shall. In the modern English, is should ever used as past tense of shall? ORIGIN Old English sceolde: past of shall.
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2answers
6k views
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1answer
19 views

The date was advanced / The date has been advanced

What would be the difference between "The date of the meeting has been advanced by one week" versus "The date of the meeting was advanced by one week" The latter I've found in a dictionary. The ...
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1answer
45 views

We received/had received a letter [duplicate]

I want to acknowledge on receipt of a letter. Which one is correct "we received" or "we had received"? And please explain the usages too. Thanks
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1answer
69 views

Asking subject - object questions. 'Did' or past form of the verb in Past Simple?

The question is about the rule of asking questions in Past Simple tense. Please, look at the questions below and tell me if my thinking and naming of questions stated here are correct? For example ...
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1answer
51 views

Perfect Continuous

I know we use Past Perfect Continuous when an event in the past continue up until another event in the past: I had been talking with her for over an hour before Tony arrived. Can we use it when ...
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1answer
43 views

Past Perfect Progressive

I came across a website that says, using a Past Perfect Continuous is a good way to show cause and effect. The writer then shows an example. He was tired because he had been exercising so hard. ...
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2answers
670 views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence

Both these sentences contain two verbs (correct me if I'm wrong) that are in the past perfect tense. I'd like to ask how do they occur in chronological order. Though my question is related to the one ...
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0answers
20 views

Verb tense after someone died [migrated]

Let's say I had a friend that died. When talking about him, should I now say: I am his friend or I was his friend What about marriage? Should the wife say: I am his wife or I ...
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0answers
26 views

Conditionals in the past [closed]

If I have a conditional sentence of type 1, let`s say, "If it works out he will be awarded" how will it sound in the past, as if reported? Is it correct to say: "[Everybody thought that] if it worked ...
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2answers
31 views

Coming and going in the past

If I call my mother when I am done shopping in the morning, I might tell her "I am coming home" if she is at home, but "I am going home" if she is not. That afternoon at home, discussing the day's ...
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0answers
3 views

How do I show the past tense? [migrated]

She had to knew that I was there there for her help She had to know that I was there for her help She has to knew that I was there there for her help Please explain in details which ...
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0answers
21 views

rule for past to present converting

My question is How to know if a word must ends with "e" after you remove the "ed" to change it from past to present for an example "killed" after changing it to present it becomes "kill" while "loved" ...
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0answers
35 views

Survey Design: Past Tense vs. Present Tense

This seems silly, but I can't make up my mind. When asking survey participants to rate their attitude(s) about a past experience, should the statement be in past or present tense? For example, ...
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2answers
32 views

I thought I heard you call my name

I read several sentences, like these: "I thought I heard you call my name", should this be "I thought I heard you called my name"? "Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer", should this be "Yesterday I ...
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1answer
48 views

Passive and past tense

I have to write an abstract which present my research and results. Do you think the following sentences are right in terms of tense and using of passive together? 1."It has been observed that the ...
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2answers
43 views

Change of tenses

What is the past progressive form of- "I was ill"? Can it be changed at all? I think it cannot be changed but in a bit hesitation. Clarify the answer with reason.
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1answer
407 views

Do “it is time for someone to do something” and “it is time someone did something” mean the same thing? [duplicate]

I know that It is time (understood: for the speaker or for a group of people including the speaker) to do something. and It is time I or we did something. do not mean the same thing: the first is ...
2
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1answer
1k views

“Have you seen…” or “Did you see…?”

In the US, when people work together, they may look for a colleague or any person to say something or for any other reason, asking colleagues or other people this type of question: Have you ...
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1answer
107 views

“Have you washed it” vs “Did you wash it”? [duplicate]

What's the difference between these two questions? Speaker A: Your car looks very clean. Have you washed it? Did you wash it?
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2answers
350 views

The difference between “have been able to” and “was able to”

I have been able to buy the house I spoke of the other day. (1) Does (1) mean that I bought the house? I was able to buy the house I spoke of the other day. (2) I was able to ...
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3answers
3k views

Why do you write “occurred” but “listened”?

The past tense of to occur is occurred (not occured), but the past tense of to listen is listened (not listenned). Why? What is the general rule that is applied to make the past tense of a verb?
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2answers
44 views

Laid vs. Lain in This Sentence [closed]

Which past participle would fit best in the following sentence? I've always struggled with this one. The idea that had presented itself during the meeting had plagued him all night, and he'd ____ ...
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2answers
4k views

Double Past Tense? [closed]

Can you please tell me which one of these sentences is correct, and why? Thanks! Lastly, my experience as a teaching assistant helped me throughout the course as I shared what I did to make my ...
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0answers
28 views

Simple past or Past perfect or Present perfect?

The researcher finds a lot of articles about the famous cop having tampered with the evidence related to the arrests that he made. or The researcher finds a lot of articles about the famous cop ...
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0answers
69 views

I wished somebody told me

I got to the bank this morning to open an account, but I could not because I did not have one of the documents required. The day before, when I booked the appointment with the advisor, they told me to ...
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1answer
41 views

Reducing the usage of HAD in past-perfect constructs [closed]

If I change the below excerpt In the secret study of Duchess Bianca Cappello, Agent Brüder had heard a sickening thud followed by a growing commotion in the Hall of the Five Hundred. He ...
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2answers
2k views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence even though sequence is indicated

A group of environmentalists helped direct several small sharks that had lost their way after they had swum through polluted waters to migrate South. Swimming comes before losing the way, yet both ...
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2answers
140 views

What's the difference between “… you have completed the task” and “… you completed the task”? [closed]

Is there any difference in the meaning of the following sentences? Or do they mean the exact same thing? By doing both, you have completed the task. By doing both, you completed the task.
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2answers
261 views

Between Present Perfect and Simple Past, which tense indicates a finished action?

When one uses simple past tense for some action, does it imply that the action is complete? For instance, when you say “I wrote my article yesterday,” does this imply that at this moment you have a ...
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3answers
189 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 ...
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1answer
48 views

Gets older or Got older? [closed]

Is "I love her more when she got older." correct or "I love her more when she gets older."
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1answer
31 views

The usage of “was always”

Good evening everyone! Recentle I've been wondering if it's okey to use always with past simple. Here's a sentence I made up as an example: Baking cakes was always a hard task for me. Is it ...
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0answers
39 views

When do I have license to use the present tense in a *past* narration?

I am narrating a past series of events; of course, all the verbs are in the past tense. One verb, however, signifies an action that will be complete long after (years after) the moment of narration ...
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1answer
33 views

“Have you known” or “Did you know”? [duplicate]

Which tense should I use if for instance I'm talking about a curiosity and I want to ask if the person knew it?
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3answers
62 views

A word that is the past participle for having become something

I want to say: As someone who has recently become a father, ... but I would like to use the shorter form: As a recently ____ father, ... What word could I use here? "Become", "becomed", ...