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

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2answers
38 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
37 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. ...
2
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2answers
79 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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3answers
706 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 ...
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5answers
3k views

Is “drownded” a word?

Is there such a word as "drownded"? I would say "drowned" but I am hearing "drownded" so often I am beginning to wonder. For example: He went into the deepest waters and drownded.
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3answers
82 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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1answer
66 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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4answers
54 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
44 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) ...
0
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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 ...
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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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
1
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1answer
60 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 ...
1
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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 ...
4
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4answers
625 views

Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true

I'm describing a situation that happened in the past. To explain it, I want to use a description that is both true now and true when the situation happened. Specifically, I want something like: ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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.
7
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2answers
1k views

Is “forwent” used much?

I see "forgo" used quite a bit, and "forgone" is quite common too. I can't say I've ever seen or heard of "forwent" and in fact, I had to look it up to make sure it even was a word at all. Is it ...
0
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1answer
86 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] ...
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7answers
9k views

Is “must” ever grammatical as a past tense verb?

I have seen uses of must that appear to be in the simple past tense. Sometimes these seem grammatical, but sometimes not. Examples that help illustrate my confusion: He knew he must go to New York ...
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2answers
112 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 ...
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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?
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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
77 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
3k views

past/present tense when telling a story in spoken English

I've noticed that, in daily conversations, when people are telling stories in the past, they often shift the tense back and forth between the past and the present - even they're native speakers. For ...
0
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1answer
183 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 ...
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
50 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 ...
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3answers
175 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 ...
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1answer
58 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 ...
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3answers
135 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 ...
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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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8answers
619 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 ...
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6answers
6k views

Are “might” and “should” past tenses of “may” and “shall”, respectively?

According to the dictionary definitions (e.g. in Merriam-Webster) , "should" is the past of "shall" and "might" is the past of "may": But are these modal verbs really used as such? I know they are ...
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 ...
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3answers
142 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
460 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 ...
3
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3answers
237 views

Is it ok to use the irregular past tense of a verb as it were a regular one?

Let's say I say / write catched instead of caught or buyed instead of bought, etc. I know this is grammatically incorrect, but is it incorrect or perfectly fine to use it in every-day life ? English ...
0
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1answer
75 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 ...
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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 ...
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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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3answers
25k views

Which past tense of “to light” should I use here?

I know that there are two ways to form the past tense of to light (i.e. lit/lighted). Which one is appropriate for the sentence below? His thoughts lighted our way. or His thoughts lit our ...