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

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9
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2answers
12k views

Past tense of 'to output': output or outputted?

According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Past tense vs Past participle tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect tense versus past tense Here is the example: I haven't spoken any English for more than 3 years. vs. I didn't speak any English over the past 3 ...
16
votes
3answers
13k views

Why do we use 'did' with questions using the simple past tense?

Where did you go last night? Where went you last night? Is there a reason we say the first of the previous two sentences as opposed to the last one? I know the second sentence is ...
2
votes
1answer
6k views

What does “I was had” mean?

Maybe he would help me with Deborah's pablum, take turns pushing the wheelchair. It's good to have someone. That reminded me that I had someone -- or perhaps I was had. In any case, Rita would ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

When and why is “flied” used as the past tense of “fly”?

Why is the form "flied" used in baseball instead of "flew"?
2
votes
2answers
163 views

“Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles”?

Is this a proper past tense? Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles.
10
votes
5answers
24k views

What is the past tense of “sync”?

I've always believed the past tense of sync ("I sync my phone with my computer") to be synced ("I synced my phone with my computer yesterday"). This question would seem to suggest either synced or ...
2
votes
2answers
408 views

“Passed” versus “past” instance in a published novel

A certain book by a famous author has been released in a new second edition. Unfortunately, it appears some changes have been made for the worse. For instance, in the first edition you read the ...
1
vote
2answers
340 views

Is the past tense of “go” related to the word “venture”?

I'm wondering whether the word "went" is a cognate of or otherwise related to "venture". Is it, despite the different spelling?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the past tense of “dive”? Of “spell”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: UK English: Is "dived" a valid word? Spelt and Spelled “Dreamed” vs. “dreamt”, “leaped” vs. “leapt”, “lighted” vs. “lit” Evolution of irregular verbs over the last ...
8
votes
3answers
531 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
11
votes
3answers
29k views

“…didn't finish…yet” versus “…haven't finished…yet”

If I worked on something yesterday but it was not finished, which tense should I use? I didn't finish it yet or I haven't finished it yet
2
votes
2answers
84k views

What's the proper past tense of “to freeze”: “freezed” or "frozen? [closed]

Which form should be used for the past tense "freezed" or "frozen" or are both acceptable?
5
votes
5answers
64k views

Which is the correct past tense of “spin”: “span” or “spun”?

All the while I was writing my answer to this question, something was bothering me about this excerpt from the quotation: When Adam delved and Eve span, The past tense of delve is properly ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Past tense and “rather than”

I found myself with a sentence like this, using "accept" in the infinitive form after "rather than": They left the club, rather than accept the terms. But I'm unsure of its grammatical ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I say I regret something in the past tense?

How to say you should do something in the past but you did not. Is this a correct usage? I had to finish my homework. Are there any soft versions?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the past tense correct in “Did you know Fred was a doctor?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: He didn't know where New Jersey was… Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true My wife and I were disagreeing about this today: ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Are the verbs that are conjugated to end in “-n” in the past related?

There are many words that in English are conjugated in the past tense to end in "-n": grow goes to grown, sew goes to sewn, throw goes to thrown, etc.. I'm guessing it was probably the regular ...
4
votes
3answers
33k views

When should I choose “had come” over “came” in the following sentence?

Take for example: I met Raschel three years ago. He represented a small company of which he was also the proprietor. He came to show the presentation of his product plan. Many companies, ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Past-Tense of the Verb “CC”

I commonly use the verb "CC" (carbon copy). I know I could use the word "copy" instead, but I prefer to say "CC" (pronounced see-see). For example, I might say (and have told my co-workers): I ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I change the tense of a hyphenated verb?

I'm certain this can't be the only example there is of a hyphenated verb, but it's the only one I can think of right now. How should one appropriately convert "mouse-over" into the past tense? ...
12
votes
2answers
32k views

Past tense of “to wing”?

Is there a past tense of the verb "to wing," meaning to make up on the fly? Inspired by a blog post of Wil Wheaton, quoted partially below. "Is it from a recipe, or are you winging it?" ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

How can I phrase a question about a theoretical event in the past, which cannot happen anymore?

I'll try to give some specific examples, as this one is rather difficult to explain. Example 1: Imagine you have been attending a kindergarten in Canada. Now you are 30 years old, so you won't go to ...
1
vote
4answers
29k views

“Done” vs. “did” & “seen” vs. “saw”

I am trying to find a logical way to explain how/when to use "done" vs "did" and "seen" vs "saw". The person I'm coaching uses the terms in the following manner and I just don't want to correct him, ...
0
votes
2answers
909 views

Present or Past tense to describe a past condition which is still present?

Scenario: My friend John has a personality disorder, intensely paranoid for example. Can I say: There were three events last year that told me John had a problem. or can I say: There were ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“They knew what mercy is” vs. “they knew what mercy was”

They knew what mercy is. They knew what mercy was. Mercy is something that always exists so can I say is as in the quoted example?
2
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3answers
4k views

When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past? [duplicate]

I've finished my work. I finished my work. When do I use one or the other?
9
votes
3answers
69k views

Difference between 'haven't …yet' and 'didn't… yet'

I was wondering what the difference was between a sentence with have and one with do. For example this one: They haven't started yet. They didn't start yet. Is there a difference? ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

“Would fly” versus “would have flown”

I am not a native speaker of English. Could anyone please tell me which sentence is correct? If I had money, I would fly to Spain. If I had money, I would have flown to Spain.
6
votes
4answers
1k 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: ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to describe the future in the past

I've always used would as the past tense of will: Present: Tomorrow, I will go to the beach. Past: The following day, I would go to the beach. However, in response to my question on ...
1
vote
3answers
10k views

How can I use the verb “sad” in the past continuous?

How can I use the verb "sad" in the past continuous? E.g.: I was crying. I was missing. What should be the sentences for sad or upset in past continuous? Why do some words like the two above ...
7
votes
3answers
18k views

“I just ate them” and “I've just eaten them” — What's the difference in American and in British?

I know there are differences between American and British English in this area. So when answering, please specify whether you speak American or British English.
10
votes
1answer
5k views

UK English: Is “dived” a valid word?

Proofing a manuscript, I found this in the middle of a chase scene: Spotting an opening, I dived into it and was horrified to find it was a dead end. Is “dived” a valid past tense of the verb ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Should the past perfect be eschewed?

The past perfect serves a purpose: When describing things that happened in the past, it allows us to discuss things that happened before (i.e., in the past’s past). However, a procession of had, had, ...
11
votes
6answers
8k views

“I have never said” versus “I never said”

I have never said this. I never said this. Is the usage of have in the first sentence justified or grammatically correct? What is the difference in meaning? When should I use one form over ...
3
votes
5answers
18k views

“Got promoted” vs. “Was promoted”

Should I use got or was in the sentence below? Many years thereafter, he ... promoted to [...] This might be somewhat related to this question, but I'm not sure. Edit: After reading some of the ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

“Today” in the past

Let's say I'm talking about some day in the past. In formal writing, I would use: Earlier that day, I had lunch with my boss. But is the following also correct? Earlier today, I had lunch ...
10
votes
3answers
29k views

“Had better” — what is the meaning of this grammatically?

I'm interested to know why we use had better for recommendation. Technically we're speaking of an action that hasn't yet occurred. Like he had better leave a tip means he hasn't yet left a tip, but I ...
8
votes
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.
4
votes
6answers
45k views

Is “would” the past future tense of “will” or just a modal verb?

What's the difference: Would you give me some advice? Will you give me some advices?
33
votes
4answers
24k views

“Cancelled” or “Canceled”?

Cancelled or Canceled ? Which one is right? You have successfully canceled the registration or You have successfully cancelled the registration
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“it would take me 1–2 seconds”

or "it would took me 1–2 seconds"?
2
votes
4answers
358 views

“when I clicked on video file nothing has happened”

when I clicked on video file nothing has happened. Is that correct?
37
votes
5answers
33k views

What's the negation of “I used to be”? Surely not “I didn't used to be”?

What is the negative form of "I used to be"? I often hear "I didn't used to be" but that sounds awfully wrong in my ears.
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Complicated sentence in the past: did vs. would do

Consider the following: On my way back home from work I recalled what my boss had asked I did - turned off the lights before I went. Hence unfortunately I had to drive all the way back to the ...
24
votes
2answers
10k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Use of past and progressive tense

Can someone tell me which, if any, of the following sentences are correct: When she walked in, he was laying on the bed. When she walked in, he was laid on the bed. When she walked in, he ...
7
votes
6answers
24k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
8k views

When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture?

Regarding actions taken in the past, besides the differences those two tenses have semantically, my teacher shared that it could be a British vs American English case. When talking about past ...