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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

2
votes
2answers
9k views

“Until” and past perfect

Having seen one sentence in "Practical English Usage" by M.Swan (a very popular grammar book), I was really puzzled. I waited until the rain had stopped. The past perfect is generally used to ...
9
votes
4answers
17k views

Past tense of “backup”

Which is the past tense of backup? backuped backup-ed backed up backed-up The context is the following: Due to the advent of cloud-based storage solutions, the data is backed up in different ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

If a statement is in the present perfect, should the tense be repeated in the next question?

Here's a conversation: Speaker 1: I have already seen this film. Speaker 2: When have you seen it? [OR] When did you see it? Speaker 1: Last month. The two questions uttered by Speaker 2 ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

Must present perfect tense be used if the action takes place more than once?

I was told that if an action is completed once in the past, the simple past is used. Ex: I saw that movie. If the action is completed more than once, the present perfect tense must be used. Ex: I ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“so that” + present/past tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'? Which one is correct: Introduce additional user interface widget so that it was ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Past simple with today

For example, I want to say that I found a ball today. But "today" means action in present, am I right? I've already searched the Internet and it seems the right way is this: I found a ball today ...
24
votes
7answers
32k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
6k views

“Grit” vs “gritted”

Dictionary sources tell me that the past tense of grit is gritted rather than grit. Why does that sound weird to me? Am I delusional, or is this one of those words changing in current usage? Pet is a ...
1
vote
1answer
386 views

Unreal situation in the past [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Would have had to have been” vs “would have had to be” for past event conditions What's the difference in meaning between these phrases? would'...
2
votes
2answers
572 views

English Subjunctive [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English? Why is it that in the English language, the past subjunctive is the same as the past indicative for all ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Past tense of “mind” in “mind your own business” [closed]

With a saying such as keep it to myself you can say the past tense as kept it to myself. How about mind my own business? Should it be minded my own business, mound my own business or something else?
1
vote
2answers
3k views

“If I was”/“If I were”: what's the right usage and why? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? From what I have read so far both are correct and was is used in an informal ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“You have hidden a request sent by …” versus “You hid a request sent by …”

I have come across a couple confusing sentences when hiding (ignoring) requests on Facebook. The first response message was: You hid a FarmVille request sent by John Doe and the second was ...
2
votes
2answers
746 views

How to say “Thanks for being my friend” for past friendship

I need to send a card to refer to past friendship. Is Thanks for being my friend! grammatically correct? I would not like to use the past perfect tense to express this (e.g. had been).
1
vote
3answers
31k views

“When did you born?” [closed]

When did you born? Can you please tell me which of the items below is the literal translation of the question? When did you give birth? When were you given birth to? Also, how do we answer to ...
2
votes
2answers
954 views

Using verb tenses correctly

I'm trying to keep this descriptive essay in the past tense. I bolded the words of my concern (and italicized the ones I believe are in the right tense) in the following passage: As a result of ...
0
votes
1answer
589 views

Is that a correct usage of present perfect?

What do you think about this sentence? Do you have bought the lesson book? Is that a correct usage of "Do you have bought"? Or should I say "Did you buy"?
20
votes
2answers
190k views

'I get it' vs. 'I got it'

When someone tells me something, how should I respond, "I get it" or "I got it"? I have a feeling that "I got it" means "I already knew the thing before you told me," and "I get it" means "Now I know ...
2
votes
1answer
570 views

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions?

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions? For example, "She added some water to the flour and was mixing it until she got a lump of dough" or should it be ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Use of the word “have”

In a menu title/button, does "have" need to be used? Is "1" okay or should "2" be used? 1) People who contacted you in the last 24 hours 2) People who have contacted you in the last 24 hours This ...
4
votes
2answers
29k views

“Has been” vs. “was”

Should one use has been or was in the following sentence, and why? For many years the USA has been a British colony. For many years the USA was a British colony.
1
vote
2answers
783 views

Does Caesar and Augustus refer to the same person? [closed]

In this recording of a Documentary about Dark Age For three days, the great capital of Caesar and Augustusis ravaged by its unwelcome guests, the stunning architectural marvels that stood for ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

I thought they must be poor

How different is (1) 'I thought they must be poor' from (2) 'I thought they had to be poor'? Does (2) emphasize David did think so but that he does not think they are poor any more now that the ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Past tense of the verb “FedEx”

How do I write the past tense of FedEx? For example: I FedEx'd the package to you yesterday. I Fedexd the package to you yesterday. I FedEx-d the package to you yesterday. I am ...
13
votes
5answers
11k views

Is “shined” correct? If so, is “he shined X on the tree” also correct?

Recently, I overhead a former professor of mine use the word shined, a word that makes me grammatically uncomfortable. She used it as following: "Then, after we shined a light on the other ball, what ...
5
votes
3answers
62k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What is the past tense of this phrasal verb (double down)?

Blackjack players can "double down" after receiving their initial two cards. What is the past tense of 'Double Down'?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Past tense of “must” when meaning logical probability

I'm wondering how to say this sentence in the past tense: He must be very clever I have seen that the past tense of "must" is "have to" but it doesn't sound good to me to say something like "he ...
10
votes
2answers
13k 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
vote
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 ungrammatical. ...
2
votes
1answer
7k 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
7k 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.
12
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
421 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
349 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 century ...
8
votes
3answers
541 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
31k 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
91k 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
68k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
5k 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 soundness....
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: ...
17
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
36k 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
12k 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
33k 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?" "I'...