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

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10
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
188 views

Why is the progressive form used here?

In February 1825 he married Julianne Thiemer, daughter of a property owner and well-established glove-maker in Seesen. Heinrich, a cabinet maker without property, a Beiwohner(boarder), was marrying ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Differences in Past Tense: 'used to have' vs. 'had' (non-native speaker)

I don't understand the difference between these sentences. Is there a special usage for each? I used to have three cats and I had three cats
4
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between “I forgot” and “I had forgot”?

I forgot versus I had forgot. What is the difference between the two phrases?
3
votes
2answers
2k 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
4answers
423 views

Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
2
votes
4answers
86 views

There is a current trend of using past tense, when meaning present tense.

For example, someone on the phone said, "I was calling to ask for a form," when she meant to say, "I am calling to ask for a form." I hear this consistently, and usually in customer service ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

American native speaker and perfect tenses

Yesterday I sent my friend a useful gift in online game. Today I can see he has not accepted it yet. Which sentence is grammatically correct and most natural in American English? "You didn't ...
2
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
245 views

A prediction made in the past that affects something we will do in the future

Please ignore the factual accuracy of this sentence and focus on the tenses used. If the Mayans were wrong to end the calendar on Dec. 20, 2012, we'll use your donation to fund 2013 programming. ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Did you ever hear(see, do, anything else) vs. Have you ever(seen, done, and so on) heard? [closed]

What's correct? If both, what is the difference between these questions? An example from The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: MacDonald turned over the letter which Holmes had handed ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Difference between “would have” and “would” in the following

When we talk about past habitual or behavioral events, what is the difference between the following two sentences? Every once in a while I would go to this friend's house and we would get into a ...
0
votes
3answers
119 views

“Could have avoided” vs “could avoid”

This is a line from a fiction in which a killer says to the good guy For what it's worth I had hoped we could have avoided this day". I mean why not say "For what it's worth I had hoped we ...
0
votes
2answers
586 views

Simple Past and Present Perfect [closed]

could you possibly enlighten me about any differences between 2 sentences below: (a) I went to Warsaw this year. (b) I have been to Warsaw this year. Thank you very much in advance!
0
votes
3answers
620 views

Present perfect and simple past

Here's a conversation: Speaker1: I have already seen this film. Speaker2: When have you seen it? [OR] When did you see it? Speaker1: Last month. Are both of the responses from Speaker2 ...
-1
votes
1answer
91 views

The future as reported in the past

Is (1) correct, or must it be written as (2)? John told me yesterday that this contract will not be renewed when it ends next month. John told me yesterday that this contract would not be ...
-2
votes
3answers
16k views

“I met” vs “I've met” [closed]

What's the difference between the following? I met him in the UK. I've met him in the UK. Does the second sentence mean that the event was happened recently?