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

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2answers
838 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

Is it grammatically correct to change tense in a sentence? [duplicate]

When writing a sentence, can I change from past-tense to present-tense in the middle of it? For example, Joey realized that the ball is green. or Joey realized that the ball was green. I ...
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2answers
215 views

Can we use “Now” (not until now or until then) in past tense sentences

I wrote this to my friends a few days ago: (1) It used to take 5 seconds for me to reach Youtube, now it only took me 2 seconds to do it. I used "now" to refer to the moment when I installed a faster ...
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3answers
35k 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?
-1
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3answers
260 views

Stating facts that occured in the past

We were shocked when we found/find out the toilet had/has no flush. My natural intuition would lead me to write this way: We were shocked when we found out the toilet had no flush. Then ...
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5answers
5k 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?
8
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2answers
16k 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.
11
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3answers
21k views

“I didn't finish” versus “I haven't finished”

If I worked on something yesterday but it was not finished, should I use "I didn't finish it yet" or "I haven't finished it yet"?
8
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3answers
49k 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? ...
15
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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 ...
5
votes
4answers
550 views

“I left before they had decided what to do” Why is 'decided' in the past perfect?

I left before they had decided what to do. Is this because this is a past version of "I leave before they have decided what to do"? Because "left" doesn't come before "decided".
2
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1answer
5k 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 ...
0
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1answer
253 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 ...
12
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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? ...
4
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1answer
11k 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
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2answers
1k 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, ...
0
votes
3answers
802 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
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1answer
4k views

He has just been offered or he was offered

What are the differences in meaning between these two sentences: He was just offered a well-paid job with Radio Four. (Past Simple Passive) He has just been offered a well-paid job with Radio ...
-2
votes
2answers
8k views

“Became” vs “become”

I'm not sure about the verb tense I should use here: Run this definition so that the previous changes become/became visible. I think the correct one is Present Simple but it sounds better with ...
12
votes
2answers
24k 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?" ...
8
votes
5answers
18k 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
216 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
4k 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
2
votes
4answers
493 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
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3answers
5k 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
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1answer
458 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
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2answers
6k 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
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1answer
1k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
992 views

When telling a story and describing objects in the story, should the objects be referred to in past tense or present tense? [closed]

When describing objects in telling a story, should the objects be referred to in past tense or present tense, if the effects of the story still hold true on them? Since it is a story it should be in ...
1
vote
4answers
327 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
4answers
3k 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
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2answers
70 views

asked + lived/lives

I asked where he lives/lived. I'm confused between lives or lived. Some say only lived can be used while others say both lived and lives can be used.
0
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1answer
141 views

is this sentence all in the past tense? I'm struggling to write in the past tense but use active words?

The turf wicket at Cook reserve in Bedford has been vandalised on Sunday after diesel was poured liberally across all five cricket pitches, rendering them unusable.
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2answers
121 views

Present perfect and Past tense in a specific place

Have you seen/Did you see my shoes in here Do I have to say Did you see because it happened in a specific place?
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2answers
770 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
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3answers
1k 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
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2answers
499 views

Present Perfect Vs Present Perfect Continuous and Simple Past/ Past Perfect Vs Past Perfect Continuous [closed]

What is the difference in meanings of the following pairs of sentences? It's very confusing to me. a. I have lived in Paris for 4 years. b. I have been living in Paris for 4 years. a. I ...
-1
votes
1answer
100 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
1answer
1k views

Past or present perfect tense for event happened last night [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? Since watching TV is a completed action which happened last night, which one is correct? Last ...