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

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2answers
4k views

“Is used” vs. “has been used” vs. “was used”

I have three sentences of which I'm not sure which one is grammatical, and why. It refers to the Eiffel Tower. It is used as the symbol of Paris and of France for over a century. It was ...
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1answer
543 views

What is past state? [closed]

When learning about "used to" and "would" that refer to past habit. They said that "would" is not possible when talking about past state. Even in this, they include "own", "drive" as past state So ...
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votes
1answer
597 views

When do we use “went bowling,” and when do we use “go bowling”? [closed]

In this dialogue what is the appropriate form? A: Would you like to go bowling with me today? B: I don't think so. To be honest, I really don't feel like going bowling today. I went bowling ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

past tense of contrive [closed]

So I am looking up the meaning of 'contrive' in google using: define contrive And it says: Verb 1. Create or bring about (an object or a situation) by deliberate use of skill and artifice. 2. ...
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2answers
72 views

Is reported speech reasonable in this example? [closed]

What is the right word to the gap (21)? (had/have) That is about 400 years earlier than when the Inca Indians were thought to (21) __ discovered the silver in the ground. I think it's had as ...
0
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1answer
499 views

Can we use past perfect progressive in the context where present tense is predominantly used?

As I understand, past perfect is used to express an action that had happened before something else in the past. But in the paragraph I came across, there appeared past perfect progressive in the ...
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2answers
285 views

Is that grammatically correct? [closed]

I'm going to blog about each feature and progress I made in my book? Is that grammatically correct?
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2answers
55 views

Is it 'express shipped' or 'shipped express'?

Which one is correct? He should have express shipped it to me. He should have it shipped express to me.
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3answers
158 views

Simple past sounds better but past perfect seems more accurate

I think it's grammatically more accurate to say,"The market was closed after a virus had been found." However, it sounds "better" to say,"The market was closed after a virus was found." Grammatically, ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Is past perfect necessary when you are talking in chronological order?

I have a question about using past perfect. I know that it's used when you want to refer to an older past event while talking about a more recent past event. But if you begin talking about past events ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

Tense agreement in conditional statements: “I could do whatever I want” vs. “I could do whatever I wanted”

Consider the following sentences: If I had my own place, I could do whatever I want. If I had my own place, I could do whatever I wanted. She said I could do whatever I want. She ...
2
votes
2answers
524 views

Will the sentences be correct? [duplicate]

We all know that universal statements are always in present tense. For example, My grandma did not believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Here, though the sentence is in past tense, ...
1
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1answer
211 views

Are These Words Interchangeable? [duplicate]

"The man was hung at dawn." "The man was hanged at dawn." Are "hung" and "hanged" entirely interchangeable?
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1answer
152 views

Grammar: did + past simple, is it correct? [closed]

I’ve noticed a few times where someone says something like “Did you made...” or “Did you worked...” when asking questions. Is this some kind of unofficial talk or is it completely incorrect ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Confusion in usage of verb in interrogative past tense

I know that whenever we use "did" in any sentence, the following verb has to be in present form. But I have a confusion:- In plain English it should be:- Did you forget switching it off? But if we ...
-1
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
0
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3answers
241 views

Infinitive vs. Past Simple for short technical annotations [duplicate]

I use source control management software at work. When I commit some changes, I annotate them with the bare infinitive like this: "add new feature", "fix bug #10012" I note that some of my ...
1
vote
1answer
312 views

Present perfect or past simple? [duplicate]

I know the basic rules about using PP and PS (like specified time in the past etc.) but in some cases, it is not clear to me: I have finished painting. - present perfect, I just announce that. I ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

I was sat thinking why you were stood there before I was took away by the word police [duplicate]

I know my sentence is dreadful but everyone now uses these words in this way, including my eight children aged 19—26. Yes, they are from Manchester but my husband uses he was took and he’s from ...
-1
votes
3answers
162 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
433 views

Future Passive Progressive? [duplicate]

Does some future passive progressive tense exist, such as: He will be being interviewed by police." as a counterpart to the past passive progressive tense, such as: He was being ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

Reported Speech Tense Choice [closed]

Which of the followings sentences would be the best choice? The victim explained how he became addicted five years ago... His addiction is so bad that he is unable to keep a steady ...
2
votes
3answers
380 views

Answering past simple question with past continuous

For example, — What did you do yesterday? — I was working. I presume this is not grammatically correct; however, I often reply in this way (I'm English). Also vice versa: "What were you doing ...
1
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4answers
3k views

“I came from Italy” or “I come from Italy”

If I originally lived in Italy and then moved to the United States and currently live in the United States. Then somebody asked me where I am from. I say: I come/came from Italy. Should it ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

“Past due” or “passed due”

I know that "past due" stamped on a bill is accepted, however I believe it should be "passed due". Does this mean that "past due" is vernacularly correct and "passed due" is grammatically correct?
1
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3answers
2k views

Is there a rule for “wouldn't” used to mean “didn't want”?

I have seen the sentences in books where wouldn't seems to have been used in the meaning of didn't want, and I wonder if such a rule exists. For instance, I wanted to participate, but he wouldn't ...
12
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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.
2
votes
1answer
221 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
614 views

Irregular past tense confusion with compound noun/verb. More examples?

Students of martial arts may be familiar with a breakfall, which can (depending on the situation) be treated as a noun or a verb. I am often amused when speakers, even native English speakers (myself ...
1
vote
4answers
750 views

How to avoid past/future tense?

I'm writing a Software Design Document. It is being written in parallel to the development, so as some features are already finished they are written in past tense (the only way I know of articulating ...
7
votes
3answers
273 views

“He grew up around cars that would later become classics.”

My question is about the use of would in the following sentence. He grew up around cars that would later become classics. The use of would in this particular sense always looks confusing to me ...
5
votes
1answer
569 views

Is every sentence in a tense?

I know that "tense" indicates time. If that is true, then not every sentence can be indicated of its tense. Please review these sentences: "If I could go to the market , I must have taken breakfast ...
1
vote
1answer
307 views

Past vs Past Perfect

While writing a paper for my English class, I couldn't decided whether past or past perfect tense was needed. It's basically about how a guy whose house is destroyed because the government wants to ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Combining future perfect tenses in a sentence

Which is correct to say? On Valentines Day 2013 the iPhone will have been for sale exactly half as long as the iPod has been for sale. or On Valentines Day 2013 the iPhone will have been for ...
1
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4answers
233 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. ...
0
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2answers
523 views

What should be the correct tense and structure of the sentence? [closed]

Sorry if my question sounds dumb here. I am not a English speaker and now I am trying to learn and improve my English. Suppose following scenario occurs: Person A has done something wrong in past and ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“When we worked together” vs “when we were working together” or can I use “when” with continous tenses?

In one Russian discussion group devoted to ESL, I was advised that using when with continuous tenses is incorrect in English. To be exact, we were discussing how to translate a phrase about one’s ...
-1
votes
1answer
526 views

Replacing past perfect tense with past tense

For had fallen in a when-clause, can the past perfect tense be replaced with the past tense? Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which was the only one taught by a ghost. ...
1
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0answers
809 views

Can we use “is” with second form of verb is sentences? [closed]

Can we use the second form of the verb with is. For example The book is hidden In daily life, I used to listen to some sentences in which the second form of the verb is used with is. Is it ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Ending verbs with 'nt' in the past tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”? It was my understanding that ending verbs with "t" / "nt" in the perfect tense was merely to accommodate irregular verbs ...
0
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2answers
325 views

Mixed tenses in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: ‘Had’ or ‘has’ to describe a past condition which is still present? Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true The employee was injured while ...
-1
votes
1answer
86 views

Cannot find whether it is past or present [closed]

I came across a question in a book. It says: If any of the following sentences show that something happened in the past, make the italicized verb simple past by adding -d or -ed. If you cannot ...
2
votes
9answers
396 views

How do I ask “when” without implying past or future?

"When did or will the event happen?" — This sounds silly to me. To make matters worse, I would like to use passive voice because the question is in reference to a statement that uses passive voice. ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Confused by the past tense and the present tense

Suppose I'm talking about some design scheme. I say something like "foo was once designed and implemented in a way called bar that ...". Then I want to introduce the original scheme "bar", for ...
5
votes
2answers
779 views

“The author wrote” vs. “the author writes”

What is the rule for the following examples? In the passage, the author writes. . . . In the passage, the author wrote. . . . I’m trying to explain to my son that both are correct, but I can’t ...
0
votes
1answer
335 views

Where versus were [closed]

New York Times editorial today says: The Bronx district attorney should be applauded for refusing to prosecute bad arrests that officers were unable to prove were warranted. Should it be: ...
1
vote
2answers
949 views

What tense is “You were unable to do it.”?

"You were unable to do it." Can you describe the tense of this sentence? Is it Past Progressive?
3
votes
2answers
168 views

Tenses and completeness of actions

When one uses simple past tense for some action, does it imply that the action is complete? For instance, when you say “I wrote my article yesterday,” does this imply that at this moment you have a ...
0
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0answers
42 views

Past tense of 'dive' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: UK English: Is “dived” a valid word? Can anybody explain the difference between dived and dove in the following sentence? He  __  in to the ...
3
votes
3answers
407 views

Correct tense for events which happend long time ago but still have direct connection with present time

Suppose that a man disappeared twenty years ago and I haven't had a notice about him since then. What should I say to my interlocutor if I want to tell him about this story? You know, Harry has ...