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

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2
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1answer
95 views

Past Perfect and Past Simple in AmE

I've recently been told that Past Perfect and Past Simple tenses are interchangeable in AmE. I know that it is possible to use the Past Simple tense instead of the Present Perfect one in AmE but have ...
0
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1answer
61 views

“can give” or “could give” as second verb in a past sentence [closed]

I have the following 2 sentences: "what Pablo said can give you a hint" "what Pablo said could give you a hint" Are they both correct? if no, which one and why? Thank you very much
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Using the word 'former' in this context?

I'm writing a document about my study progress. I'm about to refer to the tutor I had last year for a certain school subject that I didn't pass. So I have to write about catching up and handing in the ...
0
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1answer
183 views

`Since as a` vs `Ever since I was a`

Example: Since as a little kid, I had passion about ... Is this acceptable to say as opposed to: Ever since I was a little kid, ... or Since I was a little kid, ... Is It possible to ...
0
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2answers
145 views

Is it acceptable to use both 'written' and 'wrote' in the same surprising sentence? [closed]

In that project I wrote the most complex code I had ever written in my life. Is this grammatically correct?
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Changing usage of past-perfect constructions in American and British usage

I notice a great many American speakers using the construction had loved as a preterite, that is, a simple past tense. I also hear the simple past tense used in instances in which I was taught to use ...
0
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0answers
97 views

Since we went vs since we have been

Sentence transformation from a PET sample paper: We haven't been to the theatre for a long time. It's a long time since we ........ to the theatre. My solution: went Textbook solution: have ...
0
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1answer
50 views

What's the tense for remarking a thing happened in the past? [closed]

Shall I change That Bilbo said he was a legendary burglar is really funny. to That Bilbo said he was a legendary burglar was really funny. ?
1
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1answer
69 views

Past or present in: “Why was it imporant that he rub” / “Why was it important that he rubbed” [closed]

(1) Why was it important that Andrew rub the robot with grease? (2) Why was it important that Andrew rubbed the robot with grease? Are both acceptable? Is there a nuance suggested by one which isn't ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Has/have been vs was/were

I understand we should use has/have been for something which started in past and still continuing in present. But is it right to use for something which started in past but has just completed or ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

how can I express enforcement in past tense

How can I express enforcement in the past,please looking at below sentence present : He has to wait for a long time. past :He had to wait for a long time (it's not past perfect i want to mention an ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

Verb Tense question:

I'm writing in the past tense, but this sentence needs to be in past perfect. Is this correct? "When they had the chance, they had fought their way out." Or should it be: "When they'd had the ...
0
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2answers
130 views

Can “yesterdays” (plural) be used to denote a range of past days?

So I just learned that "yesterdays" is a word (without the apostrophe). It is the plural of "yesterday". The trouble is, what does plural of "yesterday" really mean? I could not find any example ...
0
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2answers
681 views

I have drunken the water / I have drunk the water [closed]

Assume that it is impossible to rephrase. I am inclined to believe drunk is correct, but I need another opinion.
5
votes
2answers
296 views

Discussing two people - one of whom is deceased

I am writing about Don and Doris Fisher - founders of the GAP - and their love of modern art. The problem is that Don is deceased, yet Doris is alive. Writing that the Fishers loved modern art is ...
0
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2answers
804 views

Did you still want vs Do you still want

Is it grammatically correct to ask: "Did you still want to go to the park today?" Or should it be: "Do you still want to go to the park today?"
0
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1answer
52 views

Which is better: “related more” or “was more related”

It actually related more to his genetics than his behavior. or It actually was more related to his genetics than his behavior.
1
vote
1answer
486 views

had not vs did not - past perfect [closed]

I recently watched a YouTube tutorial which talks about right usage of past perfect tense. For negative sentences in past perfect, a simple rule to frame sentences is - Subject + hadn't + main verb ...
1
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0answers
65 views

“It's (high) time” vs. other uses of the past subjunctive

The most common usage of the past subjunctive is in counterfactual if statements: If I were you, I would eat more vegetables. Additionally, statements starting with "it's (high) time" are also ...
0
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2answers
232 views

Using “done” instead of “did”

How does it work the use of the past participle done instead of the past tense did? Where is this form used? Only in southern U.S.? How often?
3
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1answer
156 views

Words that are their own past tense

Does anyone know of a particular "rule" to know which words are their own past tense (such as "hurt"), and aren't modified for time? I'd like an easy rule to tell my students
0
votes
1answer
139 views

Must + present perfect in a narration about past events

As far as I understand, the construction must + present perfect is used to make presumptions about past events with the connection to the present: Look, somebody must've been here - the stove is ...
-1
votes
2answers
102 views

What one should reply to - “Can I talk to Jeremy?”

Situation I receive a call caller asked me;" Can I talk to Jeremy?" What is correct reply and What should I respond to this situation with. he has gone for lunch. he went for lunch. he ...
2
votes
3answers
75 views

Talking about general truths but within a context that uses past tense

Pikachu strolled along the street blissfully unaware that the Earth is round. or Pikachu strolled along the street blissfully unaware that the Earth was round. What is the ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

What is the difference between 'past' and 'present perfect;? [duplicate]

Are they here? 1) Yes. They arrived. 2) Yes. They have arrived. I cannot understand what the difference is. Of course I know 1) is 'past' and 2) is 'present perfect' But in my country, ...
4
votes
2answers
532 views

What is the difference between “could've” and “could of”? [duplicate]

I have seen people using could of instead of could have. Are both of them correct? Is there a difference in meaning between them?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

I have a basic grammar question about the past tense. If I met a guy yesterday, which tense should I use about his name today? For example, "Yesterday I met a guy, his name is/was John."
2
votes
2answers
119 views

past simple vs present perfect in this example

A:Why is Lisa so upset about her trip ? B:She (had her luggage searched) three times. The answer in the workbook( "Grammar in Use") shows 'had her luggage searched' is the correct answer. I'm a ...
-1
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1answer
46 views

Are or Were? Which linking verb would satisfy this sentence [closed]

In 2003, around 80% of North America's population (are/were) urban area residents. Is the whole sentence grammatically correct?
0
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1answer
316 views

Can you say: “I wanted to ask, so I could know..” [closed]

On an email I saw this sentence and was wondering what it means? I wanted to ask you a few questions, so I would know what to start with. Does it mean that after I ask, I will know what to ...
0
votes
2answers
94 views

Difference in meaning: past perfect and simple past

She lived in Switzerland for ten years when she was a child. or She had lived in Switzerland for ten years when she was a child. Being a non-native speaker, sometimes i get confused.
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2answers
95 views

Using of tenses!

This year two Spanish novelists (have been awarded) or (were awarded) I have had an argument about this, I have chosen have been awarded but my friend says that Nobel is once a year, that's why ...
0
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0answers
61 views

Use of past or present tense in references?

Helping a friend with a poorly translated English paper and wondered about this: the source has the writer make reference to documents prepared the 1990s (agreements prepared but never signed by ...
2
votes
2answers
301 views

Present perfect or past simple - “the best movie I (saw/'ve seen) this year”

I know the rule is to use past simple when you specify the time when the described action happened, but I strangely dislike this sentence and I'm not sure if the rule applies: "It's the best movie I ...
1
vote
2answers
45 views

Is there an error in tenses here?

"Your (noun) was (past test verb) before it was (different past tense verb)" OR "Your (noun) is (past test verb) before it was (different past tense verb)" The second one sounds more natural to me, ...
0
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0answers
24 views

I saw him going to city. I saw him go to city [duplicate]

1:I saw him going to city. 2:I saw him go to city. First one refers to Gerund. Second one refers to infinite. Do they have the same meanings or changed? Define it with reasons.
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2answers
3k views

Graduate or graduated ?

When I want to describe my self .. Should I say I'm a graduate or graduated student in .. What is more accurate ? Past or present ? P.s: I have a bachelor degree and I'm not planning currently to ...
0
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1answer
53 views

Nested Flashback - Past perfect tense w/in present tense or Past tense w/in past tense or Past perfect tense w/in past tense

So, someone from ELL suggested that I ask my question on this forum. I do not want to know if nested flashbacks are okay. I am simply asking about tense. Thanks for the help! Question is below: ...
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2answers
198 views

How do I distinguish simple past and past perfect with “should”?

One type of construction that has always bugged me is the distinction between should (past tense of shall), and its past perfect form. Assume a character, let's call him John: He lost the poker ...
0
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3answers
10k views

I noticed vs I have noticed [duplicate]

Is there a difference between I noticed and I have noticed? What is the correct use of each of these? Thanks
2
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1answer
986 views

“Have you seen…” or “Did you see…?”

In the US, when people work together, they may look for a colleague or any person to say something or for any other reason, asking colleagues or other people this type of question: Have you ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Did + multiple bare infinitives in a question

What is the proper way to combine past tense of do (did) with multiple bare infinitives in a question: Did you go to vacation or stay at home? Did you go to vacation or stayed at home? Did you go to ...
1
vote
2answers
882 views

The difference between “past continuous” and “present perfect continuous”

Let's consider the following context: You come to the office on Saturday and see somebody finish some actions and now (s)he is sitting at your workplace (you didn't expect to meet anyone), ...
3
votes
2answers
230 views

Using Past-tense or Present-tense for verbs

I found a perfect example on the internet about what I am trying to ask. Take a look at this: "Mr. Dilger wants to see you." Mr. Bruce went on to say. "It's about the same thing. I thought I'd ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Question about the usage of “WAS”

I have a question that really confuses me. Imagine I was chatting with my friends in a cafe, and friendA walked out the place for whatever reason. FriendB replied "she was beautiful," in this case ...
2
votes
1answer
521 views

What's the proper and formal way of asking “Didn't we used to do …”? [duplicate]

I saw it used in an article online, and it doesn't seem proper to me because of the two past tenses used together. But since "use to" can't be used here, I don't know what would be the proper way. ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

verb tense agreement [duplicate]

I was named even before I was born. Is this correct? or I had been named even before I was born In the first sentence, the even before word clarifies the time frame. Do we still need ...
1
vote
1answer
314 views

Referring to results in past or present tense [closed]

When I am reporting the status of some results, should I use past tense? For example, would it be correct to say, when the test result was announced in the past, "Your test result was failed. I am ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

Correct grammatical form for a conditional statement describing a habit in the past

Let's say I want to describe a habit in the past (something that happened many times over and over again) in the form of a conditional statement. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? ...
1
vote
0answers
348 views

verb +ed or to be + verb +ed

I don't quite know the explanation to this. When they arrived, they found the door locked from inside. When they arrived, they found the door was locked from inside Locked sounds better than was ...