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

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3
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1answer
173 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, 'Present ...
4
votes
2answers
687 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
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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
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2answers
124 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
421 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
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2answers
98 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
96 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 past ...
0
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0answers
66 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
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2answers
343 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
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2answers
47 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
25 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
6k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
78 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: ...
1
vote
2answers
237 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
14k 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
2k 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
82 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
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2answers
1k 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
265 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
78 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
579 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
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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 to ...
1
vote
1answer
393 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
176 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
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0answers
560 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 ...
1
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3answers
303 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
0
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2answers
141 views

Which tense is (more) correct in this sentence, the present perfect or past simple?

The sentence is: "These investigations have seen several officials arrested." I'm not sure which tense I should use, the present perfect here seems more natural to me but I can't seem to find a rule ...
0
votes
2answers
96 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.
1
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2answers
132 views

Present or Past?

In this sentence: "It might be relaxing if you read a book" - why is the verb 'read' in past tense? Why isn't the verb 'read' in past tense with this example: "Why not read a book?" I'm just trying ...
1
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1answer
373 views

What tense should be used when present/past perfect is used?

Here is my sentence of which I am having some troubles ascertaining the grammatical correctness: I think that Rachel has told Brady that Bert would admit to the judge what he has taught about ...
0
votes
2answers
369 views

The ambulance is on its way. There's been an accident?

Why hasn't the simple past been used rather than the present perfect in this sentence ''The ambulance is on its way to Beck's house. There's been an accident'' Why not: ''there was an accident'' It ...
0
votes
1answer
209 views

Is the question “If you didn't break the vase, who did?” a conditional sentence?

My problem is that I was taught (I think wrongly) that whenever a conditional sentence refers to past, there should be past perfect tense in the if clause, as in example 1. Example 1: If you hadn'...
0
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2answers
637 views

Is “I shut up” proper english grammar [closed]

So I saw that "shutted" isn't an English word, but "I shut up" doesn't sound proper. If you were to tell someone "I shut up", talking in past tense, would that be proper?
0
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2answers
148 views

What's the difference between “… you have completed the task” and “… you completed the task”? [closed]

Is there any difference in the meaning of the following sentences? Or do they mean the exact same thing? By doing both, you have completed the task. By doing both, you completed the task.
1
vote
1answer
381 views

I'd been sent to kill him / I was sent to kill him. etc..?

When do I use had and when can I leave out had? or use was instead of had This is the context it was used in: With the Reds and the Germans knocking seven shades of shit each other back at Museum ...
5
votes
3answers
406 views

It was dark by now [duplicate]

Does the following sentence make any sense? "It was dark by now, and I realized that it was time to [...]," If it was an occurrence in the past, then wouldn't referencing it as "now" be ...
0
votes
2answers
810 views

Which tense to describe the analysis on a dataset? [closed]

It is normal to analyze a dataset in a paper. I am not sure when to use present/past tense to describe how you analyze the data and what your results are. Here I use a short example text to illustrate ...
1
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1answer
108 views

Passengers heard 'screaming' - who was doing the “hearing”?

Passengers heard 'screaming' I feel this phrase could be interpreted in two ways: 1) The passengers could and did hear screaming (from someone else). 2) Someone else could and did hear the ...
0
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1answer
3k views

Begun or began? [closed]

whether to use begin began or begun seems to be well covered, but i'm wondering which feels natural or better, had begun or had began when talking about someone doing something.
1
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2answers
136 views

Sequence of tenses when some temporary action is still true

I got confused with the rule of the sequence of tenses. I found that when the action in the subordinate clause is a habitual action or general truth, we can use the present tense in the clause even if ...
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votes
3answers
93 views

How to use have/had in relation to a past tense action?

Lucy thanked me for what I have/had done? Here the action of 'thanking' is being done as a result of something that happens prior to 'thanking'. 'Thanked' shows the action has already been completed. ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Would it be 'meet' or 'have met' in this structure?

If I bumped into someone, who happened to be called John, yesterday, and I am telling someone else of the encounter, would I say: I happened to meet John yesterday. or I happened to have ...
0
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2answers
252 views

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time?

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time? For example A person who lived during 1790 could truthfully claim that Washington ...
-2
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1answer
117 views

Is 'walked' the correct tense in this paragraph? [closed]

The next folder she opened contained something that neither of them had expected: five photos of Emily’s brother. They had been taken while James walked through a glass door.
1
vote
2answers
753 views

using both Past Simple and Past Perfect in the same paragraph

Is there a rule about consistency within a paragraph, of using past tense and past participle in alternate sentences? In my writing class, I notice some writers mix the two freely. Since I see this ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Can “when verb+ing” refer to an activity in the past?

A correct sentence would be: When they were designing the product, they paid attention to... Is this grammatically correct: When designing the product, attention was paid...
0
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2answers
475 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Present tense in Flashback story for something that is still true now?

I'm wondering whether I should use the present tense for a descriptive statement but in a past context. For example: (1) I went to the zoo and saw a giraffe last week. (2) Giraffe is a mammal with ...
5
votes
1answer
592 views

Origin of irregular ending “-ught” for past simple and participle

There is a little group of irregular verbs in English that follow a similar pattern, having "-ught" as their ending for past simple and for participle. These verbs are among the group of most used ...