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

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3answers
7k views

“misunderstand” vs “misunderstood”

If speaking or writing to someone and it becomes apparent they did not interpret something correctly, is it correct to inform them "you misunderstood" or "you misunderstand"? I'm not sure because the ...
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1answer
415 views

Past vs. perfect in present-tense narrative

When telling a story using the present tense, should events at a specific time in the past be recounted in the past perfect or in the past tense? For example: I know to writeJack entered the room and ...
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4answers
356 views

at which point I can shift from past perfect back to simple past?

Imagine I'm writing a story in past tense. Here come some questions: SENTENCE 1: "Tom simply couldn't imagine how different the world had been when his father was at Tom's age: there hadn't been ...
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1answer
266 views

Can I use the past progressive here?

Let's say I am at the train station and I missed the train, I still see it driving off. I would naturally say to myself: 'Damn, that was the train I was hoping to get.' Would that be wrong? If not, ...
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1answer
486 views

If someone is currently doing an activity, is it wrong to say they were doing that activity?

If you are currently doing an activity, then a moment ago you were doing that activity. So if I am doing something, is is grammatically correct to say I was doing it or do I have to use the present ...
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1answer
459 views

Why does the tense of a story sometimes suddenly change from past to present, and back again? [closed]

For example in A Room With A View, by E. M. Forster, the tenses suddenly change from past to present or vice versa: Chapter XV: The Disaster Within The Sunday after Miss Bartlett's arrival ...
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2answers
143 views

what is the past tense of “hangar”

Is this question grammatically correct in regards to the word "hangared" pertaining to aircraft. If your aircraft is hangared in another locality, please let us know immediately.
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2answers
114 views

doubt about the past perfect, continuous,

I'm writing the profile section of my resumé/CV. I'm hesitating about the proper verb form: During my work experience I have applied engineering methods to solve problems. I have been ...
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1answer
1k views

Résumé conventions: present, past, and continuous tenses [closed]

When writing a résumé or CV, I’ve read that: Use the present tense when referring to accomplishments that are ongoing. Use the past tense (ending in –ed) when referring to accomplishments ...
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1answer
357 views

Which is the correct usage?

Which is the correct usage? 1. I don't know how did it go wrong. 2. I don't know how it went wrong. Similarly it happen in the following cases also 1. He doesn't know where she is. 2. He ...
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1answer
949 views

Past simple vs. past perfect

Here is an exercise from Intermediate Language Practice by Michael Vince: (Please note that I have replaced all the blanks in the exercise with the answers given in the answer key.) Put each verb ...
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2answers
319 views

Dropping the 'have' before a past participle [closed]

We have heard what you told us. We've heard what you told us. We heard what you told us. As far as I know, the first two are OK. There have been enough discussions here on the subject. The third ...
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1answer
2k views

I only watched or I have only watched [duplicate]

If someone ask me "Do you like Indian movie?" Which tenses would fit the answer to the question ? "yes I do. But I watched only some of them" "yes I do. But I have wathed only some of them" "yes I ...
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1answer
3k views

“Did you” vs “Do you” for questions about the past

Which of these is more correct for American English in a professional context: Did you have any other prior marriage that lasted at least 10 years, or any other prior marriage that ended due to your ...
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1answer
282 views

I was able to re-introduce the process that had not been done anymore. Past perfect?

I am not sure whether or not there should be past simple or past perfect: I was able to re-introduce the procedure that had not been being followed anymore. I was able to re-introduce the ...
1
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1answer
912 views

If I do VS If I did

Do these sentences mean exactly the same thing? If yes, why does (a) use the present tense and (b) the past? (a) IF I WIN the lottery, I WILL buy a big house. (b) IF I WON the lottery, I WOULD BUY ...
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3answers
584 views

I didn't hear what you've said

Is the sentence I didn't hear what you've (just) said a natural one? Some tell me that it's unnatural, but not ungrammatical. Others tell me that it's all right. I'm puzzled. What do you think? ...
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2answers
494 views

Can a past participle phrase stand at the end of a sentence?

For a present participle phrase, I've seen: Seeking advice from the pros, she visited the website. She visited the website, seeking advice from the pros. For a past participle phrase, ...
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2answers
3k 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
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2answers
132 views

Past - past perfect [closed]

In what way do I represent the task which I did yesterday night? I want to know the usage differences between "Past" and "Past perfect" tenses Can anyone give me idea to clarify this? Last night, ...
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1answer
204 views

Has or Had / Past and Past Perfect [closed]

I'm polishing and redrafting my novel. But grammar is not my strong suit. I need help with tenses, specifically. As you may already know, stories are usually told in the past tense. But it's not ...
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2answers
240 views

Past perfect/simple question in an example

Talking about the trip I did a few years ago: I have been there and it was amazing. I had not seen a frozen sea until that time! Did I use past perfect correctly or should I just say "I did not ...
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3answers
394 views

Is it ok to use the irregular past tense of a verb as it were a regular one?

Let's say I say / write catched instead of caught or buyed instead of bought, etc. I know this is grammatically incorrect, but is it incorrect or perfectly fine to use it in every-day life ? English ...
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2answers
2k views

Double Past Tense?

Can you please tell me which one of these sentences is correct, and why? Thanks! Lastly, my experience as a teaching assistant helped me throughout the course as I shared what I did to make my ...
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2answers
3k views

“Never” and past tense

Considering these two sentences in the past tense, using "never": The film has never been released The film was never released Are they both correct? If so, is there a difference in the ...
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2answers
305 views

Can verb tense be changed mid-sentence for something that still exists?

Look at this sentence: I knew that the sky is blue. To me, it doesn't make sense to say the sky was blue since it still is blue. Even so, is it grammatically incorrect to say I knew that the sky ...
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2answers
2k views

what does “it's time I told you” mean and why past tense here?

I'm watching Suits TV Series, and there was something that caught my attention. 2 guys meet, have a drink, chat, and then one guy says: I mean it's time I told you. I made a deal with Darby to ...
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2answers
218 views

for + present perfect or past simple

Have you ever danced? This is kind of a usual question. What if I wanna ask someone about his experience and find out how long it lasted. Can I say Have you ever danced for 5 hours? (and we're just ...
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1answer
210 views

Dialogue: “had” or “have”

She: I had an awesome time yesterday. He: Haha. I'm glad you have! Did I use the wrong word? Is it suppose to be had?
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3answers
922 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 ...
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1answer
118 views

“Has pushed” vs. “pushed”

I am reading many academic papers at the moment and am becoming more aware of the use of has, have, had in front of a verb, where it seems redundant. For example the following sentence: The ...
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2answers
3k views

“It would the best thing I have ever seen” vs “…I had ever seen” [closed]

Just heard a song "Majestic" and as I am continuously trying to improve my English, I noticed something a bit unclear to me. A sight for sore eyes To the blind would be awful majestic It would ...
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1answer
6k views

What's the difference between “has had,” and “had had?” [closed]

I was writing an essay for my school project, and I stumbled upon this type of grammatical situation and thought if anyone knew the answer to it? I've searched all over the internet but nothing ...
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2answers
758 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!
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3answers
2k views

Why is “the test is failed” acceptable?

In software interfaces, technical documentation, scientific documentation and legal documents, I see phrases like: The build is failed. The test is failed. If the test is failed,... It ...
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1answer
364 views

Should “How long were you at work?” have a simple or a compound tense?

I would like to know, if the following sentence can ever be correct in any context? How long were you at work? Or it must be: How long had you been at work? For example: How long were ...
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1answer
287 views

Differentiate between past and present just by pronunciation when word is followed by d- or similiar sound

How can we distinguish, for example, these two sentences just by listening to the pronunciation? They first kill the trees. They first killed the trees. When pronouncing kill the trees, ...
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2answers
265 views

Sequence of Tense [duplicate]

Which one is correct? Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolved around the sun. Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolve around the sun. In my ...
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2answers
484 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 ...
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2answers
18k 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
3k 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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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
140 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
99 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 ...
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1answer
722 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
357 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
67 views

Is it 'express shipped' or 'shipped express'? [closed]

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
227 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, ...
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1answer
260 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 ...
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2answers
506 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 ...