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

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2
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3answers
565 views

Mixing tenses in past tense fiction

In past tense works (novels, etc.) is there a place for some present tense verbs, such as "think" or "know" or "was." Example: I turned to leave, and he didn't try to stop me. I think I surprised ...
-3
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3answers
135 views

Does the following statement make sense? [closed]

"As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devoted their lives to create change are forever remembered." Or should it be: "As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devote ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Use didn't leave yet, or haven't left yet? Can we use ''YET'' in past tense or not? [closed]

My knowledge of English grammar is very basic. I learned English mostly from movies and a lot of times I choose a specific way to say something in English based on intuition or the feeling that it ...
0
votes
2answers
646 views

While I was waiting for [closed]

Which one is grammatically correct? I want to say that I waited the time that the bus would leave the terminal in the past tense. While I was waiting for the bus leaves, a man came to talk to me. ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

“when” and “would” in a sentence

I would like to use when and would in the following sentence: When I would study on the morning of an exam I would say something like that. So, am I right?
0
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1answer
98 views

Is there past tense form of 'got'? [closed]

Is 'gotten' the past tense form of 'got' or is there even a word gotten?
0
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1answer
141 views

How do I use the verb “has been”? [duplicate]

What is the proper usage of "has been" in the sentences below? He has been working on it. He started working some time back (it may be near or long past) and still working. He started working ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

special usage of the past simple?

I'm reading Jennifer Haigh's short story Sublimation, and I came across a sentence that grabbed my attention. "Their son's habit isn't news to her, not really, though she always imagined he'd ...
-1
votes
3answers
140 views

“She had lost her consciousness last night at pub after having several cocktails”. Is this sentence grammatical?

She had lost her consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails. Is the use of had (the past perfect tense) right here?
0
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1answer
7k views

Have been awarded or was awarded? [duplicate]

My question is which one is correct: a) I have been awarded the science award 5 times or b) I was awarded the science award 5 times Thank you :)
2
votes
1answer
775 views

What does “not far wrong” mean?

First, what does the sentence below mean? He may not have been far wrong Second, why do we use have rather than has?
1
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4answers
346 views

Modals - ability

"He was able to win the race." It means he won the race. Can it also mean he didn't win? - he didn't use the ability to win. If not, how to express the idea?
0
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0answers
186 views

Present perfect or past perfect? [duplicate]

Since I have stopped working, I started to learn English at home. Since I had stopped working,I started learning English at home. Are both questions having the same meaning in this context?
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2answers
66 views

“X used to be Y”

"X used to be Y" or "X was previously Y" both sound clunky to me, considering the present tense "X is Y" and the future tense "X will be Y". I find "used to" clunky because the word "used" generally ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

“Has changed since March 1” vs “Changed on March 1”

My address has changed since March 1. The new address is now 123 Mapple Street. Is the verb tense in “has changed” correct in this case? If the action is completed, it seems like it should ...
10
votes
4answers
586 views

Past passive tense for smite without connoting infatuation, or an alternative

TL;DR: What is the past tense of smite in the passive voice? Is there an alternative word or series of words with the intended nuance? I am trying to find an alternative to the past passive tense for ...
3
votes
1answer
555 views

Past Perfect Continuous vs. Past Continuous

Every now and then I come up with a sentence, that eventually undermines my confidence as to whether it's correct or not - just a part of my OCD issues I guess. Same thing happened yesterday and ...
-1
votes
2answers
7k views

In writing and speaking, which one can I use? have took or taken [closed]

Which one is correct? I have took the class or I have taken the class? Would it be ok it I use I have took in spoken language?
0
votes
2answers
93 views

Past modals and “like” [closed]

I need to rewrite a sentence by using the past modals. "Luke's given that watch away to a friend" (standard sentence) "Clearly he didn't like it then". (the sentence I have to rewrite with a modal ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Past tense of lightning

When we talk about lightning and thunder, we generally use the words like this: It's lightning It's thundering The antenna was hit by lightning But sometimes we use thunder in the past tense... ...
1
vote
1answer
137 views

Correct tense for “I wish I had more time so i could've baked some cookies” [closed]

Whats the correct way of saying this? I wish I had more time so i could've baked some cookies I wish I've had more time so i could've baked some cookies
0
votes
2answers
243 views

Compelled and compeled - American English

As for the British English it's always taught - compel, compelled, compelling Some of the books/dictionaries say that in American English you say compel, compeled, compeling instead, you simply don't ...
4
votes
2answers
825 views

Can “earlier this year” be used in the present perfect?

Is "earlier this year" a specific time reference? i.e. Can you say (A) is definitely wrong and (B) is right? (A) Earlier this year, ABC, Inc., has conducted a survey. (B) Earlier this year, ABC, ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Sorry I'm late, the car wouldn't start this morning!

This sentence is used in a Grammar book. I wonder why they used "wouldn't start"? Thanks so much!
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Past Simple or Past Perfect? [closed]

Which is grammatically correct? He woke up late this morning because he had a party with his friends last night. Or He woke up late this morning because he had had a party with his friends ...
0
votes
1answer
318 views

Verb tense in short flashbacks

I am writing a short story (approx. 650 words) in the past tense, and one paragraph of this story (100-125 words) is written as a flashback. I originally planned to write the entire flashback ...
1
vote
1answer
262 views

Past tense progression [duplicate]

My mother was raised in a family that had placed extreme importance on filial piety. Is had superfluous, wrong, or correct? I can see arguments in both directions: Perfect past (raised) ...
0
votes
1answer
205 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.
0
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2answers
186 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?
0
votes
1answer
309 views

Tricky Past Perfect sentences

I'm having trouble establishing a sequence of events in the following sentences (italicized) and understanding why the past perfect is needed. "Once upon a time, when I was a child reading fairy ...
0
votes
1answer
251 views

He has been banned or He is banned [duplicate]

I'm wondering what is difference between these both? She has been banned and She is banned
6
votes
2answers
653 views

Why is it “could” and not “can” in the famous line: “If a face could launch a thousand ships”? [duplicate]

This is from a song lyric If a picture paints a thousand words, Then why can't I paint you? The words will never show the you I've come to know. If a face could launch a thousand ships, ...
0
votes
2answers
110 views

Can I omit “had” if it is repeated too many times in a paragraph?

Example: I’d heard about this mystery before. However, I'd only thought it as a ghost story; something you'd tell around a campfire. Maybe I'm mistaken but the paragraph sounds better without ...
0
votes
2answers
672 views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence

Both these sentences contain two verbs (correct me if I'm wrong) that are in the past perfect tense. I'd like to ask how do they occur in chronological order. Though my question is related to the one ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

The correct usage of past tense with just

I understand that phrase: "I have just bought a house". is correct. But I also saw, that sometimes people could say: "I just bought a house." Is it correct?
5
votes
1answer
339 views

present simple plus past simple in the if-clause

Please help me understand whether I can use the past simple tense with the present simple tense in one if-clause. My example is the question that I want to ask when speaking with English native ...
0
votes
1answer
946 views

“Had been planning” or “were planning” What is the difference? [duplicate]

We_________(had been planning /were planning) to felicitate John at our annual cultural fest when the news of his death______(had arrived /arrived). Can someone tell me which one to use and ...
2
votes
1answer
440 views

Past perfect example confusion

My text definition of past perfect tense tells me that it is used to refer to an action that is completed at some point in the past and before the commencement of another past action. I came across ...
1
vote
2answers
293 views

Past Simple or Present Perfect to express an antecedent event

We _ Harold for three years before he died. a) knew. b) have known. Which answer should I use in my exam question? I have doubts, as I want to choose a, but a friend of mine advises me to choose ...
0
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0answers
71 views

Question about about various uses of “to be” and correctness of their usage in my sentence

If I were the man involved, and didn't know my wife was 'pretend', I would be totally crushed when I did find out she was fake. How could I make the above statement correct? If it already is, ...
0
votes
1answer
838 views

Something was or is nice

When we say " X was nice", does it imply X was nice in the past, but not nice any more at the present? Here is one context: One day I went shopping with a friend, and we saw a nice item in a shop. ...
0
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1answer
131 views

past tense, passive verb [duplicate]

What is correct usage -- or correct semi-slang usage -- for verb in this sentence: 'he was a boy who got beat up often'
-1
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1answer
37 views

Is “flewed down” an attempt at past imperfect? [closed]

From a non-native speaker of English: "My friends have flewed down for my surgery." Is this is attempt at past imperfect? I am not sure, since the intent is to indicate the very recent past. Does ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

How to use “The first thing I did was”? [closed]

I'm unable to figure out if the following sentence is correct: "After I watched the movie, the first thing I did was shutdown the laptop and go outside" Is this grammatically correct? Or should it ...
0
votes
1answer
376 views

Past tense usage in a formal email [duplicate]

During the period between January and today, I have added many changes to my resume that i want to make an employer noticed of. I doubt between 'have done' and 'had done'. " I would like to inform ...
-1
votes
1answer
407 views

Do “it is time for someone to do something” and “it is time someone did something” mean the same thing? [duplicate]

I know that It is time (understood: for the speaker or for a group of people including the speaker) to do something. and It is time I or we did something. do not mean the same thing: the first is ...
0
votes
2answers
325 views

Using “heretofore” in the past perfect

Is it grammatically correct to use "heretofore" in the past perfect? ...the king's power, which had heretofore been absolute. The meaning of "heretofore" is "before now", but would it still work ...
0
votes
3answers
233 views

Should I use present or past tense in indirect speech?

Suppose a person has told me this: I will go home. I want to report what he told me to someone else, but I don’t know whether the condition is still true — that is, whether he has gone home. ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

“I never went to poker yesterday” - Is this grammatically correct? [duplicate]

A colleague of mine often pulls me up on my awful grammar, earlier today I said "I never went to poker yesterday" and she told me that it was grammatically incorrect. I understand that I ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Use of present perfect after past simple as clauses of the same sentence

Here is the thing I've written lately. Now, when I look at it, I'm not sure whether this is the right (natural, basically) way to put things. This post was written about a year ago, but it has ...