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

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4
votes
2answers
668 views

“Until” followed by past perfect or past simple

Recently we have been learning tense sequence with using after, before and so on. One of them - until turned out troublesome for me. My first exercise was to write this sentence with until: not to ...
1
vote
1answer
258 views

using “if” - when to use present tense, and when to use past tense?

As a native speaker of English, these two sentences sound acceptable to me: A full refund can be claimed if the school fails to provide a textbook. A full refund could be claimed if the ...
0
votes
3answers
390 views

reporting past simple tense [closed]

Choose: He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out. Some people say that past simple tense doesn't change in indirect speech, but my teacher says that the direct ...
0
votes
3answers
195 views

Can I use “when” to start a sentence with the past progressive?

My class is working on the past progressive and the simple past, and I was wondering if I can use when instead of while for the following sentence While I was eating, the bell rang. When I was ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

to be + past participle

I wanted to ask a lot of questions concerning this phrase: I always consult with my children who are affected by the decisions to be made. What role does the particle "to" perform in this ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Describe the grammatical error in the sentence [duplicate]

"I did went to the movie" Describe the grammatical error in the sentence. I know that it is wrong but I am not able to explain it to my younger brother.
0
votes
2answers
111 views

“is + past tense verb”. Sugar is added or sugar added?

How to say correctly: 1) Sugar is added to the coffee. 2) Sugar added to the coffee. or 1) Software is tested successfully. 2) Software tested successfully. Thank you in advance
0
votes
0answers
332 views

Which is correct “was” or“ were”? [duplicate]

It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it was an oak. It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it were an oak. Which is correct sentence?
15
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the past tense form of s--t [closed]

Are shit, shat, and shitted all correct and fine to use as the past tense of shit? After a little bit of searching it seems that they are, with shat being Old English. Is any form more common in ...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

Past tense of wake: is there a difference between “waked”, and “woke”?

I just stumbled over the verb "to wake", which according to various sources has two valid forms for the past tense: "woke" and "waked". Some further research stated, that there seem to be two (Old / ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

Past Simple and Progressive; depending on the sentence?

My question is based on Past Simple and Past Progressive. I had a test a couple weeks ago, and there was this sentence with 2 verbs that you had to choose one to make the sentence true grammatically: ...
0
votes
0answers
479 views

English simple past “did” in an affirmative statement

The English simple past (pretorite) uses did in inversion and in negative sentences. I ate at the restaurant. I did not eat at the restaurant. Did I eat at the restaurant? But is the affirmative ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

The habitual past “would” versus “simple past” tense

One can use the habitual past 'would' to describe past events. For example one could say, Jim would spend weekends at the farm. He would cut weed and water the plants. One can also use the ...
2
votes
3answers
628 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 him....
-3
votes
3answers
149 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
8k 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
689 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
94 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
votes
1answer
101 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
votes
1answer
147 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
197 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
141 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
votes
1answer
8k 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
867 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
vote
4answers
368 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
votes
0answers
191 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?
-1
votes
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
141 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 be: ...
10
votes
4answers
605 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
612 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
8k 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

What is the 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
145 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
269 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
907 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

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

This sentence is used in a Grammar book. I wonder why they used "wouldn't start"? Thanks so much!
1
vote
1answer
65 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
328 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
281 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) requires ...
0
votes
1answer
210 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
votes
2answers
193 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
317 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
286 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
656 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
116 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
735 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
4k 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
349 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
1k 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 why, ...