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

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3answers
4k views

How to use “offset” when talking to a vendor?

I am having a problem with the word offset. This is what I'm going to type to my vendor: If we do not receive your Statement of Account by 30 Mar '12, all payments will be "offsetted". Is it ...
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4answers
10k views

“I came from Italy” or “I come from Italy”

If I originally lived in Italy and then moved to the United States and currently live in the United States. Then somebody asked me where I am from. I say: I come/came from Italy. Should it ...
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3answers
8k views

Is there a rule for “wouldn't” used to mean “didn't want”?

I have seen the sentences in books where wouldn't seems to have been used in the meaning of didn't want, and I wonder if such a rule exists. For instance, I wanted to participate, but he wouldn't ...
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2answers
723 views

Present or Past tense to describe a past condition which is still present?

Scenario: My friend John has a personality disorder, intensely paranoid for example. Can I say: There were three events last year that told me John had a problem. or can I say: There were ...
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2answers
863 views

Is the past tense correct in “Did you know Fred was a doctor?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: He didn't know where New Jersey was… Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true My wife and I were disagreeing about this today: ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What's the past tense of “dive”? Of “spell”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: UK English: Is "dived" a valid word? Spelt and Spelled “Dreamed” vs. “dreamt”, “leaped” vs. “leapt”, “lighted” vs. “lit” Evolution of irregular verbs over the last ...
2
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1answer
430 views

American native speaker and perfect tenses

Yesterday I sent my friend a useful gift in online game. Today I can see he has not accepted it yet. Which sentence is grammatically correct and most natural in American English? "You didn't ...
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2answers
924 views

Irregular past tense confusion with compound noun/verb. More examples?

Students of martial arts may be familiar with a breakfall, which can (depending on the situation) be treated as a noun or a verb. I am often amused when speakers, even native English speakers (myself ...
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4answers
1k views

How to avoid past/future tense?

I'm writing a Software Design Document. It is being written in parallel to the development, so as some features are already finished they are written in past tense (the only way I know of articulating ...
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3answers
337 views

“He grew up around cars that would later become classics.”

My question is about the use of would in the following sentence. He grew up around cars that would later become classics. The use of would in this particular sense always looks confusing to me ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Is every sentence in a tense?

I know that "tense" indicates time. If that is true, then not every sentence can be indicated of its tense. Please review these sentences: "If I could go to the market , I must have taken breakfast ...
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2answers
1k views

Past perfect tense in this example

For the following example: I had seen many beautiful shops in UK, when I was walking down the street years ago. I'm not sure if the phrase "years ago" at the end of this sentence is correct. ...
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2answers
1k views

Should the past perfect be eschewed?

The past perfect serves a purpose: When describing things that happened in the past, it allows us to discuss things that happened before (i.e., in the past’s past). However, a procession of had, had, ...
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1answer
495 views

Past vs Past Perfect

While writing a paper for my English class, I couldn't decided whether past or past perfect tense was needed. It's basically about how a guy whose house is destroyed because the government wants to ...
1
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4answers
318 views

A prediction made in the past that affects something we will do in the future

Please ignore the factual accuracy of this sentence and focus on the tenses used. If the Mayans were wrong to end the calendar on Dec. 20, 2012, we'll use your donation to fund 2013 programming. ...
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2answers
6k views

“Until” and past perfect

Having seen one sentence in "Practical English Usage" by M.Swan (a very popular grammar book), I was really puzzled. I waited until the rain had stopped. The past perfect is generally used to ...
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2answers
11k views

Why do people sometimes use the past perfect form of a verb when the past would suffice? (e.g. “you had mentioned”)

I noticed that my American friends tend to use the past perfect form when they use the verb mention in its past form, almost despite of the context of the sentence. I hear them say "you had ...
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1answer
787 views

Replacing past perfect tense with past tense

For had fallen in a when-clause, can the past perfect tense be replaced with the past tense? Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which was the only one taught by a ghost. ...
3
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1answer
416 views

Combining future perfect tenses in a sentence

Which is correct to say? On Valentines Day 2013 the iPhone will have been for sale exactly half as long as the iPod has been for sale. or On Valentines Day 2013 the iPhone will have been for ...
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2answers
843 views

What should be the correct tense and structure of the sentence? [closed]

Sorry if my question sounds dumb here. I am not a English speaker and now I am trying to learn and improve my English. Suppose following scenario occurs: Person A has done something wrong in past and ...
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3answers
2k views

“When we worked together” vs “when we were working together” or can I use “when” with continous tenses?

In one Russian discussion group devoted to ESL, I was advised that using when with continuous tenses is incorrect in English. To be exact, we were discussing how to translate a phrase about one’s ...
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2answers
703 views

Simple Past or Past Perfect

If I went to a place last night where I needed to show an id, but I forgot to have it on me. So if in the morning I was speaking to a friend(reporting on what happened), which one of the following ...
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1answer
1k views

Simple past vs. Past perfect [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? What's the difference between the following two sentences? I had finished reading the book ...
0
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1answer
623 views

Simple past or past perfect in this example

In the following examples: When I was five years old I had a dog. Is this a past perfect sentence? Here, I know that the 'dog' is not a verb and because we use third form of verb after 'had' so ...
21
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6answers
95k views

Which is correct: “troubleshooted” or “troubleshot”?

Troubleshooted is not a word, but troubleshot is. Is this really the correct word to use? I always feel like saying: I troubleshooted it. vs I troubleshot it For some reason, it just ...
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3answers
1k views

The use of “will” in assumptions

We can use will for both past and future assumptions. But how do we differentiate if it refers to past assurance or future possibility? For example: You will know all about Rachel, of course. ...
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2answers
680 views

“rain was coming till tomorrow”

I am asking this question on behalf of a friend of mine. Do tell me, can and when or why can we use past form when we predict something in the future. I agree the phrase is not full. Anyway, the ...
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6answers
35k views

Is “would” the past future tense of “will” or just a modal verb?

What's the difference: Would you give me some advice? Will you give me some advices?
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1answer
3k views

“Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? What's the difference between the following? Did the shop close? Has the shop closed? I suspect ...
1
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2answers
996 views

Use of the word “have”

In a menu title/button, does "have" need to be used? Is "1" okay or should "2" be used? 1) People who contacted you in the last 24 hours 2) People who have contacted you in the last 24 hours This ...
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3answers
45k views

Difference between 'haven't …yet' and 'didn't… yet'

I was wondering what the difference was between a sentence with have and one with do. For example this one: They haven't started yet. They didn't start yet. Is there a difference? ...
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3answers
20k views

“I didn't finish” versus “I haven't finished”

If I worked on something yesterday but it was not finished, should I use "I didn't finish it yet" or "I haven't finished it yet"?
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2answers
709 views

Past simple or present perfect? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect for past action with present effect Is this sentence correct? What exactly does it mean? Person 1: Where did you hide my keys? Person 2: I put ...
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3answers
3k views

When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past?

I've finished my work. I finished my work. When do I use one or the other?
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0answers
2k views

Can we use “is” with second form of verb is sentences? [closed]

Can we use the second form of the verb with is. For example The book is hidden In daily life, I used to listen to some sentences in which the second form of the verb is used with is. Is it ...
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2answers
2k views

What tense is “You were unable to do it.”?

"You were unable to do it." Can you describe the tense of this sentence? Is it Past Progressive?
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0answers
18 views

Ending verbs with 'nt' in the past tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”? It was my understanding that ending verbs with "t" / "nt" in the perfect tense was merely to accommodate irregular verbs ...
10
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1answer
15k views

“Overrode” vs “Overridden”

I got into an argument about the sentence "Have you overrode SomeThingamajig?" I thought that "have overrode" is incorrect, and should be "overrode" or "have overridden", or perhaps "did override". ...
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3answers
2k views

“so that” + present/past tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'? Which one is correct: Introduce additional user interface widget so that it was ...
0
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2answers
457 views

Mixed tenses in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: ‘Had’ or ‘has’ to describe a past condition which is still present? Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true The employee was injured while ...
14
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3answers
11k views

Why do we use 'did' with questions using the simple past tense?

Where did you go last night? Where went you last night? Is there a reason we say the first of the previous two sentences as opposed to the last one? I know the second sentence is ...
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6answers
2k views

How can I change the tense of a hyphenated verb?

I'm certain this can't be the only example there is of a hyphenated verb, but it's the only one I can think of right now. How should one appropriately convert "mouse-over" into the past tense? ...
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1answer
114 views

Cannot find whether it is past or present [closed]

I came across a question in a book. It says: If any of the following sentences show that something happened in the past, make the italicized verb simple past by adding -d or -ed. If you cannot ...
3
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5answers
13k views

“Got promoted” vs. “Was promoted”

Should I use got or was in the sentence below? Many years thereafter, he ... promoted to [...] This might be somewhat related to this question, but I'm not sure. Edit: After reading some of the ...
2
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9answers
462 views

How do I ask “when” without implying past or future?

"When did or will the event happen?" — This sounds silly to me. To make matters worse, I would like to use passive voice because the question is in reference to a statement that uses passive voice. ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Confused by the past tense and the present tense

Suppose I'm talking about some design scheme. I say something like "foo was once designed and implemented in a way called bar that ...". Then I want to introduce the original scheme "bar", for ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do you write “occurred” but “listened”?

The past tense of to occur is occurred (not occured), but the past tense of to listen is listened (not listenned). Why? What is the general rule that is applied to make the past tense of a verb?
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2answers
2k views

“The author wrote” vs. “the author writes”

What is the rule for the following examples? In the passage, the author writes. . . . In the passage, the author wrote. . . . I’m trying to explain to my son that both are correct, but I can’t ...
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1answer
366 views

Where versus were [closed]

New York Times editorial today says: The Bronx district attorney should be applauded for refusing to prosecute bad arrests that officers were unable to prove were warranted. Should it be: ...
3
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2answers
221 views

Tenses and completeness of actions

When one uses simple past tense for some action, does it imply that the action is complete? For instance, when you say “I wrote my article yesterday,” does this imply that at this moment you have a ...