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

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4answers
365 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?
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0answers
189 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
140 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
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4answers
603 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
606 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
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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?
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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 ...
1
vote
1answer
143 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
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2answers
267 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
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2answers
899 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
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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
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1answer
327 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
279 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
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1answer
208 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.
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2answers
192 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
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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
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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
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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 ...
4
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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?
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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, ...
0
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0answers
73 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, then ...
0
votes
1answer
890 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
134 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'
2
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4answers
2k views

Shifting tenses in a short story [duplicate]

I am writing a short story using past tense, but I am a little bit confused when it comes to writing this part: She had never seen a man as athletic as him before. She knew Japanese men (were / ...
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votes
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
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3answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Using 'would' to talk about past with examples

The following are sentences, I would take the dogs out on a walk. I would have took the dogs out on a walk. I would took the dogs out on a walk. I understood them as follows: Possible action to ...
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1answer
399 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
65k views

“Lept” vs. “leapt” vs. “leaped”

After reading this discussion, I'd like to know what example sentences distinguish the meaning of the words lept, leapt, and leaped from each other?
6
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4answers
12k views

Tenses after “as if”

"I'll always remember this rule as if I had just learned it" Do you consider this sentence grammatically correct? The main clause refers to the future, so I guess that the Past Simple would convey ...
0
votes
3answers
234 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
347 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 ...
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1answer
171 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 ...
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3answers
246 views

Past progressive construction

I’m confused about how to construct a past progressive sentence. If I say these: I was walking in the park. I was singing in the bathroom. Would these sentences be considered to be in past ...
2
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2answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
223 views

Products will be shipped in the same order they . . . ordered?

What is the correct word in the following sentence? Products will be shipped in the same order they [. . .] ordered. I am guessing for are or have been, but I'm not sure. Can someone explain? ...
0
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0answers
766 views

past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form

Method 1: wasn't/weren't + subject + verb(ing) + object? Method 2: was/were + subject + not + verb(ing) + object ? Which method correct in past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form? Or ...
2
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1answer
7k views

“Dream, dreamt” and “learn, learnt” irregular verbs: correct or not? [duplicate]

Often when I am writing emails or any other documents, I would like to use the irregular forms of dream (dreamt) or learn (learnt). But the computer spellcheckers always underline these words as being ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them? [duplicate]

We would never say "I builded my own house", and we would never say "I ment my fences" - as far as I can tell, words either went the d-to-t route, or they went the add-ed route. Gild, for some reason, ...
1
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1answer
2k 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 ...
3
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1answer
124 views

simple past vs past perfect

I'm studying English and I want to ask about a sentence from my book: For myself I kept a solitary piece of china, one of the few remaining plates from the set my grandfather bought my mother for ...
0
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1answer
62 views

Tenses in the sentence [duplicate]

"On occasion he had even been entrusted with the rectification of ‘The Times’ leading articles, which were written entirely in Newspeak." Why can't we say: "he was entrusted"?
1
vote
1answer
216 views

the correct tense of “derive”

I'm a non-native English speaker. Given the sentence: The English word " olive " derives from the Latin word "oliva". Why is the present tense used, not the past tense? If I say, The English word ...
1
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3answers
98 views

Can I say “she made a good baby” to say “she was a good baby”?

I know we can say "someone makes a good leader." But can the same thing be used in past-tense "he made a good leader." ?
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2answers
3k views

“I was used to do” vs. “I was used doing” [closed]

Good day everyone, Looked around and didn't find the desired answer to my question. Would you please be kind to give me a hand with the following: "I was used to do..." or "I was used to swim here" ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Use of past and progressive tense

Can someone tell me which, if any, of the following sentences are correct: When she walked in, he was laying on the bed. When she walked in, he was laid on the bed. When she walked in, he ...
0
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1answer
56 views

He has only laid down for an hour today? [duplicate]

I would like to express that a person has only reclined for an hour so far today. Is it correct to say: He has only laid down for an hour so far today. or is it perhaps: He has only lay ...
1
vote
1answer
460 views

What tense to use when reporting something which has never been true or never happened? [duplicate]

The report said that years ago city planners had planned to build a facility that turns salt water into fresh water, but financial woes made that impossible. In this sentence should turned be used ...