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

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1answer
836 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. ...
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1answer
130 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'
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
0
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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 ...
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4answers
62k 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?
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4answers
11k 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 ...
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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. ...
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2answers
322 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
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 ...
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1answer
11k views

Use of “had said” in the “The Archers”

In the BBC radio drama The Archers, the following conversation takes place: A:             David, you are not going to say what you saw. You love your family, right? David:   What? A:    ...
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3answers
242 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 ...
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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
204 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? ...
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0answers
676 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
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1answer
135 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, ...
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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"?
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1answer
207 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 ...
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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
2k 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" ...
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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 ...
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1answer
413 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 ...
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2answers
145 views

“Cannot believe what he saw” versus “cannot believe what he was seeing” [duplicate]

Which of the following sentences is grammatical: The boss could not believe what he saw yesterday morning when he entered the office. The boss could not believe what he was seeing yesterday morning ...
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3answers
2k views

I wanted to know

Is this sentence grammatical with were (for talking about the present), or is are is better? I wanted to know if there were any accounts assistant posts available. I wanted to know if there ...
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1answer
9k views

“How long have you stayed there?” vs “How long did you stay there?” [duplicate]

I have a doubt about the difference between those two questions. Could you guys give me an appropriate examples and explanation? Thanks in advance!
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3answers
431 views

How can I rephrase a question with if clause, to be answered only if the event of the “if” clause happened [closed]

I would like to ask a question which is to be answered only if some past condition is met: If you did something in the past, could you tell me more about it? How should I rephrase it?
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1answer
3k views

Does using “Their watch is ended” over “Their watch has ended” change the meaning of the sentence?

I've been watching this little HBO show by the name of Game of Thones. Perhaps you have heard of it. In the most recent episode the following line is used (and also happens to be the title of the ...
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1answer
283 views

Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? [closed]

If an action started in the past and lasted for some time, which tense should be used Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? For example, I worked out for two hours yesterday or I had been working ...
2
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2answers
10k views

“I've been waiting” Vs “I waited”

Let's say for example this sentence : Finally, you're here! Where were you ? What took you so long ? _______! 1- I've been waiting here for hours. 2- I waited here for hours. which one is correct to ...
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3answers
2k views

“Could have avoided” vs “could avoid”

This is a line from a fiction in which a killer says to the good guy For what it's worth I had hoped we could have avoided this day". I mean why not say "For what it's worth I had hoped we ...
5
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3answers
60k views

Which past tense of “to light” should I use here?

I know that there are two ways to form the past tense of to light (i.e. lit/lighted). Which one is appropriate for the sentence below? His thoughts lighted our way. or His thoughts lit our ...
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2answers
365 views

The clock (has kept/kept) precise time for over forty years? [closed]

The correct answer is "kept" but I don't understand why because shouldn't "over forty years" make it past progressive? This is from an ACT practice test. The passage talks about a guy making the ...
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2answers
875 views

Meaning of 'I didn't think you were' [closed]

What is the meaning of this sentence: I didn't think you were Why is 'were' used here instead of 'are'? How is that different from: I didn't think you are
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0answers
19 views

Class [has been / was] removed. [duplicate]

If I want to make a very short remark as a comment to a fragment of computer program, what would be the best style of the three variants below please? Class ProjectControl... ...removed ...was ...
2
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5answers
206 views

Does “typically” always imply a habitual occurrence?

Example: When she lost her wallet, typically, she panicked. That looks awkward and incorrect. A present tense version of the sentence looks correct: When she loses her wallet, typically ...
2
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4answers
534 views

Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
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1answer
2k views

what's the difference between “past tense” and “past participle”? [closed]

For example,in this sentence: Begun in 1078, the Tower of London was built in London’s southeast corner by William the Conqueror. Why does that sentence use begun not began?
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1answer
1k views

It's funny that you should say that. Why “say” not “said”?

There's an exercise in Murphy's Grammar in use unit 34. "It's funny that you should say that. I was going to say the same thing." Why not use past tense "said" but "say" here? Another should ...
2
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1answer
110 views

“Does our process cause users to abandon tasks they WERE/ARE about to perform?”

I have written the following sentence as part of the conclusion to my thesis. This represents one of the future research questions, i.e., it is not part of my research questions, it is something that ...
2
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2answers
6k views

Difference between “Past Progressive” and “Past Perfect Progressive”

From this resource I find two situational explanations of Past Progressive: "Interrupted action in the past." with an example She was reading a book when the light went off, had a shower and ...
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1answer
333 views

Past tense vs past participle in passive forms [closed]

For example: The car is driven by my a friend of mine. vs The car is drove by a friend of mine. Which one is correct?
5
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2answers
718 views

Using past tense when referencing a still-true fact [duplicate]

In the sentence: "I didn't know she had a son," Can I say "I didn't know she has a son" instead, because he is a teenager now? Or are both correct?
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5answers
35k views

Why is the past tense used in “I was wondering if you would like to come for dinner?”

Why isn't the present tense used? I am wondering if you would like to come for dinner.
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4answers
435 views

There is a current trend of using past tense, when meaning present tense.

For example, someone on the phone said, "I was calling to ask for a form," when she meant to say, "I am calling to ask for a form." I hear this consistently, and usually in customer service ...