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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
3answers
230 views

Simple past sounds better but past perfect seems more accurate

I think it's grammatically more accurate to say,"The market was closed after a virus had been found." However, it sounds "better" to say,"The market was closed after a virus was found." Grammatically, ...
2
votes
1answer
263 views

Is past perfect necessary when you are talking in chronological order?

I have a question about using past perfect. I know that it's used when you want to refer to an older past event while talking about a more recent past event. But if you begin talking about past events ...
1
vote
1answer
489 views

Are These Words Interchangeable? [duplicate]

"The man was hung at dawn." "The man was hanged at dawn." Are "hung" and "hanged" entirely interchangeable?
-5
votes
1answer
197 views

Grammar: did + past simple, is it correct? [closed]

I’ve noticed a few times where someone says something like “Did you made...” or “Did you worked...” when asking questions. Is this some kind of unofficial talk or is it completely incorrect ...
8
votes
2answers
32k views

Is “earnt” a real word?

Is the past tense for the word "earn" "earned" or "earnt", and does the word "earnt" even exist?
2
votes
1answer
408 views

Confusion in usage of verb in interrogative past tense

I know that whenever we use "did" in any sentence, the following verb has to be in present form. But I have a confusion:- In plain English it should be:- Did you forget switching it off? But if we ...
8
votes
3answers
510 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
-1
votes
1answer
100 views

The future as reported in the past

Is (1) correct, or must it be written as (2)? John told me yesterday that this contract will not be renewed when it ends next month. John told me yesterday that this contract would not be ...
0
votes
3answers
311 views

Infinitive vs. Past Simple for short technical annotations [duplicate]

I use source control management software at work. When I commit some changes, I annotate them with the bare infinitive like this: "add new feature", "fix bug #10012" I note that some of my ...
1
vote
1answer
490 views

Present perfect or past simple? [duplicate]

I know the basic rules about using PP and PS (like specified time in the past etc.) but in some cases, it is not clear to me: I have finished painting. - present perfect, I just announce that. I ...
3
votes
4answers
29k views

“Past due” or “passed due”

I know that "past due" stamped on a bill is accepted, however I believe it should be "passed due". Does this mean that "past due" is vernacularly correct and "passed due" is grammatically correct?
2
votes
1answer
485 views

I was sat thinking why you were stood there before I was took away by the word police [duplicate]

I know my sentence is dreadful but everyone now uses these words in this way, including my eight children aged 19—26. Yes, they are from Manchester but my husband uses he was took and he’s from ...
-1
votes
3answers
258 views

Stating facts that occured in the past

We were shocked when we found/find out the toilet had/has no flush. My natural intuition would lead me to write this way: We were shocked when we found out the toilet had no flush. Then ...
0
votes
2answers
671 views

Future Passive Progressive? [duplicate]

Does some future passive progressive tense exist, such as: He will be being interviewed by police." as a counterpart to the past passive progressive tense, such as: He was being ...
0
votes
1answer
321 views

Reported Speech Tense Choice [closed]

Which of the followings sentences would be the best choice? The victim explained how he became addicted five years ago... His addiction is so bad that he is unable to keep a steady ...
2
votes
3answers
668 views

Answering past simple question with past continuous

For example, — What did you do yesterday? — I was working. I presume this is not grammatically correct; however, I often reply in this way (I'm English). Also vice versa: "What were you doing ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

Is “shined” correct? If so, is “he shined X on the tree” also correct?

Recently, I overhead a former professor of mine use the word shined, a word that makes me grammatically uncomfortable. She used it as following: "Then, after we shined a light on the other ball, what ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
4answers
11k 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
735 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
886 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
449 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
937 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
342 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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. ...
2
votes
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, ...
1
vote
1answer
505 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
vote
4answers
324 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. ...
2
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
803 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
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
866 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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
votes
1answer
636 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
votes
6answers
99k 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 ...
3
votes
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. ...
0
votes
2answers
698 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
36k 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?
-1
votes
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
vote
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
48k 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? ...
11
votes
3answers
21k 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"?
4
votes
2answers
725 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 ...
2
votes
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?