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

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2
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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, ...
1
vote
1answer
474 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
309 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
769 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
402 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
815 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
697 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 ...
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
598 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
90k 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
666 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
34k 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
2k 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
934 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
43k 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
18k 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
701 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?
1
vote
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 ...
1
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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?
0
votes
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
votes
1answer
14k 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". ...
1
vote
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
votes
2answers
445 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
votes
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 ...
12
votes
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? ...
-1
votes
1answer
109 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
votes
5answers
12k 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
votes
9answers
459 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
vote
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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?
5
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
365 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
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
16k views

What is the past tense of “sync”?

I've always believed the past tense of sync ("I sync my phone with my computer") to be synced ("I synced my phone with my computer yesterday"). This question would seem to suggest either synced or ...
1
vote
4answers
15k views

“Done” vs. “did” & “seen” vs. “saw”

I am trying to find a logical way to explain how/when to use "done" vs "did" and "seen" vs "saw". The person I'm coaching uses the terms in the following manner and I just don't want to correct him, ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Past tense of 'dive' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: UK English: Is “dived” a valid word? Can anybody explain the difference between dived and dove in the following sentence? He  __  in to the ...
3
votes
3answers
675 views

Correct tense for events which happend long time ago but still have direct connection with present time

Suppose that a man disappeared twenty years ago and I haven't had a notice about him since then. What should I say to my interlocutor if I want to tell him about this story? You know, Harry has ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Did you ever hear(see, do, anything else) vs. Have you ever(seen, done, and so on) heard? [closed]

What's correct? If both, what is the difference between these questions? An example from The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: MacDonald turned over the letter which Holmes had handed ...
3
votes
2answers
53k views

When do you use “talked” and “spoke”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”? I'm often befuddled when I am reading an article and the author uses talked with when ...
-5
votes
1answer
17k views

“Since I last saw you” or “since I last have seen you”? [closed]

Which of the following two sentences is correct? It's been long time since I last saw you. It's been long time since I have seen you.
-2
votes
1answer
865 views

Past or present perfect tense for event happened last night [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? Since watching TV is a completed action which happened last night, which one is correct? Last ...
-2
votes
2answers
6k views

Did vs. was in sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do we use 'did' with questions using the simple past tense? Do the following sentences have the same meaning? Did she say something? Was she said ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“I had thought there was” Vs. “I thought there was”

What's the difference between these sentences: I had thought there was something wrong with the tape recorder. I thought there was something wrong with the tape recorder. Would it be more ...
-1
votes
5answers
263 views

Still More Syntactic Confusion [closed]

I sometimes encounter sentences like this Mussolini ordered the Italy invaded Albania. It seems incorrect to me but I want native speakers to prove. UPDATE. The sentence above is taken from ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How to describe the future in the past

I've always used would as the past tense of will: Present: Tomorrow, I will go to the beach. Past: The following day, I would go to the beach. However, in response to my question on ...