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

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1answer
274 views

Present Perfect for the past? [duplicate]

I've come across the - more or less - following sentence in a book (American publisher): "They have done it in the past" I've always thought that "PAST" and "PRESENT PERFECT" can't go together. The ...
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1answer
1k views

Was + past participle [duplicate]

Is such phrase is correct? A request was sent to somewhere. Something is telling me that sentence below is correct one. A request has been sent to somewhere.
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1answer
2k views

“meeting called to order” vs “meeting call to order”

Which do you think is more appropriate, "Meeting call to order" or "Meeting called to order" if it's used in a printed meeting program? As for now, the program looks like this: 13:45 [Doors open] ...
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7answers
30k views

Is “must” ever grammatical as a past tense verb?

I have seen uses of must that appear to be in the simple past tense. Sometimes these seem grammatical, but sometimes not. Examples that help illustrate my confusion: He knew he must go to New York ...
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2answers
1k views

Should I use present tense in reporting speech?

Should I use present tense in reported speech? I have both sentences and not sure which one is correct: (1) Peter mentioned that the formula A is based on formula B. (2) Peter mentioned that the ...
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1answer
1k views

“I [had] visited them two months ago” [duplicate]

A. I had visited them two months ago. B. I visited them two months ago. Which one is correct?
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1answer
40 views

Changing tenses

I am a sports writer and was wondering if this sentence is wrong because it starts in the past tense and changes to past participle "Sophomore Chelsea Vujs recorded a double-double by scoring a ...
0
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1answer
180 views

What is the difference between following 2 sentences? [duplicate]

What is the difference between following 2 sentences? Can you please explain me the meaning of both? "I have eaten my lunch" "I ate my lunch" Thanks a lot for helping.
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1answer
13k views

how to use “has been” [duplicate]

I had been preparing for a tennis event since March, but it has been postponed until next year. Question: Can "it has been postponed" be replaced with "was postponed" grammatically without changing ...
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1answer
389 views

A question on narration in the past

This is a bit of a complicated question. The context is that someone gave advice to someone else. The whole situation is narrated in the past. I fear that by using the past tense, the reader may ...
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1answer
112 views

Meaning of “bobbed” in “hair bobbed from a ray of sunlight” [closed]

From The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: Ed Miller: I was with a girl once. Wasn't a squaw, but she was purty. She had yellow hair, like uh... oh, like something. Dick ...
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2answers
4k views

Are pled and pleaded interchangeable past tense of plead?

From this article: http://nation.time.com/2014/02/03/stand-your-ground-michael-dunn-jordan-davis-killing-loud-music/ "Dunn has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges along with three ...
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8answers
8k views

“I didn't know you liked her” or “I didn't know you like her”

I have a friend who insists that "I didn't know you like her" is more correct than "I didn't know you liked her" if the liking is still taking place. But to my ear, only the latter ...
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6answers
23k views

Are “might” and “should” past tenses of “may” and “shall”, respectively?

According to the dictionary definitions (e.g. in Merriam-Webster) , "should" is the past of "shall" and "might" is the past of "may": But are these modal verbs really used as such? I know they are ...
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3answers
885 views

told vs have told in a sentence [closed]

How do you say the next sentence? 1) I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake 2) I told him to stay on the path while he was ...
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2answers
734 views

“Is left untouched” or “was left untouched” [closed]

Which is correct? My book was left untouched for so many years. or My book is left untouched for so many years. Well, until now, that book is really untouched. So does that mean that just ...
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6answers
9k views

Past present future all in one word?

Does the English language have a mechanism for expressing past, present and future tense simultaneously? In other words, consider the following three sentences: 1) The force was with me. 2) The ...
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3answers
460 views

Is it ok to use the irregular past tense of a verb as it were a regular one?

Let's say I say / write catched instead of caught or buyed instead of bought, etc. I know this is grammatically incorrect, but is it incorrect or perfectly fine to use it in every-day life ? English ...
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1answer
239 views

Using “must have” in the past [duplicate]

I know the must have/must had thing has been asked before but I have yet to see it in the context of this question. Does "have" make grammatical sense in the following? It sounds like it conflicts ...
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4answers
420 views

Latin-derived verbs

Are all Latin-derived English verbs regular? For ex. decide, arrive add -ed in their past forms. Are there any specific rules to follow? To spend is irregular: why? Does it depend on when these verbs ...
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1answer
368 views

it “went” without saying?

I was reading a traveling novel and came across this sentence: We all caught the metro back to the centre of town at about midnight, drunk and very happy. It goes without saying that the carriage ...
5
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2answers
23k views

Why do we say and write “read” instead of “readed” for the past? [closed]

Why do we write read unchanged for present and past, while study changes; we have studied. The present form of read is read, pronounced as "reed". The past form of read is also read but it is ...
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2answers
75 views

What tense to use in this example?

I am developing a system for patients that allows them to see their medication history. There is a function that lists history of all drugs the patients have ever tried. I am trying to figure out ...
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3answers
15k views

“misunderstand” vs “misunderstood”

If speaking or writing to someone and it becomes apparent they did not interpret something correctly, is it correct to inform them "you misunderstood" or "you misunderstand"? I'm not sure because the ...
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2answers
4k views

“fail to do” or “failure in doing”, which is better in this case?

I went to live in the small village to seek a simple life after my failure in finding a decent job in the metropolis. I went to live in the small village to seek a simple life after I fail ...
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1answer
319 views

Can I use the past progressive here?

Let's say I am at the train station and I missed the train, I still see it driving off. I would naturally say to myself: 'Damn, that was the train I was hoping to get.' Would that be wrong? If not, ...
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1answer
2k views

“Once…” in the past tense

I was standing on the spot where the murderer had been, thinking, "Did he hesitate? Once the trigger was pulled for the first time, there would've been no turning back." Can the following ...
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0answers
29 views

Which tense is more appropriate in the clause of this sentence, the simple past or present perfect? [duplicate]

Sentence 1: It is quite disappointed that I was not able to pass the exam even after having worked hard for three months. Sentence 2: It is quite disappointed that I have not been able to ...
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3answers
10k views

How can I use the verb “sad” in the past continuous?

How can I use the verb "sad" in the past continuous? E.g.: I was crying. I was missing. What should be the sentences for sad or upset in past continuous? Why do some words like the two above ...
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1answer
316 views

Past continuous vs Past Perfect continuous

When I was taking a Biology class in 2005, we were assigned to do an animal experiment. So what is wrong with that sentence? I am using a free grammar checker website and it says the tense is wrong.
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0answers
30 views

Why “Would you mind if I asked you something?” is correct? [duplicate]

Instead of "Would you mind if I ask you something?" Why past tense, I don't get it?
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2answers
387 views

Past perfect in Crime and Punishment

I've just started reading the English translation of Crime And Punishment, and come across the following sentences where the usage of past perfect tense has confused me: He was so badly dressed that ...
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1answer
668 views

Why does the tense of a story sometimes suddenly change from past to present, and back again? [closed]

For example in A Room With A View, by E. M. Forster, the tenses suddenly change from past to present or vice versa: Chapter XV: The Disaster Within The Sunday after Miss Bartlett's arrival ...
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4answers
723 views

“I left before they had decided what to do” Why is 'decided' in the past perfect?

I left before they had decided what to do. Is this because this is a past version of "I leave before they have decided what to do"? Because "left" doesn't come before "decided".
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2answers
29k views

“Has been” vs. “was”

Should one use has been or was in the following sentence, and why? For many years the USA has been a British colony. For many years the USA was a British colony.
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3answers
1k views

Present Simple or Past Simple with “today”?

Which of the following is correct? She doesn't go to school today because she is ill. She didn't go to school today because she is ill. These are the only choices given.
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1answer
3k views

What is the difference between “I have worked here” and “I have been working here”? [duplicate]

What is the difference between the following sentences? When can I use either? I have worked here and I have been working here
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3answers
4k views

“She has put on some weight.” vs “She put on some weight.”

Say, you ask the father... A: How is Mary? B: She is fine, but she put on some weight. Say, you ask someone who just saw Mary after a long time... C: How is Mary? D: She is fine, but she ...
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2answers
87 views

Is it correct to say [closed]

Is it correct to say "There used to be abandoned cotteges and now it was replaced with nice hotels."?
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4answers
396 views

“Has preserved” or “has been preserved”

Which is correct? Roman temples have not preserved in their original condition Roman temples have not been preserved in their original condition
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1answer
3k views

Is it grammatically correct to change tense in a sentence? [duplicate]

When writing a sentence, can I change from past-tense to present-tense in the middle of it? For example, Joey realized that the ball is green. or Joey realized that the ball was green. I ...
0
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1answer
2k views

built vs had built [duplicate]

What is the difference between the two sentences below A: He learned about good design from the house where his family lived. An architect called John had built it. B: He learned about ...
2
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2answers
83k views

What's the proper past tense of “to freeze”: “freezed” or "frozen? [closed]

Which form should be used for the past tense "freezed" or "frozen" or are both acceptable?
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1answer
635 views

Past vs. perfect in present-tense narrative

When telling a story using the present tense, should events at a specific time in the past be recounted in the past perfect or in the past tense? For example: I know to writeJack entered the room and ...
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4answers
440 views

at which point I can shift from past perfect back to simple past?

Imagine I'm writing a story in past tense. Here come some questions: SENTENCE 1: "Tom simply couldn't imagine how different the world had been when his father was at Tom's age: there hadn't been ...
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5answers
33k views

What's the negation of “I used to be”? Surely not “I didn't used to be”?

What is the negative form of "I used to be"? I often hear "I didn't used to be" but that sounds awfully wrong in my ears.
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1answer
898 views

If someone is currently doing an activity, is it wrong to say they were doing that activity?

If you are currently doing an activity, then a moment ago you were doing that activity. So if I am doing something, is is grammatically correct to say I was doing it or do I have to use the present ...
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2answers
647 views

Can a past participle phrase stand at the end of a sentence?

For a present participle phrase, I've seen: Seeking advice from the pros, she visited the website. She visited the website, seeking advice from the pros. For a past participle phrase, ...
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2answers
196 views

what is the past tense of “hangar”

Is this question grammatically correct in regards to the word "hangared" pertaining to aircraft. If your aircraft is hangared in another locality, please let us know immediately.
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2answers
129 views

doubt about the past perfect, continuous,

I'm writing the profile section of my resumé/CV. I'm hesitating about the proper verb form: During my work experience I have applied engineering methods to solve problems. I have been ...