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

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14
votes
2answers
111k views

'I get it' vs. 'I got it'

When someone tells me something, how should I respond, "I get it" or "I got it"? I have a feeling that "I got it" means "I already knew the thing before you told me," and "I get it" means "Now I know ...
5
votes
2answers
204 views

Why is the progressive form used here?

In February 1825 he married Julianne Thiemer, daughter of a property owner and well-established glove-maker in Seesen. Heinrich, a cabinet maker without property, a Beiwohner(boarder), was marrying ...
-2
votes
2answers
6k views

“Became” vs “become”

I'm not sure about the verb tense I should use here: Run this definition so that the previous changes become/became visible. I think the correct one is Present Simple but it sounds better with ...
-3
votes
1answer
248 views

“How did you sorted among such large number of t-shirts?” Correct or not? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Question about interrogations in past tense I asked this question to a friend of mine and he said that you can't use "sorted" with "did". Is he correct? If yes, what is ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

“Why couldn't” vs. “why couldn't you have”

Reading Harry Potter 2, I came across the following, and I wonder if the use of couldn't have is the equivalent of couldn't in this context? "I have got a question, Oliver," said George, who had ...
1
vote
4answers
587 views

'Would' for past events

For the sentence, He said he would buy a new car. Does adding 'He said' in front make it sound like an event that happened in past? For example, if I write He would buy a new car then that ...
1
vote
1answer
723 views

Unreal vs real time in that example

I have following sentences : She looks as if she is ill. //she really looks ill She looks as if she was ill //she definitely is not, I am being ironic or whatever And when I shift these into ...
10
votes
3answers
19k views

“Had better” — what is the meaning of this grammatically?

I'm interested to know why we use had better for recommendation. Technically we're speaking of an action that hasn't yet occurred. Like he had better leave a tip means he hasn't yet left a tip, but I ...
0
votes
3answers
28k views

“I met” vs “I've met” [closed]

What's the difference between the following? I met him in the UK. I've met him in the UK. Does the second sentence mean that the event was happened recently?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Would you have liked to have been” vs. “would you have liked to be”

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in an article titled “No Rest for the Weary” in The New York Times (February 15, 2008). Would you have liked to have been president from ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

“Inputs are invalid” vs. “Inputs were invalid” [closed]

Applications send a warning message if the received inputs from the user are invalid. Is "are invalid" correct or should it be "were invalid"?
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Differences beetween past perfect continuous and past continuous [closed]

I would like to know the difference between past perfect continuous and past continuous in these examples: We were playing tennis when it started raining. We had been playing tennis when it started ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What tense to use here (sending an email)

What should be the correct tense: Dear XY, As agreed, I am sending / I send this email so you can find...
2
votes
0answers
145 views

“Texted” as past tense of “text” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to use “Text” as verb If I sent someone a text on my mobile phone would I say I texted them? We say I'll text you so now it's out there as a verb but ...
1
vote
2answers
808 views

Does “not that you would know” make sense in English?

Today I was teasing a colleague of mine who keeps forgetting things. I said "You forgot because it's Friday today... Well, not that you would not forget any other day". I am not sure if it was ...
2
votes
2answers
456 views

Which tense to use in this situation?

I am writing a summary for last year and I have just realized that I do not know what tense to use in the following situation: Since 2009 I have been developing a computer program. As I am describing ...
-2
votes
2answers
8k views

Is “I'm headed to gym” correct grammar? [closed]

"What are you doing?" "I told you, I'm headed to gym." I read the above in a novel today. "I'm headed to gym" seems wrong to me because [please insert reason here]. Am I right?
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Difference between “would have” and “would” in the following

When we talk about past habitual or behavioral events, what is the difference between the following two sentences? Every once in a while I would go to this friend's house and we would get into a ...
12
votes
2answers
20k views

Past tense of “to wing”?

Is there a past tense of the verb "to wing," meaning to make up on the fly? Inspired by a blog post of Wil Wheaton, quoted partially below. "Is it from a recipe, or are you winging it?" ...
-3
votes
1answer
278 views

Indirect speech, past tense use

A member's post on another site has the structure: This a post I put on [site] and [member] suggested I posted here too. (emphasis mine) It appears that being reported speech, post is required to ...
2
votes
1answer
408 views

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions?

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions? For example, "She added some water to the flour and was mixing it until she got a lump of dough" or should it be ...
3
votes
1answer
9k views

Past participle of “fly” [closed]

In a song by Coldplay, Paradise, I found the sentence Away she flied. I'm Italian, and I was not sure that flied could be a form of the verb fly or some other word unknown to me. I looked it up in the ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Past tense of “backup”

Which is the past tense of backup? backuped backup-ed backed up backed-up The context is the following: Due to the advent of cloud-based storage solutions, the data is backed up in different ...
0
votes
3answers
887 views

Present perfect and simple past

Here's a conversation: Speaker1: I have already seen this film. Speaker2: When have you seen it? [OR] When did you see it? Speaker1: Last month. Are both of the responses from Speaker2 ...
0
votes
3answers
18k views

“When did you born?” [closed]

When did you born? Can you please tell me which of the items below is the literal translation of the question? When did you give birth? When were you given birth to? Also, how do we answer ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Past tense of “must” when meaning logical probability

I'm wondering how to say this sentence in the past tense: He must be very clever I have seen that the past tense of "must" is "have to" but it doesn't sound good to me to say something like "he ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Past simple with today

For example, I want to say that I found a ball today. But "today" means action in present, am I right? I've already searched the Internet and it seems the right way is this: I found a ball today ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Past tense and “rather than”

I found myself with a sentence like this, using "accept" in the infinitive form after "rather than": They left the club, rather than accept the terms. But I'm unsure of its grammatical ...
1
vote
1answer
375 views

Unreal situation in the past [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Would have had to have been” vs “would have had to be” for past event conditions What's the difference in meaning between these phrases? ...
8
votes
2answers
14k views

Is “should” ever used as past tense of “shall”?

Looking at the dictionary, I read that should has origin as past tense of shall. In the modern English, is should ever used as past tense of shall? ORIGIN Old English sceolde: past of shall.
2
votes
2answers
511 views

English Subjunctive [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English? Why is it that in the English language, the past subjunctive is the same as the past indicative for ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Past tense of “mind” in “mind your own business” [closed]

With a saying such as keep it to myself you can say the past tense as kept it to myself. How about mind my own business? Should it be minded my own business, mound my own business or something else?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“If I was”/“If I were”: what's the right usage and why? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? From what I have read so far both are correct and was is used in an ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“You have hidden a request sent by …” versus “You hid a request sent by …”

I have come across a couple confusing sentences when hiding (ignoring) requests on Facebook. The first response message was: You hid a FarmVille request sent by John Doe and the second was ...
2
votes
2answers
511 views

How to say “Thanks for being my friend” for past friendship

I need to send a card to refer to past friendship. Is Thanks for being my friend! grammatically correct? I would not like to use the past perfect tense to express this (e.g. had been).
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What is the past tense of this phrasal verb (double down)?

Blackjack players can "double down" after receiving their initial two cards. What is the past tense of 'Double Down'?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Past tense of the verb “FedEx”

How do I write the past tense of FedEx? For example: I FedEx'd the package to you yesterday. I Fedexd the package to you yesterday. I FedEx-d the package to you yesterday. I am ...
3
votes
2answers
843 views

I thought they must be poor

How different is (1) 'I thought they must be poor' from (2) 'I thought they had to be poor'? Does (2) emphasize David did think so but that he does not think they are poor any more now that the ...
2
votes
2answers
786 views

Using verb tenses correctly

I'm trying to keep this descriptive essay in the past tense. I bolded the words of my concern (and italicized the ones I believe are in the right tense) in the following passage: As a result of ...
0
votes
1answer
390 views

Is that a correct usage of present perfect?

What do you think about this sentence? Do you have bought the lesson book? Is that a correct usage of "Do you have bought"? Or should I say "Did you buy"?
1
vote
2answers
544 views

Does Caesar and Augustus refer to the same person? [closed]

In this recording of a Documentary about Dark Age For three days, the great capital of Caesar and Augustusis ravaged by its unwelcome guests, the stunning architectural marvels that stood for ...
1
vote
3answers
918 views

Complicated sentence in the past: did vs. would do

Consider the following: On my way back home from work I recalled what my boss had asked I did - turned off the lights before I went. Hence unfortunately I had to drive all the way back to the ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Past tense vs Past participle tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect tense versus past tense Here is the example: I haven't spoken any English for more than 3 years. vs. I didn't speak any English over the past 3 ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What does “I was had” mean?

Maybe he would help me with Deborah's pablum, take turns pushing the wheelchair. It's good to have someone. That reminded me that I had someone -- or perhaps I was had. In any case, Rita would ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

When and why is “flied” used as the past tense of “fly”?

Why is the form "flied" used in baseball instead of "flew"?
2
votes
2answers
163 views

“Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles”?

Is this a proper past tense? Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles.
2
votes
2answers
339 views

“Passed” versus “past” instance in a published novel

A certain book by a famous author has been released in a new second edition. Unfortunately, it appears some changes have been made for the worse. For instance, in the first edition you read the ...
1
vote
2answers
313 views

Is the past tense of “go” related to the word “venture”?

I'm wondering whether the word "went" is a cognate of or otherwise related to "venture". Is it, despite the different spelling?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

“Would fly” versus “would have flown”

I am not a native speaker of English. Could anyone please tell me which sentence is correct? If I had money, I would fly to Spain. If I had money, I would have flown to Spain.
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Are the verbs that are conjugated to end in “-n” in the past related?

There are many words that in English are conjugated in the past tense to end in "-n": grow goes to grown, sew goes to sewn, throw goes to thrown, etc.. I'm guessing it was probably the regular ...