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

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5
votes
4answers
734 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".
4
votes
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.
0
votes
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.
0
votes
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
0
votes
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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
90 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."?
0
votes
4answers
416 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
1
vote
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
votes
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
votes
2answers
86k 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?
1
vote
1answer
654 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
443 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 ...
37
votes
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.
1
vote
1answer
936 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
655 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
201 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.
1
vote
2answers
130 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Résumé conventions: present, past, and continuous tenses [closed]

When writing a résumé or CV, I’ve read that: Use the present tense when referring to accomplishments that are ongoing. Use the past tense (ending in –ed) when referring to accomplishments ...
1
vote
1answer
380 views

Which is the correct usage?

Which is the correct usage? 1. I don't know how did it go wrong. 2. I don't know how it went wrong. Similarly it happen in the following cases also 1. He doesn't know where she is. 2. He ...
1
vote
2answers
451 views

Dropping the 'have' before a past participle [closed]

We have heard what you told us. We've heard what you told us. We heard what you told us. As far as I know, the first two are OK. There have been enough discussions here on the subject. The third ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

I only watched or I have only watched [duplicate]

If someone ask me "Do you like Indian movie?" Which tenses would fit the answer to the question ? "yes I do. But I watched only some of them" "yes I do. But I have wathed only some of them" "yes I ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“Did you” vs “Do you” for questions about the past

Which of these is more correct for American English in a professional context: Did you have any other prior marriage that lasted at least 10 years, or any other prior marriage that ended due to your ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

If I do VS If I did

Do these sentences mean exactly the same thing? If yes, why does (a) use the present tense and (b) the past? (a) IF I WIN the lottery, I WILL buy a big house. (b) IF I WON the lottery, I WOULD BUY ...
24
votes
2answers
10k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Differences in Past Tense: 'used to have' vs. 'had' (non-native speaker)

I don't understand the difference between these sentences. Is there a special usage for each? I used to have three cats and I had three cats
-1
votes
2answers
177 views

Past - past perfect [closed]

In what way do I represent the task which I did yesterday night? I want to know the usage differences between "Past" and "Past perfect" tenses Can anyone give me idea to clarify this? Last night, ...
1
vote
1answer
297 views

Has or Had / Past and Past Perfect [closed]

I'm polishing and redrafting my novel. But grammar is not my strong suit. I need help with tenses, specifically. As you may already know, stories are usually told in the past tense. But it's not ...
0
votes
2answers
293 views

Past perfect/simple question in an example

Talking about the trip I did a few years ago: I have been there and it was amazing. I had not seen a frozen sea until that time! Did I use past perfect correctly or should I just say "I did not ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

“Never” and past tense

Considering these two sentences in the past tense, using "never": The film has never been released The film was never released Are they both correct? If so, is there a difference in the ...
1
vote
2answers
369 views

Can verb tense be changed mid-sentence for something that still exists?

Look at this sentence: I knew that the sky is blue. To me, it doesn't make sense to say the sky was blue since it still is blue. Even so, is it grammatically incorrect to say I knew that the sky ...
2
votes
2answers
235 views

for + present perfect or past simple

Have you ever danced? This is kind of a usual question. What if I wanna ask someone about his experience and find out how long it lasted. Can I say Have you ever danced for 5 hours? (and we're just ...
0
votes
1answer
288 views

Dialogue: “had” or “have”

She: I had an awesome time yesterday. He: Haha. I'm glad you have! Did I use the wrong word? Is it suppose to be had?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

When telling a story and describing objects in the story, should the objects be referred to in past tense or present tense? [closed]

When describing objects in telling a story, should the objects be referred to in past tense or present tense, if the effects of the story still hold true on them? Since it is a story it should be in ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Will the sentences be correct? [duplicate]

We all know that universal statements are always in present tense. For example, My grandma did not believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Here, though the sentence is in past tense, ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

“Has pushed” vs. “pushed”

I am reading many academic papers at the moment and am becoming more aware of the use of has, have, had in front of a verb, where it seems redundant. For example the following sentence: The ...
0
votes
4answers
16k views

I lived vs I used to live

I cannot see any difference between these two sentences. I assume both express the same but what is the difference? I thought that "used to" is used to describe an action that was happening in the ...
-5
votes
1answer
8k views

What's the difference between “has had,” and “had had?” [closed]

I was writing an essay for my school project, and I stumbled upon this type of grammatical situation and thought if anyone knew the answer to it? I've searched all over the internet but nothing ...
0
votes
2answers
852 views

Simple Past and Present Perfect [closed]

could you possibly enlighten me about any differences between 2 sentences below: (a) I went to Warsaw this year. (b) I have been to Warsaw this year. Thank you very much in advance!
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is “the test is failed” acceptable?

In software interfaces, technical documentation, scientific documentation and legal documents, I see phrases like: The build is failed. The test is failed. If the test is failed,... It ...
5
votes
5answers
66k views

Which is the correct past tense of “spin”: “span” or “spun”?

All the while I was writing my answer to this question, something was bothering me about this excerpt from the quotation: When Adam delved and Eve span, The past tense of delve is properly ...
1
vote
1answer
638 views

Should “How long were you at work?” have a simple or a compound tense?

I would like to know, if the following sentence can ever be correct in any context? How long were you at work? Or it must be: How long had you been at work? For example: How long were ...
2
votes
2answers
280 views

Sequence of Tense [duplicate]

Which one is correct? Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolved around the sun. Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolve around the sun. In my ...
-1
votes
2answers
554 views

Present Perfect Vs Present Perfect Continuous and Simple Past/ Past Perfect Vs Past Perfect Continuous [closed]

What is the difference in meanings of the following pairs of sentences? It's very confusing to me. a. I have lived in Paris for 4 years. b. I have been living in Paris for 4 years. a. I ...
-4
votes
1answer
5k views

What is past state? [closed]

When learning about "used to" and "would" that refer to past habit. They said that "would" is not possible when talking about past state. Even in this, they include "own", "drive" as past state So ...
-3
votes
1answer
2k views

When do we use “went bowling,” and when do we use “go bowling”? [closed]

In this dialogue what is the appropriate form? A: Would you like to go bowling with me today? B: I don't think so. To be honest, I really don't feel like going bowling today. I went bowling ...
0
votes
1answer
182 views

past tense of contrive [closed]

So I am looking up the meaning of 'contrive' in google using: define contrive And it says: Verb 1. Create or bring about (an object or a situation) by deliberate use of skill and artifice. 2. ...
0
votes
2answers
103 views

Is reported speech reasonable in this example? [closed]

What is the right word to the gap (21)? (had/have) That is about 400 years earlier than when the Inca Indians were thought to (21) __ discovered the silver in the ground. I think it's had as ...
0
votes
1answer
809 views

Can we use past perfect progressive in the context where present tense is predominantly used?

As I understand, past perfect is used to express an action that had happened before something else in the past. But in the paragraph I came across, there appeared past perfect progressive in the ...
-3
votes
2answers
373 views

Is that grammatically correct? [closed]

I'm going to blog about each feature and progress I made in my book? Is that grammatically correct?
-2
votes
2answers
104 views

Is it 'express shipped' or 'shipped express'? [closed]

Which one is correct? He should have express shipped it to me. He should have it shipped express to me.