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

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10
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2answers
2k views

UK English: Is “dived” a valid word?

Proofing a manuscript, I found this in the middle of a chase scene: Spotting an opening, I dived into it and was horrified to find it was a dead end. Is “dived” a valid past tense of the verb ...
1
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0answers
49 views

Passengers heard 'screaming' - who was doing the “hearing”?

Passengers heard 'screaming' I feel this phrase could be interpreted in two ways: 1) The passengers could and did hear screaming (from someone else). 2) Someone else could and did hear the ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Begun or began?

whether to use begin began or begun seems to be well covered, but i'm wondering which feels natural or better, had begun or had began when talking about someone doing something.
1
vote
1answer
55 views

“Until” followed by past perfect or past simple

Recently we have been learning tense sequence with using after, before and so on. One of them - until turned out troublesome for me. My first exercise was to write this sentence with until: not to ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

Past tense of 'to output': output or outputted?

According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Simple Past or Past perfect with by [migrated]

What is the difference between 1.He became a star by 1990's. 2.He had become a star by 1990's. Is the first sentence correct? If yes, then please tell me the difference between the two. Thank you. ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Sequence of tenses when some temporary action is still true

I got confused with the rule of the sequence of tenses. I found that when the action in the subordinate clause is a habitual action or general truth, we can use the present tense in the clause even if ...
-2
votes
3answers
42 views

How to use have/had in relation to a past tense action?

Lucy thanked me for what I have/had done? Here the action of 'thanking' is being done as a result of something that happens prior to 'thanking'. 'Thanked' shows the action has already been completed. ...
-1
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0answers
25 views

Proper way of using past tense [migrated]

which one is correct and why ? 1- I will help you once I understand how it works or 2- I will help you once I understood how it works
0
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0answers
38 views

Would it be 'meet' or 'have met' in this structure?

If I bumped into someone, who happened to be called John, yesterday, and I am telling someone else of the encounter, would I say: I happened to meet John yesterday. or I happened to have ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time?

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time? For example A person who lived during 1790 could truthfully claim that Washington ...
-1
votes
3answers
95 views

Simple past vs past perfect tense [closed]

In this sentence"Our presentation was scripted. We wrote down and rehearsed everything we said beforehand" In this case, can I replace "we said beforehand" with "we had said beforehand"
1
vote
1answer
167 views

present simple plus past simple in the if-clause

Please help me understand whether I can use the past simple tense with the present simple tense in one if-clause. My example is the question that I want to ask when speaking with English native ...
0
votes
2answers
222 views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence

Both these sentences contain two verbs (correct me if I'm wrong) that are in the past perfect tense. I'd like to ask how do they occur in chronological order. Though my question is related to the one ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

Past Simple and Progressive; depending on the sentence?

My question is based on Past Simple and Past Progressive. I had a test a couple weeks ago, and there was this sentence with 2 verbs that you had to choose one to make the sentence true grammatically: ...
-2
votes
1answer
39 views

Is 'walked' the correct tense in this paragraph? [closed]

The next folder she opened contained something that neither of them had expected: five photos of Emily’s brother. They had been taken while James walked through a glass door.
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Was emerging vs Is emerging

The sentence below was written using was emerging: Narayanasamy said Congress was emerging as a forceful organisation and the people would be convinced that the PM and BJP had only extended false ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

using both Past Simple and Past Perfect in the same paragraph

Is there a rule about consistency within a paragraph, of using past tense and past participle in alternate sentences? In my writing class, I notice some writers mix the two freely. Since I see this ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

Can I use “when” to start a sentence with the past progressive?

My class is working on the past progressive and the simple past, and I was wondering if I can use when instead of while for the following sentence While I was eating, the bell rang. When I was ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Can “when verb+ing” refer to an activity in the past?

A correct sentence would be: When they were designing the product, they paid attention to... Is this grammatically correct: When designing the product, attention was paid...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

Can we use “Now” (not until now or until then) in past tense sentences

I wrote this to my friends a few days ago: (1) It used to take 5 seconds for me to reach Youtube, now it only took me 2 seconds to do it. I used "now" to refer to the moment when I installed a faster ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Present tense in Flashback story for something that is still true now?

I'm wondering whether I should use the present tense for a descriptive statement but in a past context. For example: (1) I went to the zoo and saw a giraffe last week. (2) Giraffe is a mammal with ...
4
votes
1answer
217 views

Origin of irregular ending “-ught” for past simple and participle

There is a little group of irregular verbs in English that follow a similar pattern, having "-ught" as their ending for past simple and for participle. These verbs are among the group of most used ...
1
vote
2answers
18k views

Was vs had been

I guess this question has been asked before, but please take a look the following sentence and tell me if there is a difference between them. When the transaction had been completed, A was still a ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

using “if” - when to use present tense, and when to use past tense?

As a native speaker of English, these two sentences sound acceptable to me: A full refund can be claimed if the school fails to provide a textbook. A full refund could be claimed if the ...
0
votes
3answers
85 views

reporting past simple tense [closed]

Choose: He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out. Some people say that past simple tense doesn't change in indirect speech, but my teacher says that the direct ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

Past perfect example confusion

My text definition of past perfect tense tells me that it is used to refer to an action that is completed at some point in the past and before the commencement of another past action. I came across ...
3
votes
2answers
451 views

Tense agreement in conditional statements: “I could do whatever I want” vs. “I could do whatever I wanted”

Consider the following sentences: If I had my own place, I could do whatever I want. If I had my own place, I could do whatever I wanted. She said I could do whatever I want. She ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture?

Regarding actions taken in the past, besides the differences those two tenses have semantically, my teacher shared that it could be a British vs American English case. When talking about past ...
1
vote
3answers
151 views

Should I use past perfect tense here?

I was thinking about a certain situation. Suppose that one week ago, I played basketball once, and that today I was talking with a friend. I: I played basketball once last week. My friend: ...
2
votes
3answers
15k views

Which is correct: “is solved” or “has been solved”?

In a technical environment, what is the most suitable sentence to use when answering to someone about a problem that they had and we solved it for them: The problem is solved The problem has been ...
2
votes
2answers
46 views

to be + past participle

I wanted to ask a lot of questions concerning this phrase: I always consult with my children who are affected by the decisions to be made. What role does the particle "to" perform in this phrase? ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Describe the grammatical error in the sentence [duplicate]

"I did went to the movie" Describe the grammatical error in the sentence. I know that it is wrong but I am not able to explain it to my younger brother.
0
votes
2answers
41 views

“is + past tense verb”. Sugar is added or sugar added?

How to say correctly: 1) Sugar is added to the coffee. 2) Sugar added to the coffee. or 1) Software is tested successfully. 2) Software tested successfully. Thank you in advance
0
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0answers
59 views

Which is correct “was” or“ were”? [duplicate]

It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it was an oak. It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it were an oak. Which is correct sentence?
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the past tense form of s--t [closed]

Are shit, shat, and shitted all correct and fine to use as the past tense of shit? After a little bit of searching it seems that they are, with shat being Old English. Is any form more common in ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Past tense of wake: is there a difference between “waked”, and “woke”?

I just stumbled over the verb "to wake", which according to various sources has two valid forms for the past tense: "woke" and "waked". Some further research stated, that there seem to be two (Old / ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

“Grit” vs “gritted”

Dictionary sources tell me that the past tense of grit is gritted rather than grit. Why does that sound weird to me? Am I delusional, or is this one of those words changing in current usage? Pet is a ...
0
votes
0answers
69 views

English simple past “did” in an affirmative statement

The English simple past (pretorite) uses did in inversion and in negative sentences. I ate at the restaurant. I did not eat at the restaurant. Did I eat at the restaurant? But is the affirmative ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the use of 'shew' and 'glew' as the past tense of 'show' and 'glow' commonplace in some areas?

A friend informed me recently that in some areas of England (he named Suffolk) it is relatively common to find 'incorrect' past tenses being used. His examples were: 'I shew him', instead of 'I ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “forwent” used much?

I see "forgo" used quite a bit, and "forgone" is quite common too. I can't say I've ever seen or heard of "forwent" and in fact, I had to look it up to make sure it even was a word at all. Is it ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

special usage of the past simple?

I'm reading Jennifer Haigh's short story Sublimation, and I came across a sentence that grabbed my attention. "Their son's habit isn't news to her, not really, though she always imagined he'd ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

The habitual past “would” versus “simple past” tense

One can use the habitual past 'would' to describe past events. For example one could say, Jim would spend weekends at the farm. He would cut weed and water the plants. One can also use the ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

“I just ate them” and “I've just eaten them” — What's the difference in American and in British?

I know there are differences between American and British English in this area. So when answering, please specify whether you speak American or British English.
-3
votes
3answers
54 views

Does the following statement make sense? [closed]

"As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devoted their lives to create change are forever remembered." Or should it be: "As I answered the questions, I realized that those who devote ...
2
votes
3answers
181 views

Mixing tenses in past tense fiction

In past tense works (novels, etc.) is there a place for some present tense verbs, such as "think" or "know" or "was." Example: I turned to leave, and he didn't try to stop me. I think I surprised ...
4
votes
3answers
598 views

Use didn't leave yet, or haven't left yet? [closed]

My knowledge of English grammar is very basic. I learned English mostly from movies and a lot of times I choose a specific way to say something in English based on intuition or the feeling that it ...
0
votes
2answers
234 views

While I was waiting for [closed]

Which one is grammatically correct? I want to say that I waited the time that the bus would leave the terminal in the past tense. While I was waiting for the bus leaves, a man came to talk to me. ...
-1
votes
3answers
84 views

“She had lost her consciousness last night at pub after having several cocktails”. Is this sentence grammatical?

She had lost her consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails. Is the use of had (the past perfect tense) right here?
2
votes
1answer
73 views

“when” and “would” in a sentence

I would like to use when and would in the following sentence: When I would study on the morning of an exam I would say something like that. So, am I right?