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

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Simple present in “I heard the clock strike ten” [migrated]

Why is strike in the simple present in this sentence? What are the conditions for using a simple present verb after a past tense verb to talk about the past?
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2answers
40 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 ...
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2answers
48 views

Past Continuous or Past Simple

Which type of tense is correct to be used in the sentence: We waited/were waiting for the bus, it didn't come. I believed that both are acceptable. However, my other colleagues said that only ...
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3answers
91 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: ...
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2answers
65 views

The correct usage of past tense with just

I understand that phrase: "I have just bought a house". is correct. But I also saw, that sometimes people could say: "I just bought a house." Is it correct?
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0answers
29 views

Convert from present to past passive [closed]

how can i convert this into past passive? The shape of an individual onion epidermal cell takes the shape of an elongated quadrilateral or a multi-gon. Some cells have more organic shapes with more ...
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0answers
24 views

Have never tried vs never tried [duplicate]

Which one is correct: I have never tried it, but I'd like to. I never tried it, but I'd like to. As far as I know, I'd like to means I would like to, which is past tense (would), so for me the ...
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0answers
21 views

I saw a scene in Sons of Anarchy yesterday, where Jax wears sunglasses vs where Jax was wearing sunglasses [migrated]

Is it correct to say: ''I saw a scene yesterday where Jax wears sunglasses'' or is the only correct form: ''Where Jax was wearing sunglasses'' I was in doubt whether the first one is okay to use.
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0answers
78 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 ...
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1answer
48 views

“Had been planning” or “were planning” What is the difference? [duplicate]

We_________(had been planning /were planning) to felicitate John at our annual cultural fest when the news of his death______(had arrived /arrived). Can someone tell me which one to use and ...
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0answers
49 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 ...
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2answers
77 views

Past Simple vs Present Perfect?

We _ Harold for three years before he died. a) knew. b) have known. Which answer should I use in my exam question? I have doubts, as I want to choose a, but a friend of mine advises me to choose ...
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30 views

Question about about various uses of “to be” and correctness of their usage in my sentence

If I were the man involved, and didn't know my wife was 'pretend', I would be totally crushed when I did find out she was fake. How could I make the above statement correct? If it already is, ...
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1answer
46 views

Something was or is nice

When we say " X was nice", does it imply X was nice in the past, but not nice any more at the present? Here is one context: One day I went shopping with a friend, and we saw a nice item in a shop. ...
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1answer
48 views

past tense, passive verb [duplicate]

What is correct usage -- or correct semi-slang usage -- for verb in this sentence: 'he was a boy who got beat up often'
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4answers
730 views

Shifting tenses in a short story [duplicate]

I am writing a short story using past tense, but I am a little bit confused when it comes to writing this part: She had never seen a man as athletic as him before. She knew Japanese men (were / ...
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1answer
30 views

Is “flewed down” an attempt at past imperfect? [closed]

From a non-native speaker of English: "My friends have flewed down for my surgery." Is this is attempt at past imperfect? I am not sure, since the intent is to indicate the very recent past. Does ...
2
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3answers
170 views

How to use “The first thing I did was”? [closed]

I'm unable to figure out if the following sentence is correct: "After I watched the movie, the first thing I did was shutdown the laptop and go outside" Is this grammatically correct? Or should it ...
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2answers
3k views

Using 'would' to talk about past with examples

The following are sentences, I would take the dogs out on a walk. I would have took the dogs out on a walk. I would took the dogs out on a walk. I understood them as follows: Possible action to ...
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1answer
47 views

Past tense usage in a formal email [duplicate]

During the period between January and today, I have added many changes to my resume that i want to make an employer noticed of. I doubt between 'have done' and 'had done'. " I would like to inform ...
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4answers
28k views

“Lept” vs. “leapt” vs. “leaped”

After reading this discussion, I'd like to know what example sentences distinguish the meaning of the words lept, leapt, and leaped from each other?
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4answers
936 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 ...
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1answer
36 views

Do “it is time for someone to do something” and “it is time someone did something” mean the same thing?

I know that It is time (understood: for the speaker or for a group of people including the speaker) to do something. and It is time I or we did something. do not mean the same thing: the first is ...
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0answers
21 views

“I ran some tests” or “I've run some tests”? [duplicate]

I'm a Software Engineer and English isn't my native language. Today I was writing an e-mail where I wanted to state that I had run some tests overnight but I started to ask myself which one of the ...
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4answers
4k views

Tenses after “as if”

"I'll always remember this rule as if I had just learned it" Do you consider this sentence grammatically correct? The main clause refers to the future, so I guess that the Past Simple would ...
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3answers
59 views

Should I use present or past tense in indirect speech?

Suppose a person has told me this: I will go home. I want to report what he told me to someone else, but I don’t know whether the condition is still true — that is, whether he has gone home. ...
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2answers
53 views

Using “heretofore” in the past perfect

Is it grammatically correct to use "heretofore" in the past perfect? ...the king's power, which had heretofore been absolute. The meaning of "heretofore" is "before now", but would it still work ...
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4answers
484 views

“I never went to poker yesterday” - Is this grammatically correct? [duplicate]

A colleague of mine often pulls me up on my awful grammar, earlier today I said "I never went to poker yesterday" and she told me that it was grammatically incorrect. I understand that I ...
3
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3answers
433 views

Usage of Present Perfect and Past Simple in answer

I'm reading "English Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy and I have a question about Present Perfect and Past Simple. Here's the example from the book: They've gone away. They'll be back on Friday. ...
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1answer
42 views

Use of present perfect after past simple as clauses of the same sentence

Here is the thing I've written lately. Now, when I look at it, I'm not sure whether this is the right (natural, basically) way to put things. This post was written about a year ago, but it has ...
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0answers
15 views

Grammar used in have been and had been in sentence [duplicate]

When we are going to use have been and had been ? Especially in Past tense and Past participle ?
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1answer
5k views

Use of “had said” in the “The Archers”

In the BBC radio drama The Archers, the following conversation takes place: A:             David, you are not going to say what you saw. You love your family, right? David:   What? A:    ...
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3answers
69 views

Past progressive construction

I’m confused about how to construct a past progressive sentence. If I say these: I was walking in the park. I was singing in the bathroom. Would these sentences be considered to be in past ...
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2answers
2k views

“It would the best thing I have ever seen” vs “…I had ever seen” [closed]

Just heard a song "Majestic" and as I am continuously trying to improve my English, I noticed something a bit unclear to me. A sight for sore eyes To the blind would be awful majestic It would ...
2
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2answers
86 views

Products will be shipped in the same order they . . . ordered?

What is the correct word in the following sentence? Products will be shipped in the same order they [. . .] ordered. I am guessing for are or have been, but I'm not sure. Can someone explain? ...
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0answers
224 views

past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form

Method 1: wasn't/weren't + subject + verb(ing) + object? Method 2: was/were + subject + not + verb(ing) + object ? Which method correct in past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form? Or ...
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1answer
164 views

“Dream, dreamt” and “learn, learnt” irregular verbs: correct or not? [duplicate]

Often when I am writing emails or any other documents, I would like to use the irregular forms of dream (dreamt) or learn (learnt). But the computer spellcheckers always underline these words as being ...
3
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1answer
94 views

Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them? [duplicate]

We would never say "I builded my own house", and we would never say "I ment my fences" - as far as I can tell, words either went the d-to-t route, or they went the add-ed route. Gild, for some reason, ...
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1answer
585 views

Past simple vs. past perfect

Here is an exercise from Intermediate Language Practice by Michael Vince: (Please note that I have replaced all the blanks in the exercise with the answers given in the answer key.) Put each verb ...
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1answer
90 views

simple past vs past perfect

I'm studying English and I want to ask about a sentence from my book: For myself I kept a solitary piece of china, one of the few remaining plates from the set my grandfather bought my mother for ...
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1answer
47 views

Tenses in the sentence [duplicate]

"On occasion he had even been entrusted with the rectification of ‘The Times’ leading articles, which were written entirely in Newspeak." Why can't we say: "he was entrusted"?
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1answer
48 views

the correct tense of “derive”

I'm a non-native English speaker. Given the sentence: The English word " olive " derives from the Latin word "oliva". Why is the present tense used, not the past tense? If I say, The English word ...
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3answers
88 views

Can I say “she made a good baby” to say “she was a good baby”?

I know we can say "someone makes a good leader." But can the same thing be used in past-tense "he made a good leader." ?
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2answers
255 views

“I was used to do” vs. “I was used doing” [closed]

Good day everyone, Looked around and didn't find the desired answer to my question. Would you please be kind to give me a hand with the following: "I was used to do..." or "I was used to swim here" ...
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3answers
953 views

Use of past and progressive tense

Can someone tell me which, if any, of the following sentences are correct: When she walked in, he was laying on the bed. When she walked in, he was laid on the bed. When she walked in, he ...
0
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1answer
45 views

He has only laid down for an hour today? [duplicate]

I would like to express that a person has only reclined for an hour so far today. Is it correct to say: He has only laid down for an hour so far today. or is it perhaps: He has only lay ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

What tense to use when reporting something which has never been true or never happened? [duplicate]

The report said that years ago city planners had planned to build a facility that turns salt water into fresh water, but financial woes made that impossible. In this sentence should turned be ...
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1answer
2k views

Can you use past and present tense in the same sentence?

Could you please confirm if the following sentence is correct or not? ...he comes over quite often, he and I got on quite well when we see each other so not much issue there. Or should it be: ...
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2answers
66 views

“Cannot believe what he saw” versus “cannot believe what he was seeing” [duplicate]

Which of the following sentences is grammatical: The boss could not believe what he saw yesterday morning when he entered the office. The boss could not believe what he was seeing yesterday morning ...
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3answers
122 views

I wanted to know

Is this sentence grammatical with were (for talking about the present), or is are is better? I wanted to know if there were any accounts assistant posts available. I wanted to know if there ...