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

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1answer
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“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 ...
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1answer
87 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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2answers
509 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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2answers
65 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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0answers
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difference between past simple and present perfect in certain examples

I know there is difference between these tenses in sentences like: -I have broken my leg so now I cannot walk - present perfect (I did something in past and second part of sentence show consequences) ...
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1answer
41 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
37 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
82 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
71 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
909 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 ...
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1answer
43 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 ...
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1answer
79 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
71 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
62 views

Tenses with “until then” - present perfect needed or optional?

If I understood correctly, "until now" can be "until then" in the past sentences. Would this be correct? it was a new approach that was never successfully performed until then. or should I ...
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1answer
186 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
53 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
100 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 ...
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4answers
172 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 / are) ...
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1answer
120 views

“How long have you stayed there?” vs “How long did you stay there?” [duplicate]

I have a doubt about the difference between those two questions. Could you guys give me an appropriate examples and explanation? Thanks in advance!
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1answer
72 views

A dream come true - is it correct

I was confused by a company slogan I saw, and that made me wonder: Is it correct to write "a dream come true"? If I was the one writing it I would use "a dream comes true" but is the initial form ...
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3answers
74 views

How can I rephrase a question with if clause, to be answered only if the event of the “if” clause happened [closed]

I would like to ask a question which is to be answered only if some past condition is met: If you did something in the past, could you tell me more about it? How should I rephrase it?
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1answer
110 views

Does using “Their watch is ended” over “Their watch has ended” change the meaning of the sentence?

I've been watching this little HBO show by the name of Game of Thones. Perhaps you have heard of it. In the most recent episode the following line is used (and also happens to be the title of the ...
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1answer
52 views

Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? [closed]

If an action started in the past and lasted for some time, which tense should be used Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? For example, I worked out for two hours yesterday or I had been working ...
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0answers
34 views

Should we use “come” or “comes” here [duplicate]

I ran into this sentence in a ESL testing, "It really is like a dream come true." Just wonder why should we use come instead of comes here.
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2answers
68 views

“I've been waiting” Vs “I waited”

Let's say for example this sentence : Finally, you're here! Where were you ? What took you so long ? _______! 1- I've been waiting here for hours. 2- I waited here for hours. which one is correct to ...
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3answers
122 views

“Could have avoided” vs “could avoid”

This is a line from a fiction in which a killer says to the good guy For what it's worth I had hoped we could have avoided this day". I mean why not say "For what it's worth I had hoped we ...
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3answers
29k views

Which past tense of “to light” should I use here?

I know that there are two ways to form the past tense of to light (i.e. lit/lighted). Which one is appropriate for the sentence below? His thoughts lighted our way. or His thoughts lit our ...
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2answers
3k views

Question about interrogations in past tense

In regard to this answer, my question is similar but that answer is not clear. I want to know why we use base form of verb, e.g. 'go' to form the past tense instead of past form such as 'went'? ...
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2answers
7k views

“Is used” vs. “has been used” vs. “was used”

I have three sentences of which I'm not sure which one is grammatical, and why. It refers to the Eiffel Tower. It is used as the symbol of Paris and of France for over a century. It was ...
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2answers
124 views

The clock (has kept/kept) precise time for over forty years? [closed]

The correct answer is "kept" but I don't understand why because shouldn't "over forty years" make it past progressive? This is from an ACT practice test. The passage talks about a guy making the ...
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2answers
56 views

Meaning of 'I didn't think you were'

What is the meaning of this sentence: I didn't think you were Why is 'were' used here instead of 'are'? How is that different from: I didn't think you are
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0answers
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Class [has been / was] removed. [duplicate]

If I want to make a very short remark as a comment to a fragment of computer program, what would be the best style of the three variants below please? Class ProjectControl... ...removed ...was ...
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5answers
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Does “typically” always imply a habitual occurrence?

Example: When she lost her wallet, typically, she panicked. That looks awkward and incorrect. A present tense version of the sentence looks correct: When she loses her wallet, typically ...
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4answers
424 views

Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
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1answer
68 views

what's the difference between “past tense” and “past participle”? [closed]

For example,in this sentence: Begun in 1078, the Tower of London was built in London’s southeast corner by William the Conqueror. Why does that sentence use begun not began?
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Using the past tense and present tense in one sentence [duplicate]

Why is this acceptable English? I did see him The two verbs did and see use different tenses. did is past tense and see is present. However if there is a conjunction then we keep the past tense. I ...
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1answer
143 views

It's funny that you should say that. Why “say” not “said”?

There's an exercise in Murphy's Grammar in use unit 34. "It's funny that you should say that. I was going to say the same thing." Why not use past tense "said" but "say" here? Another should ...
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1answer
53 views

“Does our process cause users to abandon tasks they WERE/ARE about to perform?”

I have written the following sentence as part of the conclusion to my thesis. This represents one of the future research questions, i.e., it is not part of my research questions, it is something that ...
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2answers
41 views

Difference between “Past Progressive” and “Past Perfect Progressive”

From this resource I find two situational explanations of Past Progressive: "Interrupted action in the past." with an example She was reading a book when the light went off, had a shower and ...
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4answers
513 views

“Did you like what you saw/see?”

So I heard this in a movie and I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct . . . Should it be: 1.) "Did you like what you saw?" or 2.) "Did you like what you see?" Which one is right, you ...
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1answer
80 views

Past tense vs past participle in passive forms [closed]

For example: The car is driven by my a friend of mine. vs The car is drove by a friend of mine. Which one is correct?
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2answers
141 views

Using past tense when referencing a still-true fact [duplicate]

In the sentence: "I didn't know she had a son," Can I say "I didn't know she has a son" instead, because he is a teenager now? Or are both correct?
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Why is the past tense used in “I was wondering if you would like to come for dinner?”

Why isn't the present tense used? I am wondering if you would like to come for dinner.
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4answers
88 views

There is a current trend of using past tense, when meaning present tense.

For example, someone on the phone said, "I was calling to ask for a form," when she meant to say, "I am calling to ask for a form." I hear this consistently, and usually in customer service ...
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4answers
197 views

Present Perfect with the word “ago”?

First, I check that my native language is not English, and the problem described below met on one of the exams. With this sentence: "The most important news is that my parents ... a new ...
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2answers
130 views

Can Past Progressive Tense be used for habitual past? [duplicate]

I ran across the following sentence in an ESL textbook (by Jack C. Richards): "I was going to auditions" which was used to say what the subject would do for some time after college. However, almost ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
58 views

“It had not been working as I thought” vs. “It was not working as I thought”?

I want to convey that I recently discovered that a software code was not working like I thought it was working...I'm not sure how to phrase it correctly. Which A phrase goes with which B phrase? A1. ...