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

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Tense in a general statement

Do all of these mean the same? Is one preferable to the other? It's important to finish what you start. It's important to finish what you started. It's important to finish what you've started.
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Past participle [on hold]

Material used for the construction of the machine, the used products and made for during the working cycle are not harmful for the safety and wealthy of the people that use the machine. In this ...
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1answer
34 views

“Does not revealed”

I've found this sentence, and thought it has a bad grammar: Audiometry, abdominal ultrasonography, echocardiography does not revealed other abnormalities. But there are many usages of this ...
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2answers
1k views

The difference between “past continuous” and “present perfect continuous”

Let's consider the following context: You come to the office on Saturday and see somebody finish some actions and now (s)he is sitting at your workplace (you didn't expect to meet anyone), ...
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1answer
30 views

Can't or Couldn't?? [on hold]

i want to ask what's the difference between these sentences. Because Can't is present tense and happened is past tense. Could anyone explain it to me thank you! She Can't believe what happened to ...
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2answers
62 views

Why past simple whereas present perfect should be used instead?

In "Game of Thrones", season 6, episode 4 there is a scene when one guy spots that his mate is sick (his hand is getting rotten) and gets worried about it. But the mate says: "Don't worry. I didn't ...
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difference between: [closed]

Which is the difference between I have been waiting for the bus for 15 minutes. I have waited for the bus for 15 minutes. I waited for the bus for 15 minutes.
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1answer
61 views

Does/did in the following sentence?

So the context is A: I play the piano every night before I go to bed. B: I thought I was the only one who does that/did that?? Because person B thought before that she was the only one who did it, ...
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1answer
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Simple or perfect [on hold]

Recently I wrote this sentence: I am sending you the edited mail as I typed the wrong data before. At first I was happy with it, but since then I ve been doubting the use of past simple in the second ...
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0answers
36 views

past simple or past perfect [closed]

Recently I wrote this sentence: I am sending you this mail again as I typed the wrong data before. At first I was happy with it, but since then I ve been doubting the use of past simple.. Isn't past ...
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3answers
95 views

Time tense consistency

I was taught that we have to keep time tenses consistent throughout a sentence in English. I am writing a paper, and I wasn't sure of this. "I came to realize that information security is becoming ...
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English UK “My previous work experiences to date haven’t enabled me use any specialist knowledge” [closed]

My previous work experiences to date haven’t enabled me use any specialist knowledge. In the above sentence, my tutor highlighted the word "haven't" and commented "sense". What should I replace this ...
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5answers
10k views

Past present future all in one word?

Does the English language have a mechanism for expressing past, present and future tense simultaneously? In other words, consider the following three sentences: 1) The force was with me. 2) The ...
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1answer
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Asking subject - object questions. 'Did' or past form of the verb in Past Simple?

The question is about the rule of asking questions in Past Simple tense. Please, look at the questions below and tell me if my thinking and naming of questions stated here are correct? For example ...
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1answer
12k 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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1answer
53 views

Past Perfect Progressive

I came across a website that says, using a Past Perfect Continuous is a good way to show cause and effect. The writer then shows an example. He was tired because he had been exercising so hard. ...
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2answers
730 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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0answers
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How should I say this

I have tense gramatical Issue here If I want to say I couldn't find out something in some nonspecific time in the past, I should say. "I couldn't figured out how to ...??" Or "I haven't were able to ...
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1answer
126 views

I finished my essay yesterday but I (?) it in to the tutor yet

I finished my essay yesterday but I (?) it in to the tutor yet. A.I've given B.I hadn't given C.I didn't give Which is correct? My dear tutor said the answer had to be B. But I find no correct ...
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1answer
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Past Simple VS Past Continues

They came, four by four, down the vast hall between double rows of columns. The drum beat dully. No voice spoke, no eye watched. Torches carried by black-clad girls burned reddish in the shafts of ...
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“was reconstructed by…” / "has been reconstructed by… (simple past vs. present perfect)

I'm editing a book in which the following formulation appears frequently in the notes: "This article has been reconstructed by [...]. The sources for this reconstruction are [...]. The text has been ...
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2answers
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Coming and going in the past

If I call my mother when I am done shopping in the morning, I might tell her "I am coming home" if she is at home, but "I am going home" if she is not. That afternoon at home, discussing the day's ...
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2answers
18k 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
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When describing a detail of an ex, is it correct to use past or present tense?

To start, would it be correct to say "My ex-girlfriend used to eat at Red Lobster." or "My ex-girlfriend eats at Red Lobster." Another example: "My ex-girlfriend used to be into ...
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1answer
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“I'd the house to myself” Is this incorrect? [duplicate]

"I'd the house to myself." Since "I'd" can be a contraction of I had, would it work in this case for "I had the house to myself?"
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2answers
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Is “He should have gone running away” grammatical? [closed]

Is the use of the construction should have gone running away correct? Would not a better answer be “should have run away”? A teacher at my school had this question on her students exam and is curious ...
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1answer
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Modals of obligation in the past [closed]

Can you say 'You needn't have to go' instead of 'You needn't have gone'?
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Present Perfect vs. Simple past in this situation [migrated]

if somebody hasn't answered my question, what will be the difference of these two response in meaning? "You haven't answered my question!" "You didn't answer my question!" thanks
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1answer
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Tense and 'had had'

Which of these is correct? Instinctively, I'd say (1), but it feels a bit formal. I'm also tempted to use (3) but soften the double 'had' by using 'she'd' instead of 'she had'. Thoughts? (Thank you!) ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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1answer
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Nested Flashback - Past perfect tense w/in present tense or Past tense w/in past tense or Past perfect tense w/in past tense

So, someone from ELL suggested that I ask my question on this forum. I do not want to know if nested flashbacks are okay. I am simply asking about tense. Thanks for the help! Question is below: ...
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3answers
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What is the past tense of “lightning”?

When we talk about lightning and thunder, we generally use the words like this: It's lightning It's thundering The antenna was hit by lightning But sometimes we use thunder in the past tense... ...
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Is it may or might?

I know that the past tense of may is might so, basically, if the truth of the situation is known, you use "might have." For example: If I were to go to the store but didn't, I would say: I might ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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could past perfect tense and present perfect tense coexist in a compound sentence. Please do not mark as duplicate if you have not read the question [duplicate]

Mike ( had broken | broke ) his mother's vase last night but he has not told her yet. Question: Some argue it must use "broke" instead of "had broken" because "last night" could not be used with past ...
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2answers
2k views

Sorry I'm late, the car wouldn't start this morning! [closed]

This sentence is used in a Grammar book. I wonder why they used "wouldn't start"? Thanks so much!
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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.
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2answers
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Change of tenses

What is the past progressive form of- "I was ill"? Can it be changed at all? I think it cannot be changed but in a bit hesitation. Clarify the answer with reason.
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6answers
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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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46 views

Usage of conditional in past

I am a non-native speaker, currently reading English fiction to improve my language skills. I stumbled over the following sentence: [...] every creeping sound of the night was magnified, and if ...
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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 ...
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35 views

Past Perfect and Until

In the book which I use to prepare for the IELTS exam they have the following sentence: " The situation remained unchanged for the next two years until more universities were opened." I do not ...
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2answers
645 views

The difference between “have been able to” and “was able to”

I have been able to buy the house I spoke of the other day. (1) Does (1) mean that I bought the house? I was able to buy the house I spoke of the other day. (2) I was able to buy ...
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2answers
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Can Present Participle verbs be used in Past tense stories?

I'm writing a 3rd person story in the past tense. I'm asking the above question because I noticed Roald Dahl used present particles instead of past particles in The BFG. The BFG, with Sophie ...
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2answers
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What tense should I use in the following case? [closed]

I'm describing something in the past tense. However, that something repeats over and over again. What is more correct? A ball destroyed a vase. It was an infinite loop. The ball bounced up. It hit ...
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3answers
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“Since she had given up smoking, …” or “Since she gave up smoking, …”?

Since she had given up smoking, she has been looking good. or Since she gave up smoking, she has been looking good. Shouldn't it be "had given up"?
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1answer
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Present Perfect usage in a sentence; continue with the same tense or move to Past Simple?

I've been rewriting a known quote: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. I used the Present Perfect and turned the quote into: Curiosity has killed the cat, but ...
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3answers
59 views

Good decision I “made” / “have made” today

As a non-native English speaker, I'm a little bit confused. Should I say: The only good decision I made today was to ... or The only good decision I have made today was to ... What is the ...
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How do I stay in the right past tense?

I recently wrote in my journal about a crash that had occurred on my way to work. I couldn't decide if I needed to write: Thursday morning, a truck had hit and killed a woman on the motorway. The ...
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2answers
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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.