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

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2answers
43 views

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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1answer
45 views

What is the past participle of “to bear” as in to bear one's soul [on hold]

What is the past participle of "bear" as in "to bear one's soul". Is it "I have borne my soul in a public forum" or "I have bore my soul..."
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1answer
390 views

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

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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1answer
982 views

“Have you seen…” or “Did you see…?”

In the US, when people work together, they may look for a colleague or any person to say something or for any other reason, asking colleagues or other people this type of question: Have you ...
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1answer
88 views

“Have you washed it” vs “Did you wash it”? [duplicate]

What's the difference between these two questions? Speaker A: Your car looks very clean. Have you washed it? Did you wash it?
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2answers
260 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

Why do you write “occurred” but “listened”?

The past tense of to occur is occurred (not occured), but the past tense of to listen is listened (not listenned). Why? What is the general rule that is applied to make the past tense of a verb?
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2answers
37 views

Laid vs. Lain in This Sentence [on hold]

Which past participle would fit best in the following sentence? I've always struggled with this one. The idea that had presented itself during the meeting had plagued him all night, and he'd ____ ...
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2answers
4k views

Double Past Tense? [on hold]

Can you please tell me which one of these sentences is correct, and why? Thanks! Lastly, my experience as a teaching assistant helped me throughout the course as I shared what I did to make my ...
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1answer
2k 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
53 views

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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0answers
26 views

Simple past or Past perfect or Present perfect?

The researcher finds a lot of articles about the famous cop having tampered with the evidence related to the arrests that he made. or The researcher finds a lot of articles about the famous cop ...
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0answers
64 views

I wished somebody told me

I got to the bank this morning to open an account, but I could not because I did not have one of the documents required. The day before, when I booked the appointment with the advisor, they told me to ...
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2answers
882 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
40 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
40 views

Reducing the usage of HAD in past-perfect constructs [closed]

If I change the below excerpt In the secret study of Duchess Bianca Cappello, Agent Brüder had heard a sickening thud followed by a growing commotion in the Hall of the Five Hundred. He ...
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2answers
59 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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1answer
48 views

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
50 views

Perfect Continuous

I know we use Past Perfect Continuous when an event in the past continue up until another event in the past: I had been talking with her for over an hour before Tony arrived. Can we use it when ...
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0answers
26 views

Past perfect or simple past

Which one is correct? a) Jimmy sees the car crash. In his hand are the nuts that he had removed from its wheels. or b) Jimmy sees the car crash. In his hand are the nuts that he has removed from its ...
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0answers
44 views

Can you switch between past tense and historical present? [migrated]

Both past tense and historical present are talking about things that happened in the past. Yet I've been told before it's incorrect to use them together. Is it incorrect to use them either in the ...
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2answers
633 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
2k views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence even though sequence is indicated

A group of environmentalists helped direct several small sharks that had lost their way after they had swum through polluted waters to migrate South. Swimming comes before losing the way, yet both ...
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2answers
134 views

What's the difference between “… you have completed the task” and “… you completed the task”? [closed]

Is there any difference in the meaning of the following sentences? Or do they mean the exact same thing? By doing both, you have completed the task. By doing both, you completed the task.
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2answers
254 views

Between Present Perfect and Simple Past, which tense indicates a finished action?

When one uses simple past tense for some action, does it imply that the action is complete? For instance, when you say “I wrote my article yesterday,” does this imply that at this moment you have a ...
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3answers
186 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 ...
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1answer
42 views

Passive and past tense

I have to write an abstract which present my research and results. Do you think the following sentences are right in terms of tense and using of passive together? 1."It has been observed that the ...
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1answer
40 views

Gets older or Got older? [closed]

Is "I love her more when she got older." correct or "I love her more when she gets older."
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1answer
30 views

The usage of “was always”

Good evening everyone! Recentle I've been wondering if it's okey to use always with past simple. Here's a sentence I made up as an example: Baking cakes was always a hard task for me. Is it ...
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0answers
39 views

When do I have license to use the present tense in a *past* narration?

I am narrating a past series of events; of course, all the verbs are in the past tense. One verb, however, signifies an action that will be complete long after (years after) the moment of narration ...
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1answer
29 views

“Have you known” or “Did you know”? [duplicate]

Which tense should I use if for instance I'm talking about a curiosity and I want to ask if the person knew it?
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3answers
57 views

A word that is the past participle for having become something

I want to say: As someone who has recently become a father, ... but I would like to use the shorter form: As a recently ____ father, ... What word could I use here? "Become", "becomed", ...
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2answers
91 views

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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0answers
70 views

Present Perfect with question words: ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ etc [closed]

Is it appropriate to use present perfect (pp) after question words such as: when, where, what, and who? Or should I just use the past simple (ps)? Why? When have you met your wife? (pp) ...
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2answers
71 views

I realized I was or I am

Which of the following is correct, and why? I was an atheist till I realized I was God. I was an atheist till I realized I am God. Quite a few individuals have pointed out the ummm..., ...
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1answer
35 views

Past tense of people watching (applied to zombies)

My characters in a book are watching zombies, ie people watching, but the people are the walking dead. Anyway, I'm wondering what the correct tense usage is, as I'm writing in past. 'drinking from ...
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2answers
96 views

Should I describe a book I've read in the past or present tense?

For example, should I say, "Recently, I finished a novel that was called The Pyrates. The plot of it was that a hero called Avery was sent by the King of England blah, blah, blah." OR "Recently I ...
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4answers
1k views

If a statement is in the present perfect, should the tense be repeated in the next question?

Here's a conversation: Speaker 1: I have already seen this film. Speaker 2: When have you seen it? [OR] When did you see it? Speaker 1: Last month. The two questions uttered by Speaker 2 ...
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1answer
43 views

How to distinguish previous holders of titled administrative positions

When writing about an event that occurred in the recent past, how should one refer to people who held well-established positions for a short amount of time? For example, if I am writing about a bill ...
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2answers
64 views

Is saying “may have” incorrect?

I believe I've heard that might is the past tense of may. So you should say might have never may have.
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3answers
221 views

Why is past tense of ‘love’ used in: “I thought you loved me”?

I am confused by the past tense used in the following sentence I thought you loved me. Why is it loved here? Does this mean that you expected someone to love you, but it turned out to not be the ...
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0answers
38 views

Past perfect progressive/continuous tense in the passive voice [duplicate]

Here's the hypothetical situation ... Our CEO (Joe) was coming to visit our office from out of town, and he wanted to see a report that we had been preparing for him. At the time of his visit, ...
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3answers
43 views

Why does the Past Tense not include Past Participles?

If I say, "The cat ate the fish," then that's in the active voice and the past simple tense (I think). If, however, I say, "The fish was eaten by the cat," then that's in the passive voice, but I ...
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1answer
50 views

Does “there's more to come” require a past tense after it? [closed]

I wrote the following phrase: There's more to come once this pull request get merged (a pull request is something that can be merged) I saw on various places people using There's more to come ...
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1answer
13k views

past/present tense when telling a story in spoken English

I've noticed that, in daily conversations, when people are telling stories in the past, they often shift the tense back and forth between the past and the present - even they're native speakers. For ...
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2answers
92 views

The Use of the Present Perfect. What is natural?

Sometimes, I got really confused by the use of the Present Perfect tense. Given the fact, that we don't have this structure in Russian, all we can is to base our knowledge on grammar rules. The ...
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1answer
38 views

Had been working or had worked [duplicate]

I'm trying to figure out what to choose between Past Perfect Simple and Past Perfect Continuous in the following sentence: Mr Georgiou had been working/had worked for the company for twenty years ...
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3answers
89 views

When is “loved” a past participle and when is it simple past?

Some one asked this question: He is loved. This is something that I've always kind of wondered. In a sentence like this, is loved a verb or an adjective? Can it be considered either? The simple ...
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1answer
46 views

Participle Clause - past particple

As I hadn't finished my assignment, I was very anxious. = Not having/Having not finished my assignment, I was very anxious. Consider changing the sentence: Not finished my assignment, I ...
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9answers
4k views

I sightsaw London. Is this correct?

I want to ask if the following phrase is correct: I sightsaw London/the museum.