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

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0
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2answers
40 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
0
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2answers
52 views

Which tense is (more) correct in this sentence, the present perfect or past simple?

The sentence is: "These investigations have seen several officials arrested." I'm not sure which tense I should use, the present perfect here seems more natural to me but I can't seem to find a rule ...
0
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3answers
388 views

I didn't hear what you've said

Is the sentence I didn't hear what you've (just) said a natural one? Some tell me that it's unnatural, but not ungrammatical. Others tell me that it's all right. I'm puzzled. What do you think? ...
2
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2answers
94 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 ...
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2answers
43 views

asked + lived/lives

I asked where he lives/lived. I'm confused between lives or lived. Some say only lived can be used while others say both lived and lives can be used.
0
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2answers
49 views

Present or Past?

In this sentence: "It might be relaxing if you read a book" - why is the verb 'read' in past tense? Why isn't the verb 'read' in past tense with this example: "Why not read a book?" I'm just trying ...
1
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1answer
40 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 ...
0
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2answers
261 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
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2answers
97 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
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3answers
275 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 ...
0
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2answers
64 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 ...
0
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0answers
16 views

past and present tense and eliminating commas

For example, "It's a story about how Tim and John can't pay their mortgage, [and so, wind up], spending thousands of dollars to loan sharks." Can you have this sentence without the bracketed clause?
27
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4answers
14k views

“Cancelled” or “Canceled”?

Cancelled or Canceled ? Which one is right? You have successfully canceled the registration or You have successfully cancelled the registration
2
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2answers
17k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
65 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
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2answers
70 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 ...
0
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2answers
60 views

The ambulance is on its way. There's been an accident?

Why hasn't the simple past been used rather than the present perfect in this sentence ''The ambulance is on its way to Beck's house. There's been an accident'' Why not: ''there was an accident'' It ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Is the question “If you didn't break the vase, who did?” a conditional sentence?

My problem is that I was taught (I think wrongly) that whenever a conditional sentence refers to past, there should be past perfect tense in the if clause, as in example 1. Example 1: If you ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

I'd been sent to kill him / I was sent to kill him. etc..?

When do I use had and when can I leave out had? or use was instead of had This is the context it was used in: With the Reds and the Germans knocking seven shades of shit each other back at Museum ...
1
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2answers
210 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
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2answers
52 views

Is “I shut up” proper english grammar [closed]

So I saw that "shutted" isn't an English word, but "I shut up" doesn't sound proper. If you were to tell someone "I shut up", talking in past tense, would that be proper?
5
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3answers
335 views

It was dark by now [duplicate]

Does the following sentence make any sense? "It was dark by now, and I realized that it was time to [...]," If it was an occurrence in the past, then wouldn't referencing it as "now" be ...
0
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1answer
1k views

How can I say I regret something in the past tense?

How to say you should do something in the past but you did not. Is this a correct usage? I had to finish my homework. Are there any soft versions?
0
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0answers
8 views

Using past tense for retelling events, even though the logic behind the decisions made is still valid [duplicate]

This is related to this question about using past tense when speaking of something that was observed in the past, but you know it still is the same. What if you're talking about a generally held ...
14
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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 / ...
0
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2answers
47 views

Which tense to describe the analysis on a dataset? [closed]

It is normal to analyze a dataset in a paper. I am not sure when to use present/past tense to describe how you analyze the data and what your results are. Here I use a short example text to illustrate ...
3
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2answers
1k views

“They knew what mercy is” vs. “they knew what mercy was”

They knew what mercy is. They knew what mercy was. Mercy is something that always exists so can I say is as in the quoted example?
1
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1answer
85 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
128 views

Begun or began? [closed]

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.
8
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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 ...
-2
votes
3answers
53 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
82 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
vote
1answer
175 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
53 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.
3
votes
2answers
221 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
100 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
78 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
273 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
23k 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
92 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
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3answers
144 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
211 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
482 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
167 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
20k 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
68 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
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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
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2answers
45 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