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

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2answers
69 views

Two past perfect verbs from an Arthur Conan Doyle story

I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. Why are there two past perfect verbs in this entene? Is it the same as saying: I had come to these conclusions before ever ...
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3answers
57 views

I have never understood a word Alice “has said” or “said”

I am not sure about the use of present perfect in the subordinate clause. I want to say I've never understood Alice for as long as I've known her, so should I use the present perfect aspect in the ...
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1answer
36 views

why do we use 'prepared' in a sentence like this [on hold]

The sentence below says something that's yet to happen, but the word prepared is in the past tense. Any suggestions on what to read to understand this will highly be appreciated. Thank you. Always ...
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0answers
29 views

Difference of “I visited / have visited the museum many times when I was a university student.” [on hold]

(a) I visited the museum many times when I was a university student. (b) I have visited the museum many times when I was a university student. What is the difference between (a) and (b)?
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2answers
170 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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2answers
30 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
39 views

using if for past event

Which one is grammatically correct? Situation: I already bought coffee. 1) I told myself I'd buy coffee if I find my book. 2) I told myself I'd buy coffee if I found my book. Thanks.
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2answers
72 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 ...
2
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0answers
25 views

“I love” versus “I've loved” usage [migrated]

Which quote is proper? "I believe in love at first sight because I've loved my mom since I opened my eyes." or "I believe in love at first sight because I love my mom since I opened my ...
4
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1answer
40 views

I didn't phone Peter this morning / I haven't phoned Peter this morning

Example: I'm calling Peter at work at 9:00 this morning. He isn't answering, and the only way for me to call him is at work. At 10:00 in the morning, I finish my work, as usual. I leave my business ...
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0answers
20 views

'The thing is done with' tense

In need some help describing this writing style: A procedure can be written as "The bowl is washed with water, then....." or "The bowl was washed with water, then...." The second version is third ...
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1answer
63 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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2answers
13k views

Why do people sometimes use the past perfect form of a verb when the past would suffice? (e.g. “you had mentioned”)

I noticed that my American friends tend to use the past perfect form when they use the verb mention in its past form, almost despite of the context of the sentence. I hear them say "you had ...
4
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4answers
67 views

Can the present tense be used in the past tense to refer to something that always happens or to something that hasn't happened yet? [duplicate]

I'm new here so please excuse me if this question's already been asked, I just couldn't seem to find it anywhere. What I want to know is, can the present tense be used in the past tense? Let's say ...
1
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1answer
934 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
23 views

Why past perfect and not simple past was used in this case? [duplicate]

I'm watching "World War 2" show and narrator said: This was fertile ground for a new breed of rabble rousing right wing politicians. Among them Adolf Hitler. Hitler HAD BEEN born in Austria. He HAD ...
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1answer
62 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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1answer
43 views

expressing uncertainty in the past: “could be” vs. “would have been”

Yesterday I wrote the below snippet in an email, but looking at it again it doesn't sound right: Last term I did way too much teaching related stuff (my fault, didn’t really know how much time ...
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6answers
7k views

“I have never said” versus “I never said”

I have never said this. I never said this. Is the usage of have in the first sentence justified or grammatically correct? What is the difference in meaning? When should I use one form over ...
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0answers
31 views

Had been or was? [migrated]

Can anyone please help me here? Please, don't vote negatively, I just wish to get an answer for this, thank you. Ok everyone, so which one is correct and why? "Beckham hasn't had an injury in 3 ...
3
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1answer
57 views

Can I use a noun phrase with “after” or “before” to talk about specific past events or “past perfect” is required?

I know that gerunds can be used with before or after in the present tense when talking about facts: I always turn off the lights before going to bed. But can I use a gerund with "after" or ...
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2answers
70 views
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2answers
119 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 ...
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2answers
43 views

When describing my personal opinions, should I use “one thing I was sure”, “was that” or “is that”? [closed]

When describing my personal thoughts back in a few years ago. Should I use: One thing I was sure though, is that ... or One thing I was sure though, was that ... To me, it sounds more correct ...
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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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1answer
41 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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3answers
46 views

Verbs whose simple past tense can be used as continuous [closed]

I was wondering whether there are any verbs whose past tense could be used as a continuous verb like "head." Is "head" the only verb whose past tense can be used as a present continuous verb? I ...
4
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2answers
280 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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1answer
14k 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
11k views

“Became” vs “become”

I'm not sure about the verb tense I should use here: Run this definition so that the previous changes become/became visible. I think the correct one is Present Simple but it sounds better with ...
0
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2answers
545 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 ...
0
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1answer
35 views

The sun has shined/shone its shine? [duplicate]

I'm working on some lyrics here, and I'm not sure what would be correct/best: After the sun has shined its shine After the sun has shone its shine Google returns more results for the ...
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4answers
137 views

Do we use the present or the past after “when” in a conditional sentence?

He said we would get married when we get older. or He said we would get married when we got older. Which tense of the verb get should be used?
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1answer
299 views

What tense should be used when present/past perfect is used?

Here is my sentence of which I am having some troubles ascertaining the grammatical correctness: I think that Rachel has told Brady that Bert would admit to the judge what he has taught about ...
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1answer
37 views

Do I need Past perfect tense when the order of verbs is from first to last?

I am learning about the past perfect tense and I'm beginning to think that the tense is never really required for the sentence to be grammatical. It is mainly a tense to help clarify the order of the ...
3
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1answer
77 views

Why are there many internet grammar lesson examples using past perfect with “before” but not with “after”? [closed]

I know that I have to use past perfect when using before. I had eaten before I swam. But why don't I need to use past perfect with after? I swam after I ate. Thank you guys for the ...
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2answers
53 views

how do we use past perfect tense? [closed]

I have a bit of confusion regarding the use of past perfect tense. I read it in a grammar book that we use past perfect tense when we are describing an action before an action in the past. I read the ...
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3answers
7k 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 / ...
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1answer
46 views

Which is better: “related more” or “was more related”

It actually related more to his genetics than his behavior. or It actually was more related to his genetics than his behavior.
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2answers
53 views

Do you ever use 'is' in a past tense narrative?

It's a story written in the past tense, but once I named the characters I found myself saying 'is' instead of 'was' and couldn't decide if it was right or wrong. IS: Mom loved our movie nights ...
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3answers
75 views

How to say “I had cleaned at home”? [closed]

I can't find a similar sentence in Google. I'm trying to say that I already have done cleaning in my apartments and in the process of it I ... etc. Is "A couple months ago, we had cleaned at the ...
0
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1answer
171 views

“ Did you were at home ? ” or “Were you at home ?” [closed]

I don't know when I should use "Did you were..." and when I should use "Were you...". For example, Why do we say: "Were you at home last night?" but not "Did you were at home last night?"
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2answers
389 views

Can the 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". It was used to say what the subject would do for some time after college. However, almost ...
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0answers
34 views

If you have a sentence that implies that something happened in the past, do you talk about it in past tense if it is an event in a book?

I don't know whether the title is clear or not, so I'll try to give an adequate example: From these brief references in the Lord of the Rings, you can picture what Middle-earth is like before he ...
2
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1answer
62 views

Past Perfect - Which one is right?

Which variation of this sentence is correct? The meeting had gone on for hours and finished ten minutes ago when the partners left. The meeting had gone on for hours and had finished ten minutes ...
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6answers
13k 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 ...
5
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1answer
319 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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8answers
760 views

Differentiate between past and present just by pronunciation when word is followed by d- or similiar sound

How can we distinguish, for example, these two sentences just by listening to the pronunciation? They first kill the trees. They first killed the trees. When pronouncing kill the trees, ...
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1answer
30 views

Present perfect or past simple another situation

A couple days ago I stumbled upon a sentence that I couldn't get my head around. In the sentence: I have read all of the author's books; Gregor gave me the first book of the series. I know it ...
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2answers
54 views

Present perfect or past simple why

A couple days ago I stumbled upon a sentence that I couldn't get my head around. In the sentence: I have read all of his books, Gregor gave me the first book. I know it sounds wrong if you say: ...