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

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4
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2answers
284 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 ...
1
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2answers
73 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 ...
0
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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.
0
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2answers
120 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 ...
0
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2answers
174 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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2answers
551 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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1answer
64 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 ...
1
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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 ...
1
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1answer
296 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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1answer
950 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 ...
1
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1answer
245 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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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 ...
0
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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 ...
0
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1answer
108 views

Must + present perfect in a narration about past events

As far as I understand, the construction must + present perfect is used to make presumptions about past events with the connection to the present: Look, somebody must've been here - the stove is ...
-1
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1answer
61 views

Should you use past or present tense in a sentence if it ends in something like in olden and modern times?

Large amounts of gold weren’t worth much and merely had to be gotten ridden of in olden times like in modern times.' OR Large amounts of gold aren't worth much and merely have to be gotten rid of ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

Past Continuous or Past Perfect Continuous in this case?

Which one is correct? Her friends had thought of calling the police when she came in. Her friends had thought to call the police when she came in. Her friends had been thinking of calling ...
-1
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1answer
49 views

SAT Writing Question

Upon considering the facts of the case; he quickly made a decision and sent the police. A. When he considered B. Considering C. Upon Considering D. When Considering Hello everyone, I ...
-1
votes
1answer
86 views

Using of tenses!

This year two Spanish novelists (have been awarded) or (were awarded) I have had an argument about this, I have chosen have been awarded but my friend says that Nobel is once a year, that's why ...
-1
votes
1answer
102 views

The future as reported in the past

Is (1) correct, or must it be written as (2)? John told me yesterday that this contract will not be renewed when it ends next month. John told me yesterday that this contract would not be ...
-5
votes
1answer
122 views

Using knock and knocking

For a Halloween event, I dressed up as a student, knocked on my teacher's doors, and received extra homework. Can this sentence be rewritten using knocking? Is the following grammatically ...
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0answers
20 views

“and you received this” or “and you have received this”

For me following sounds better: Wrong password entered. If you are sure the password is correct and you received this file as an e-mail attachment, please first save the file locally. ...but ...
1
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0answers
58 views

“It's (high) time” vs. other uses of the past subjunctive

The most common usage of the past subjunctive is in counterfactual if statements: If I were you, I would eat more vegetables. Additionally, statements starting with "it's (high) time" are also ...
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0answers
191 views

verb +ed or to be + verb +ed

I don't quite know the explanation to this. When they arrived, they found the door locked from inside. When they arrived, they found the door was locked from inside Locked sounds better than was ...
0
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0answers
30 views

Logic of tense in fiction

In the following sentence, the narrator is telling a story about herself: A few minutes later, still hearing the fall of their hooves, I called out over my shoulder, “Nothing for you, cows. Nothing ...
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0answers
22 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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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 ...
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0answers
35 views

Passive voice. Past Continuous or Present Perfect?

Nothing (was)/(has) ever heard of David. I think that correct answer is "has" because it's result. But in the answer section it's said that correct option is "was". Which one is correct and why? ...
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0answers
26 views

Usage of Past Perfect in “After something…”

I have been doing a couple of SAT and exam writing problems and I have noticed this following trend. Usually you have a couple of sentences like this: "After she had eaten her food she went ...
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0answers
67 views

Is it grammatical to use redundant past tense?

is it grammatically correct to use "have" or "has" before a past tense verb? for example, which is more correct: (1) "Some called for..." vs. (2) "Some have called for..." or similarly, (3) "Some ...
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0answers
76 views

Since we went vs since we have been

Sentence transformation from a PET sample paper: We haven't been to the theatre for a long time. It's a long time since we ........ to the theatre. My solution: went Textbook solution: have ...
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0answers
50 views

Use of past or present tense in references?

Helping a friend with a poorly translated English paper and wondered about this: the source has the writer make reference to documents prepared the 1990s (agreements prepared but never signed by ...
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0answers
41 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: ...
0
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0answers
27 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?
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0answers
335 views

English simple past “did” in an affirmative statement

The English simple past (pretorite) uses did in inversion and in negative sentences. I ate at the restaurant. I did not eat at the restaurant. Did I eat at the restaurant? But is the affirmative ...
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0answers
70 views

Question about about various uses of “to be” and correctness of their usage in my sentence

If I were the man involved, and didn't know my wife was 'pretend', I would be totally crushed when I did find out she was fake. How could I make the above statement correct? If it already is, ...
0
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0answers
621 views

past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form

Method 1: wasn't/weren't + subject + verb(ing) + object? Method 2: was/were + subject + not + verb(ing) + object ? Which method correct in past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form? Or ...