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

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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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2answers
42 views

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
101 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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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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2answers
63 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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2answers
736 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
96 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 past ...
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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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1answer
36 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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1answer
382 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 ...
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1answer
258 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 ...
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1answer
19 views

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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1answer
62 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
94 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
175 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 ...
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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
55 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 was ...
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1answer
74 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 ...
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1answer
45 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 ...
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1answer
52 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 just ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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1answer
128 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
143 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 correct ...
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0answers
36 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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0answers
72 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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0answers
23 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 ...
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560 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 ...
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19 views

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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“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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54 views

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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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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0answers
37 views

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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0answers
52 views

Survey Design: Past Tense vs. Present Tense

This seems silly, but I can't make up my mind. When asking survey participants to rate their attitude(s) about a past experience, should the statement be in past or present tense? For example, ...
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28 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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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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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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26 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
47 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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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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34 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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136 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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125 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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73 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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66 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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479 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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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, then ...
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782 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 ...