Questions about the Simple Past tense.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

16
votes
2answers
107k views

Is it “quit” or “quitted”?

What is the correct (grammatical) simple past and past participle form of the verb quit? Is it quit or quitted? She quitted her job. (She has quitted her job.) or She quit her job. (She has ...
14
votes
2answers
8k views

Why is it “time we ate” and not “time we eat”?

Why do we use the simple past but not the present or future in the following expressions: Don't you think it's time we went a little further Don't you think it's time we ate Don't you ...
10
votes
5answers
55k views

How to use “text” as a verb

–verb (used without object) Digital Technology. 15. to send a text message: Texting while driving is an accident asking to happen. Can I use: I text to her but she didn't text me back. ...
10
votes
1answer
15k views

Which is correct: “has died” or “died”?

To me, using Present Perfect form means the event can occur again. So, saying someone has died may not be grammatically correct. Also, I noticed (it might be just coincidence): passed away ...
10
votes
1answer
17k views

“Overrode” vs “Overridden”

I got into an argument about the sentence "Have you overrode SomeThingamajig?" I thought that "have overrode" is incorrect, and should be "overrode" or "have overridden", or perhaps "did override". ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is “transferred” written with two R's?

Why is transferred written with two R's? I am a native speaker of Dutch, and in my point of view this isn't logical; there are other words like coloured and endeavoured that only have -ed added after ...
8
votes
2answers
30k views

“Fall”, “fell”, “felled”

How is the causative form of fall used in English? In the present tense, often enough, A tree falls in the woods, but a logger falls trees as well. but in the past tense, A tree fell in the ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Usage question: “I hadn't drank any coffee before I lived in Italy.”

Ok, so as an English teacher, I know that in the present and past perfect tenses, the auxiliary verb have is followed by the past participle form of the verb. Using most verbs, I find that this is ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “forwent” used much?

I see "forgo" used quite a bit, and "forgone" is quite common too. I can't say I've ever seen or heard of "forwent" and in fact, I had to look it up to make sure it even was a word at all. Is it ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

Is it correct to use “got” when expressing the simple past tense in British English?

I'm an American and my daughter is learning British English in school, so when I help her with her homework, I have to know the British rules. She writes: I have got a horse poster. I ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

“Sally broke her leg” vs. “Sally has broken her leg” Does switching the past simple with the present perfect affect its meaning?

Earlier today I had a private lesson with an Italian student—intermediate level, who has been studying the present perfect vs. past simple tense. His teacher had given him an exercise where a list of ...
7
votes
1answer
542 views

Why has “sware” become “swore”, “bare” “bore”, etc?

As far as I know, there are four verbs (swear, bear, tear, and wear) whose simple past forms used to be (archaically) sware, bare, tare, and ware; but are now exclusively swore, bore, tore, and wore. ...
6
votes
6answers
21k views

“Told” vs. “said to” somebody

I told him that you hate him I said to him that you hate him I was choosing between these two options, and I can't help thinking about the subtle differences. For example, "I told him ...
6
votes
2answers
73k views

Can “casted” be the past tense of “cast”?

'The Hindu,' an Indian daily, reports: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely casted his vote at Chimanbhai Patel Institute opposite Karnavati club. Does the verb cast has a form as ...
6
votes
4answers
47k views

“Lept” vs. “leapt” vs. “leaped”

After reading this discussion, I'd like to know what example sentences distinguish the meaning of the words lept, leapt, and leaped from each other?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“He was the first person” vs. “he is the first person”

What is the correct tense to be used when talking about firsts? He was the first person to reach the South Pole. He is the first person to reach the South Pole. The first one seems right, ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

Why is the progressive form used here?

In February 1825 he married Julianne Thiemer, daughter of a property owner and well-established glove-maker in Seesen. Heinrich, a cabinet maker without property, a Beiwohner(boarder), was marrying ...
5
votes
2answers
550 views

Tense used with statistics

I would like to place a statistics in front of the sentence, followed by the agency that has reported it. The findings and reports were done many years ago. Which of the two is correct and why? ...
5
votes
2answers
540 views

“I went to the hotel you were staying at” vs. “you stayed at”

Is there a difference in meaning between these two sentences? I went to the hotel you were staying at when you were in New York. I went to the hotel you stayed  at when you were in New York. ...
4
votes
4answers
48k views

“I have received” vs. “I received”

The option of using simple past vs. present perfect in situations like the following has been bothering me for quite some time. I sent you a letter a few days ago; I was wondering if you have ...
4
votes
2answers
228 views

“Decided to do X the next time she went for a walk” vs. “…the next time she goes for a walk”

I came across this sentence in the book Grammar Essentials for Dummies which confused me. The lion with a thorn in her paw decided to wear sneakers the next time she went for a walk in the jungle. ...
4
votes
2answers
742 views

The habitual past “would” versus “simple past” tense

One can use the habitual past 'would' to describe past events. For example one could say, Jim would spend weekends at the farm. He would cut weed and water the plants. One can also use the ...
4
votes
2answers
451 views

Can “earlier this year” be used in the present perfect?

Is "earlier this year" a specific time reference? i.e. Can you say (A) is definitely wrong and (B) is right? (A) Earlier this year, ABC, Inc., has conducted a survey. (B) Earlier this year, ABC, ...
4
votes
2answers
735 views

Past simple or present perfect? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect for past action with present effect Is this sentence correct? What exactly does it mean? Person 1: Where did you hide my keys? Person 2: I put ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

Why don’t people ever say “I have wanted to ask”?

Why do people never say the following: I have wanted to ask. . . . Maybe it would be better to ask whether it’s correct to say: I have wanted to ask. . . . But really I think I’ve never ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why present perfect in “How many points have you scored this season”?

Normally we use the past simple instead of present perfect when an action happened at a specific time in the past and is not linked with the present. Why is this sentence grammatically correct? ...
3
votes
4answers
584 views

Past tense of “to cast” in the programming sense

In programming, to cast (also: to typecast) means to convert an object from one type to another (see Wikipedia). I'd like to know the correct past tense of to cast in this sense. Is it cast or ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“Sought” vs. “searched”

Can sought and searched be used interchangeably? As in "we searched for an article" versus "we sought an article". (Or if I got those two examples wrong, but there are correct examples where sought ...
3
votes
1answer
17k views

Which is better: “was dead” / “died” / “has passed away” in my case? [duplicate]

I came across a question in Chinese@SE, which is about a status update of someone's cat. I asked the OP in the comment whether the cat was dead at that time: I assume his cat was dead, can you ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

Can “pro rata” be used as a verb? And what should the past tense be?

We are offering prices on some subscriptions which are normally priced for a full year, but allow users to buy only a few months worth. We're calling these pro rata prices and talking about the ...
3
votes
2answers
540 views

Verb agreement for something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present

How do you write something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present? The discussion resulted in the committee members highlighting crucial areas that need to ...
3
votes
4answers
307 views

Where have you been for your last vacation?

I'm about to work at an English Hagwon in Korea. Hagwon is the Korean term for a private language school so unique to this nation only. I received this textbook and on its first page there are some ...
2
votes
3answers
17k views

“I had a dinner” vs. “I was having a dinner”

A friend of mine showed a video on her Facebook wall post. She posted this: I had a dinner with Chinese friends, I was happy at that moment!! Should it be "I was having a dinner" instead of "I ...
2
votes
2answers
21k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

“I knew him for…” or “I had known him for…”?

I'm writing a short story, and I'm unsure about the right tense to use. The first two sentences are: I knew Mr. Brown for exactly 15 minutes. He had met me at the entrance and was now ...
2
votes
6answers
1k views

“Didn't want to do X until Y happened” vs. “hadn't wanted to do X until Y happened”

Which answer is correct? Tony _______to have children until his little daughter was born. After she won his heart, he decided he wanted a big family. A. didn't want. B. hadn't wanted. ...
2
votes
3answers
895 views

Past continuous or past simple?

In this sentence, should I use past continuous form of the verb or past simple or it in the gap? Last night, I was sleeping in my bed, when I ------- (hear) a terrible noise. I ------ (get up) ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

The pronunciation of “ate”

I was talking to some friends and I said "I ate (/et/) chocolate yesterday...". Then my friend corrected me: "you ate (/eit/) chocolate...". I repeated my sentence with the /eit/ pronunciation and we ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

“U.S. stocks were modestly higher at the opening bell Wednesday” vs. “… are higher …”

Here's a news heading from CNN: U.S. stocks were modestly higher at the opening bell Wednesday as political wrangling over the fiscal cliff continues to dominate the market. The author used ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Past Perfect vs. Present Perfect

I am a new member on this site. So please guide me somewhere else if I post anything incorrect. I have been working on these two sentence corrections that ask about Present Perfect, Past Perfect and ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Past simple vs present perfect in this example

Could you explain to me please what is the difference between these. It is meant to express that I will let him know AFTER I picked/have picked a car. I'll let you know which one I picked ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

Present perfect or past simple - “the best movie I (saw/'ve seen) this year”

I know the rule is to use past simple when you specify the time when the described action happened, but I strangely dislike this sentence and I'm not sure if the rule applies: "It's the best movie I ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“He was telling me that he is going…” vs. “He told me that he is going…”

Is it right to say He was telling me that he will go on a vacation next week. while recounting your experience? Even though "he told me that he is going..." seems more appropriate, I would still ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Past Perfect vs. Simple Past Usage

I've been brushing up on the past perfect tense recently, and after reading the following sentence on a website, I feel like it's missing a key element: "Many progressives, who thought well of ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Past Perfect Confusion

In a book these two forms are acceptable: Before a complete version of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women appeared in 1880, the book had been published in two separate volumes. AND ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

“He was drinking coffee and left the cafe . . .” Why does this sound wrong?

I'm trying to find mistakes in this sentence and even the corrected versions do not sound grammatically correct. Original sentence: He was drinking coffee and left the café to catch his bus. ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

“While” followed by simple past/past continuous

I'm currently reading "Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue" by Hugh Howey. Here's a short passage with my problem zone and the subsequent question: ...Well, I'm going to go do more Officser ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

'have been' vs. 'went' with time words

Sometimes I see the following in ESL learners' writing: I have been to America two years ago. Am I correct in saying that it should be: I have been to America. I went to America two ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Questions in indirect speech and verb tense change

Today I had another English lesson and all students were instructed by teacher to ask each other few predefined questions and then to report them. I got the following questions: "What kind of ...
2
votes
2answers
700 views

Using modal verb 'could' for simple past

If I form a sentence like: I could read the book if I hadn't wasted my time. Would it be considered a past perfect sentence with the part I could read the book being in simple past for context ...