A set of forms taken by a verb to indicate the time and/or completeness and continuance of the action in relation to the time of the utterance.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
3answers
379 views

Breaking or break the habit

Which of these sentences is grammatically correct? Imagining the ill effects of smoking led him to ultimately break the habit. Imagining the ill effects of smoking led him to ultimately breaking the ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

How to correctly use the present perfect tense

This link states that: When you use the present perfect tense you have to be talking about a period of time that you still consider to be going on. For example, if it’s still morning, you can say, ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“Yes, I thought it was very good.” Why “thought”?

Here is a sentence from "Essential Grammar in Use" book by Raymond Murphy: Did you enjoy the film ? Yes, I thought it was very good. The correct answer in key section is "thought", but why not ...
7
votes
1answer
472 views

Tagged question and perfect tense

I've just passed one of numerous English grammar online tests. And I agree with all the mistakes I've made except this one: You ______ put it back before the boss comes ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What tense to use for a dead person's permanent contributions?

Which one is correct: Edison was the inventor of the light bulb. Edison is the inventor of the light bulb. When writing or speaking about Edison, it's correct to state that "he was an inventor", ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What's with the passive present perfect progressive? [duplicate]

I was taught that we made passive voice using be + the participle of the main verb, without changing the verb tense. E.g., I send letters. (present simple) Letters are sent. (present simple ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

Is the use of future tense (especially “will” and “shall”) going out of grammar?

My English teacher taught us that there is no such thing called "future tense" in existence. Instead we were asked to use present indefinite tense. He said that we should use "I am to go to London" ...
6
votes
3answers
31k views

“Being ran”, “being runned” or something else? [closed]

The past tense of run is ran. However, you couldn't say something was being "ran" poorly i.e. the business was ran poorly. However, saying "runned" would be wrong as well. What would be the word to ...
6
votes
3answers
330 views

Tense for an event that is about to occur as the reader reads

I came across this sentence today in a wait screen for a twitter client: Did you know that this wait is actually Twitter's fault, not ours? Is "Did" correct usage in this case? I didn't know it ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true

I'm describing a situation that happened in the past. To explain it, I want to use a description that is both true now and true when the situation happened. Specifically, I want something like: ...
6
votes
2answers
566 views

Children will be children vs Children are children

Children will be children. They always have been noisy. Why use future tense in the first sentence and present prefect tense in the second sentence? If it's same meaning to "Children are children. ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

What (grammatical) tense to use when doing reference in a paper?

For example, A published a paper with title B in 2000. Then, in my paper: A says / said that [C works / worked out perfectly]. and B illustrates / illustrated that [C works / worked out ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Can the verb “wish + that clause” express open possibility?

We often use "wish + that clause" to express a past/present counterfactual statement or a future unlikely event (i.e. remote possibility): I wish I hadn't quit my job. (But I quit my job.) I ...
6
votes
4answers
72k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

“I had John return the video”: why do we use “return” instead of “returns” or “returned”?

I had John return the video for me. In this sentence, why do we use return and not returns or returned?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Question about the future “tense”

My daughter, who is in the 4th grade, was asked to answer questions about the following sentence: What time can you meet us at the school on Tuesday? She was asked questions about the usage of ...
6
votes
2answers
56k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
61k 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?
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Should computer game screens show “you lose” or “you lost”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “I win” instead of “I won”? My friend and I are designing the "game over" screen for a game we are developing, and I'm thinking of putting ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Which verb tense is used in OR compound objects?

For example: We always get work done, regardless of what mood Bill or I is/am/are in. Which tense of 'be' would be used here?
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Works as expected vs. is working as expected

Which one of these is the correct one? The registers testcase checks that the module's register interface works as expected. The registers testcase checks that the module's register interface is ...
6
votes
2answers
686 views

Narrative tenses (for things that haven't happened yet)

I learn that when we are telling a story, we should use past tense. What if in our story there's an event that will happen after the story being told? For example, in the following sentence: ...
6
votes
2answers
318k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Highlit vs Highlighted, Lit vs Lighted

Most dictionaries seem to indicate that highlighted is the past tense for highlight, rather than highlit. However, we use lit as the past tense for light without reservation, with lighted appearing ...
6
votes
3answers
485 views

Is the concept of “backshifted past tense” in reported speech applicable to other types of subordinate clauses?

BACKGROUND Cambridge Grammar of the English Language has this portion regarding backshift on page 154: Backsift not confined to indirect reported speech We introduced a concept of a ...
6
votes
3answers
781 views

If I don't know an action is completed, which past tense do I use?

I'm reading "English Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy, and I have a question about the Present Perfect and Past Simple. Here's the example from the book: They've gone away. They'll be back ...
6
votes
1answer
507 views

Changing person and tense in a quote

I'm reading Cranford (1853) by Elizabeth Gaskell, and encountered the following passage: "Have you seen any numbers of Pickwick Papers?" said [Captain Brown]. (They were then publishing in parts.) ...
6
votes
1answer
70 views

When constructing a hypothetical sentence, do I have to keep all the tenses in the past?

If I bought that book, it would be so I had something to give to you on your birthday. Now, as far as i know, in hypothetical sentences, you have to backshift all tenses one step to the past. So: ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

“If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be…” What does this mean?

I'm translating a book, which involves logic and quoted the sentence from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Present simple on temporary action

Mary is sleeping in the living room while we redecorate her room. Why is the present simple "redecorate" used? Present simple is used when there's something permanent, but they don't want to ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

“Have got” — verb form and tense

In the following sentence, what is the main verb and in what tense does it occur? I have got a car. There are two possible explanations that I can think of: get as the main verb in the present ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

I will (have the package sent) vs (have sent the package) by next week

I'm aware that: I will have the package sent by next week is correct. But what about: I will have sent the package by next week Is it completely wrong to say it or is there some ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Present perfect for past action with present effect

If I seem tired, can I say: "I haven't slept last night"? If not, why have I been told that we use present perfect for actions that have present effects?
5
votes
2answers
16k views

Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'?

Following Martha's advice I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Let's put what I said / wrote something in the past. And now I want to elaborate some key points ...
5
votes
4answers
891 views

How do I say “now it holds” in past tense?

I'm writing a short story, and came across a weird grammar issue. Here's a simplified snippet: The holding cell was spacious, originally intended to hold a dozen prisoners. But now it held a ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

“… is about to …” vs. “… is going to …”

I found that is about to is used in the following sentence of the news article titled “Tech belt sees hiring surge” in The Boston Globe. “The company is about to go on a hiring spree, from ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

Tenses after “as if”

"I'll always remember this rule as if I had just learned it" Do you consider this sentence grammatically correct? The main clause refers to the future, so I guess that the Past Simple would ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

When can “have” be used without “got”?

I read this article and now I'm confused when got can be omitted when using have. Could this be explained in plain English without technical terms? Is there a different usage in past tense?
5
votes
4answers
15k views

“Is” or “was” written by?

We usually speak of the events of a work of fiction in present tense, even though they may clearly have happened in the past: "Macbeth hallucinates a dagger floating before him." This is because the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Do I use “argued” or “argues”? Past or Present? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What (grammatical) tense to use when doing reference in a paper? Should I use present or past tense when referring to a (scientific) paper? “has been raised” or “was ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Past tense or present tense to describe something that happened in the past but is still true?

For example: "Last week, I found out that NASA stands for 'National Aeronautics and Space Administration.'" or "Last week, I found out that NASA stood for 'National Aeronautics and Space ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Correct verb tense to use when referring to a law effective in the past

What is the correct tense to use when I'm referring to something which was in effect in the past, like a law or an act, but which now is not. Which of the following is better? The Statute of Anne ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“The author wrote” vs. “the author writes”

What is the rule for the following examples? In the passage, the author writes. . . . In the passage, the author wrote. . . . I’m trying to explain to my son that both are correct, but I can’t ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

“My ear hurts” Or “My ear is hurting”

Which tense is best suited to describe sickness and pain? In the example below, what are the differences between the two usages? Which one sounds more natural? My ear hurts My ear is hurting ...
5
votes
4answers
523 views

New way of understanding the present perfect tense

I've always struggled with the present perfect tense, as probably many non-native speakers do. The way I learnt the perfect tense in school always involved these so-called signal words that one had to ...
5
votes
3answers
17k views

Would have done

Please read the following passage. I will post my question at the end of it. Here is the passage: At home I locked myself in. Jason, my lawyer and lyn sent texts simultaneously at the point the ...
5
votes
3answers
15k views

“Manifest” vs. “manifested”

Which of the following is correct? This idea is manifest in two influential theories. This idea is manifested in two influential theories. What I want to say is that there is a common idea ...
5
votes
2answers
457 views

“If the bowl had been stronger, my song had been longer.”

In the original version of the nursery rhyme, The Wise Men of Gotham, the word 'had' is used in the main clause of a sentence where it seems modern English would commonly use 'would have'. The full ...
5
votes
5answers
116 views

Are the tenses used in the sentence correct?

From http://dilbert.com/strip/2015-07-31: I'm going to call you Carlos from now on. And it would help if you grew a beard and walked with a limp. Shouldn't it be grow a beard and walk with a ...
5
votes
2answers
706 views

Using past tense when referencing a still-true fact [duplicate]

In the sentence: "I didn't know she had a son," Can I say "I didn't know she has a son" instead, because he is a teenager now? Or are both correct?