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.

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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
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1answer
120 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
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1answer
3k 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
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3answers
836 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Using “will” after “if”

I've been told that native-speakers don't ever use "will" after "if", and that saying it this way is a not-native style. So from the film (Harry Potter, pt5) I noticed a line that confused me. Look ...
5
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4answers
12k views

“will be able to” vs. “can”

Consider the following: He will be able to do it. He can do it. They mean the same thing, right? Can "can" replace "will be able to" in any sentence? What is the difference, if anything? ...
5
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2answers
31k views

When to use “has lived” vs. “lived” vs. “had lived”

Jim has lived there. Jim lived there. Jim had lived there. Are there any differences? When do I use one or the other? I'm trying to teach this to a foreign person and am having a hard ...
5
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8answers
1k views

“I didn't know you liked her” or “I didn't know you like her”

I have a friend who insists that "I didn't know you like her" is more correct than "I didn't know you liked her" if the liking is still taking place. But to my ear, only the latter ...
5
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2answers
2k 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
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3answers
305 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 ...
5
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6answers
659 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?
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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, ...
5
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2answers
711 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
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3answers
533 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
939 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
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3answers
7k 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
1answer
598 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: ...
5
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2answers
281 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 ...
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3answers
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“When we worked together” vs “when we were working together” or can I use “when” with continous tenses?

In one Russian discussion group devoted to ESL, I was advised that using when with continuous tenses is incorrect in English. To be exact, we were discussing how to translate a phrase about one’s ...
5
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1answer
362 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
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1answer
737 views

Is every sentence in a tense?

I know that "tense" indicates time. If that is true, then not every sentence can be indicated of its tense. Please review these sentences: "If I could go to the market , I must have taken breakfast ...
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4answers
197 views

Latin-derived verbs

Are all Latin-derived English verbs regular? For ex. decide, arrive add -ed in their past forms. Are there any specific rules to follow? To spend is irregular: why? Does it depend on when these verbs ...
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2answers
557 views

Should I use the past tense for things that are still the same as before?

I am writing a personal statement for applying to a school, and I have a question about past tense. The following paragraph describes things that happened several years ago: My school is located ...
5
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1answer
388 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.) ...
5
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0answers
4k views

How many tenses are there in English and what are they? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How many tenses are there in English? The number of grammatical tenses in English makes it confusing as to what they are exactly and what types of tenses there are. ...
4
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2answers
23k views

“Has been” vs. “was”

Should one use has been or was in the following sentence, and why? For many years the USA has been a British colony. For many years the USA was a British colony.
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5answers
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If he is still alive today, he…

Suppose Jeff was born on 1/1/1982. He went missing a long time ago. At the present time, he could be either dead or alive, but nobody knows for sure: 1 "If Jeff is still alive today, he is 30 years ...
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4answers
702 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: ...
4
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3answers
842 views

Continuous present tense in the place of simple present tense

Given the following sentence in the continuous present tense. Are you doing your work regularly (or daily)? It is a major source of my confusion. It is very unlikely to have such a tense. ...
4
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3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
321 views

Grammatical structure of a complex sentence

Many things are unclear in the following sentence, and I want your help to understand them: 1. Its grammatical structure is complicated, and I can understand nothing from it. 2. What is the ...
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votes
6answers
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Present Perfect vs Present perfect continuous

Could you correct the comments in parentheses, please? Are they right? I have lived in Los Angeles. (A completed action; the person does not live there anymore). I have lived in Los Angeles ...
4
votes
3answers
449 views

*Joking* used in continuous form

"I'm only joking" and "She wasn't joking". Why is the verb to joke used in the present continuous, instead of the present simple tense? Is it because it's a dynamic verb?
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5answers
391 views

'Am I interpreting' vs 'Do I interpret'?

Am I interpreting the results correctly? Do I interpret the results correctly? Do they have the same meaning? Are both or just one correct?
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4answers
197 views

verb or adjective in “The blue page is *stapled* to the red page”?

Consider the following sentence. The blue page is stapled to the red page. Although "stapled" is (apparently) past-tense, nonetheless the above sentence is clearly expressing something about the ...
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votes
4answers
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“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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
3k 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?
4
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2answers
7k views

What is the difference between “I forgot” and “I had forgot”?

I forgot versus I had forgot. What is the difference between the two phrases?
4
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4answers
382 views

Why no Future Perfect in “At the end of the year there will be an exam on everything you've studied”?

At the end of the year there will be an exam on everything you've studied. I'm just wondering why not use the Future Perfect tense here, as in: At the end of the year there will be an exam ...
4
votes
4answers
588 views

“If” and “would be” when talking about future events

I am watching a basketball game right now, and the team that I am rooting for is losing. I want to say that if they win, that would be something. Which one is the correct way to state it? If Miami ...
4
votes
3answers
370 views

Should we use past tense in “Lugo admitted he is the father”?

In this sentence, should the is be a was? On April 13, 2009, Lugo admitted he is the father of a child conceived with Viviana Carrillo.
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votes
1answer
4k views

“How did you know?” vs. “how do you know?” distinction

When someone makes an assertion, the distinction between "how did you know" and "how do you know" seems to be that "how did you know" implies that the person in question is correct in their assertion. ...
4
votes
2answers
944 views

Why is the historical present tense used so often by sports broadcasters?

When discussing a pivotal event that happened in the past, whether 5 minutes ago or 50 years ago, sportscasters often use the historical present tense. For example, after an error we might hear, "If ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Which tense when talking about books?

Which tense should you use when talking about a book if it is narrated in both the past and present tenses? I am asking this because in To Kill a Mockingbird (Can you underline book titles here?) ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
121 views

Why the word building is used insead of using built?

We used to say the word as building. Generally, we use the gerund form in the present continuous tense. Why are we using the word building when it is already built?
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2answers
569 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 ...