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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6
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3answers
659 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", ...
6
votes
3answers
706 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
8k 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
votes
2answers
24k 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
votes
2answers
1k 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
3answers
300 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
votes
6answers
574 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?
5
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
642 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
3answers
435 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
769 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
583 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
votes
3answers
1k views

“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
votes
1answer
309 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
1answer
560 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
159 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
373 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
21k 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.
4
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
8answers
618 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
625 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
votes
3answers
767 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
votes
3answers
1k 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
5k 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
6answers
960 views

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
1answer
2k 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
408 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?
4
votes
3answers
335 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?
4
votes
4answers
143 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
821 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
2k 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
votes
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
votes
4answers
366 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
549 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
355 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.
4
votes
1answer
3k 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
839 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
4k 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
6k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
97 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?
4
votes
2answers
224 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
183 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
4answers
8k views

“If I didn't have” vs. “if I hadn't had”

Can someone please tell me if these sentences are correct? I prefer number one. Here I am trying to talk about a past condition that didn't actually happen because the person had the example sentences ...
4
votes
2answers
252 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

Should “The history of X” be followed by “began” or “begins”?

This BBC page states The history of life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago... Similarly, this one states The history of Canterbury's religious significance began with the Romans... ...
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
4k views

“understand” or “understood”?

When I explain something to my friend and I want to make sure they got what I said, what should I say? "Do you understand?" "Did you understand?" "Have you understood?" etc.
4
votes
2answers
700 views

could versus be able

Let me start by saying what is written in grammar books on this issue and after that I will put my question. (Take heed that this usage of "could" ONLY refers to the past and ONLY to affirmative ...