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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How do the tenses and aspects in English correspond temporally to one another?

Non-native speakers often get confused about what the various tenses and aspects mean in English. With input from some of the folk here I've put together a diagram that I hope will provide some ...
12
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1answer
28k 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 ...
12
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5answers
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“He didn't know where New Jersey was”

I know the past tense carries the past tense in every dependent clause, but referring specifically to places or to things that are eternal, like the Earth, seems a bit weird and therefore we sometimes ...
5
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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?
94
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11answers
70k views

How many tenses are there in English?

Do we have 16 tenses in English? With future present past future in the past in these forms simple continuous perfect perfect continuous Can we manipulate these together to create English ...
41
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6answers
100k views

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context?
6
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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: ...
2
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2answers
4k views

Why do we use the base form of verbs instead of the past form in past tense questions?

In regard to this answer, my question is similar but that answer is not clear. I want to know why we use base form of verb, e.g. 'go' to form the past tense instead of past form such as 'went'? ...
8
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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, ...
6
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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 ...
7
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8answers
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“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 ...
28
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5answers
10k views

Is it acceptable to use “is become” instead of “has become”?

In the King James version of the Bible there is a verse like this: The Lord is my strength, and my fortress, and my song. And He is become my salvation. Is it still feasible to use "is become" ...
15
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5answers
16k views

Future tense in conditional clauses

All the textbooks I have ever come across during the course of my studying English emphasize that future tense should not be used in conditional clauses. For example, If it rains in the evening, ...
2
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2answers
6k views

“I have to” vs. “I must”

When would you use the following? I have to go the market. I must go to the market. I need to go to the market. If I replace 'have' with 'had' would you have any other way to say it? E.g. I had to ...
6
votes
4answers
11k 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
778 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?
23
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2answers
1k views

Whose tense is it, anyway?

I have questions which perhaps should be posted to Linguistics.SE; but since my primary concern is to discover what terminology in discussing English grammar and usage on ELU (and in similar contexts),...
8
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2answers
76k 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 time....
14
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5answers
39k views

Why is the past tense used in “I was wondering if you would like to come for dinner?”

Why isn't the present tense used? I am wondering if you would like to come for dinner.
4
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3answers
442 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.
11
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5answers
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Version control messages: what tense?

In software engineering we use version control systems. Every time we check in modifications we usually leave a message with a summary of change. The question for me has always been: what is the most ...
10
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6answers
10k views

Is it correct to say “What was your name?”?

Is it correct to say "What was your name?"? The reason I am asking this is, generally the name of the person will not change. One should say "What is your name?" http://variationsonnormal.com/2010/...
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 ...
2
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3answers
4k views

When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past? [duplicate]

I've finished my work. I finished my work. When do I use one or the other?
11
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8answers
69k views

“Forgot” vs “Forget”

Is the following correct, or is there more to it? "I forgot his name" — I knew his name, but I forgot it. "I forget his name" — I keep forgetting his name. Where using "forget" basically means that ...
3
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5answers
40k views

“Will graduate” vs. “will be graduated” vs. “is going to graduate”

Which of the following sentences are correct? He will graduate in May. He will be graduated in May. He is going to graduate in May. Issue 1: Is the second one grammatical? Issue 2: ...
20
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3answers
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When did periphrastic tenses stop being tenses?

English sometimes has several different ways of expressing the same thing. For example, it can form a possessive either by using an old case inflection: The dog’s tail was always wagging. Or it ...
15
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3answers
156k views

Simple Past vs. Present Perfect: “was” vs. “has been” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? Which is correct: “has died” or “died”? How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? As a ...
5
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2answers
18k 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 ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Simple past or present perfect? [duplicate]

Which is preferable, simple past or present perfect, in situations like this one: I had a conversation with my friend and we planned to do something; shortly afterwards I call him back to announce the ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “has died for several years” correct?

I know it is correct to say He has been dead for three years. I've learned the present perfect tense, and it's said that non-continuous verbs are allowed. Is this sentence correct as well? ...
7
votes
3answers
4k 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
2answers
65k 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 ...
9
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5answers
27k views

In which cases would you say, “I am seeing” instead of “I see”?

In which cases would you say, "I am seeing" instead of "I see"?
8
votes
2answers
345k 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
3answers
335 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
81k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
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Attempt at formulating verb tenses when time travel is involved?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has an amusing section on the problems associated with verb tenses when time travel is involved. It has several examples which appear to be constructed for their ...
3
votes
1answer
998 views

present tense with past perfect?

I came across something really strange today in class. Because it was an anecdote, the story changed from past to present. Then, in the same sentence, the writer used the past perfect tense with the ...
2
votes
1answer
648 views

“that one consider” or “that one considers”? [duplicate]

I have a question to ask regarding this quote. In the formation of a marketing strategy, it is imperative that one considers the marketing mix, also known as the 4Ps – product, price, place, and ...
4
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
3
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5answers
691 views

Is 'had have + past participle' a correct grammatical form?

It has been suggested in some quarters that had have, followed by a past participle, is a regionalism that has no place in standard English grammar. If I had have known you were coming, I would have ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Is “I just spent all my money” grammatically incorrect? [closed]

Lyircs of Free by Natalia Kills: I'm free I just spent all my money but I rocked that like it don't cost a thing Shouldn't it be "I've just spent all my money"? As far as I remember, ...
-1
votes
1answer
181 views

When is “backshifting” optional?

In reported speech, tenses are generally backshifted. If what was said is still true at the time of reporting then back shifting is optional. My question is, if someone doesn't backshift the tense ...
6
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4answers
12k 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 convey ...
27
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6answers
28k views

Why do we say “I win” instead of “I won”?

For a long time I was wondering why there is I win instead of I won. I met such usage in a lot of games and movies. For me, it's logical to say I won, because this winning action is done already. I ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

“Will have” vs. “Would have”

By the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years. Of course, the "most" correct way of writing this would be: By the end of the year, I will have attended this school for ...
8
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5answers
32k 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 ...
2
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1answer
59k views

where should we use has/have been and had been?

Where should we use "has/have been" and "had been"? What is the difference between them?
11
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4answers
4k views

Why past tense in 'I got this'?

I came across the phrase 'I got this' in an episode of 'How I Met Your Mother'. In the episode, Robin kept saying 'I got this' whenever something came up that needs dealing with. I guess it means '...