Non-native speaker here, I'm confused with the usage of past tense in English.

For example when someone say 'World War 3 didn't happen', why the word 'did' is used here? In my understanding, past tense is used to describe things that happened in the past.

Another example would be 'I almost bought that game', why do we need to use the word 'bought' instead of 'buy'?

Any response will be appreciated and apologize for bad english.

  • Just about any tense can be used, given some context. – AmE speaker Apr 29 '18 at 18:38

"World War 3 did not happen" presumably refers to occasions in the past when people feared that it might happen, but it didn't. We could also say "It has not happened yet."

"I almost bought that game" means that, when you were in the shop (or otherwise contemplating a purchase) at some moment in the past, you were tempted but decided against it. That is, the possibility of buying it was in the past.

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