Questions tagged [past-tense]

This tag is for questions related to usage of the past tense in English.

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1answer
43 views

“as early as”, e.g., as early as 2000…?

Which verb tense is used with "as early as"? For example, "As early as 2000, XXX was developed" or "As early as 2000, XXX had been developed"
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1answer
36 views

“something past primary school” vs “something passed primary school”

Not a native speaker. I realized that I don't know which word to use in the following sentence: I have never suffered a broken leg past primary school. Or I have never suffered a broken ...
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33 views

“is increased” or “was increased”

Ok, so I'm confused right now. So basically I'm trying to write a statement that occurs when a condition is applied. Which one is correct? "When the temperature is increased, the production ...
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1answer
52 views

“I saw him run” — Why doesn't this require the past tense of “run”?

In a sentence like, "I saw him run," what is the rule that explains why "run" is in the present tense when "saw" is in the past tense? A similar construction, "She said he swam," requires past tense ...
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1answer
23 views

How do I refer to something that happened in the past, but it was recent at that time?

The sentence is something like this: The program was controversial when it was launched in 2017, mostly due to the (then recent) social climate.
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0answers
36 views

Could/could've eaten more [closed]

I finished my breakfast and said: I could eat more but I don’t Does this mean that I am capable of eating more but I don’t and it’s a regular habit? I could eat more Does this mean that I think I ...
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0answers
35 views

“You answered that one almost before it had finished writing it”

First, I tell you that I'm a beginner. I would like to understand the grammar of this sentence that I read on the internet: You answered that one almost before it had finished writing it. If I'm ...
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0answers
24 views

Can I use the present perfect after the past perfect? [closed]

I had found a link to the video, but "I lost it" or "I've lost it"? Very happy to meet You for the first time In these examples, can I use the present perfect after the past perfect?
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1answer
41 views

“I opened the door. Then, there was a friend standing outside.” correct? [closed]

"I opened the door. Then, there was a friend standing outside." I know how to make the sentence more natural but I was wondering if this particular sentence is grammatically alright.
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37 views

why the simple past tense (instead of past perfect) is used to describe something that happened before another in the past

I know that the past perfect tense is used when an event happened before another in the past. But the following paragraphs (from And the Mountains Echoed) use both past perfect and simple past to ...
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4answers
110 views

Using “once upon a time” in a present tense sentence?

I work in a company that sells simple children's books. A customer complained that the book changes tense randomly, and they're right. This book was created years ago and needs updating to ensure it ...
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1answer
29 views

Using phrases in email to prof (academic)

1. "I hope you are doing well" Will be it polite, if I write it in an email to Proff/start an email with it? He was ill, and we wrote me about it 2. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule ...
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1answer
27 views

Present perfect and reported speech

I would like to understand the following (because Google returns suspiciously low number of records for this form): A: I saw him there. B (joins the conversation): Hey, have you seen John ...
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2answers
65 views

How to discern between 'set' imperative and 'set' past tense?

I have a telegram convention, where whenever an action must be taken, it uses a verb in its name. I then use the imperative for the request and past tense for the reply, e.g.: orderStart to start an ...
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0answers
23 views

Past participle adjective usage in documentation registers

Very often when documenting data I am confronted with the following dilemma: Should I use the past tense or the present tense to describe processes by which the data are defined? E.g. I might say “...
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0answers
19 views

What was/is the name of the person who phoned/had phoned? [duplicate]

What was the name of the person who phoned? I'm wondering what does this question really mean? Does it mean: What is the name of the person who phoned? but why was instead of is? or ...
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1answer
34 views

Talking about feelings of a past event

I am confused about the use of tenses in describing an event in the past. I went to a Funfair and I played several games. (a) My favorite game is Ring toss. I like tossing the rings to the cones. ...
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1answer
21 views

Superlative, present perfect vs past perfect

In the following context, can I have present perfect, or do I need to use past perfect? It was the worst food I've ever eaten / I had ever eaten. Thank you :)
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2answers
30 views

Past participle

Why in this sentence past participle goes without auxiliary verb? The table painted red, the sofa covered with American leather of a reddish colour with little green flowers on it, and the clothes ...
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0answers
45 views

Mixed tenses (present & past) [closed]

I am really upset now, experts. I said there were two acceptable answers to the following, but my superiors said there was only one. Below is the question. I really wanted to talk to him in person, ...
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1answer
27 views

Does “had” necessitate that someone is no longer in possession if something?

The particular usage I'm curious about is "A man had four daughters." As in, he was the father of four girls. Does the usage of "had" necessitate that he no longer has any daughters (e.g. they all ...
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1answer
72 views

What part of speech is “surrounded” in this sentence?

"The cat was surrounded by mice." What part of speech is "surrounded" in this sentence? To me, it seems like the verb "surround" is being used as a past participle in the passive voice... hence, it's ...
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1answer
51 views

Past Perfect usage question

„Boxer Joe Foster had fought over 100 opponents when he retired in 1994.” Why someone used Past Perfect in this senence?
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1answer
28 views

Past perfect usage in the sentence

'When he told me it was finished it felt like all hope from my life had gone – it was overwhelming,' she says. Please help me understand this usage of PP. If we look at the timeline of this sentence ...
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1answer
24 views

Get used to + Be used to [closed]

I'd like to ask what the meaning of these two following sentences is: I am used to smoking I get used to smoking It looks the same to me but what is the reason that we generate verbs by using “get”...
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3answers
54 views

Usage of “in” before were in a sentence from Shoe Dog

Why is 'in' used before was/were in this sentence from the book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight? Some Tuesday nights in the Reserves were set aside for classroom time. It seems like a mistake. Would ...
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0answers
29 views

“I got used to” or “I have got used to” [duplicate]

Here is the sentence - Living in a foreign country isn’t strange to me now. I got used/ I have got used to living in a foreign country Which one is correct and what the difference between them?
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1answer
391 views

I have gone shopping or I went shopping

It says that we use present perfect for actions in the past that have a result now. No matter how much I try to figure out this, sometimes it is pretty hard. I have also read the followings as well, ...
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0answers
15 views

Adjective + the present/past [duplicate]

Would you please consider the following: Riana (WAS/IS) so quick a thinker that she decided to dodge left when the knife was swung to her. My question: Riana is still alive and her being ...
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1answer
34 views

Should I write “I have been teamed up” or “I had been teamed up”

I want to write a past perfect tense sentence with a word "teamed up". Should I write I have been teamed up OR I had been teamed up.
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2answers
125 views

The difference between “would mean” and “would have meant”

"He could not afford to be out of the public eye; it ____ the death of his political career". The answer for this is either "would mean" or "would have meant" can be used. But I'm quite confused ...
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1answer
68 views

Knew, realized + the past/present

Please consider the following: I knew the building (IS/WAS) thirty feet tall. They realized I (AM/WAS) his son. My question: both those clauses contain general truths. So, do I need to use ...
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0answers
83 views

Using 'would' or 'used to' with a time reference in a different sentence

In a test there are such sentences: "When I was little, I shared a bedroom with my sister Catherine. As I was eight years her junior, I obviously (used to go / would go) to bed earlier than her." ...
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1answer
49 views

Is this grammatical? “It is I who was being romantic about tradition” [closed]

I read this in a book and it threw me a little bit. Should it not be "It was I who was being romantic about tradition" as it's talking about the past?
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1answer
42 views

Is the flow of tenses in the sentence proper?

"The fine particles of grief which would flow out from the people he sat and listened to and helplessly tried to comfort, seeped inside him and there they had continued to envelop his heart, letting ...
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1answer
187 views

‘have been’ VS ‘were’

He said with a smile as if he were talking about an old friend. He said with a smile as if he had been talking about an old friend. What the difference between two sentences?
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0answers
40 views

What makes progressive verbs different from atelic, and can a verb be both atelic/telic, and/or progressive?

From what I've been reading about progressive verb forms those types of verbs are more often atelic, but I'm wondering if there are progressive forms that are exceptions to that. Or how can atelic/...
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2answers
396 views

Are there verbs that are neither telic, or atelic?

These examples from wikipedia are shown as tests to find what is telic, or atelic. Fine: "John built a house in a month." Bad: *"John built a house for a month." → built a house is telic Bad: *"...
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2answers
46 views

Is the sentence “While i was traveling i had seen beautiful buildings.” ungrammatical?

Is the sentence “While i was traveling i had seen beautiful buildings.” ungrammatical? I think this sentence is grammatical using past perfect to describe multiple events in past but the answer says ...
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1answer
31 views

Past Continuous Tense vs Past Perfect Continuous Tense

In the following sentences, which of the expressions in bold is correcet? Why is the other one not correct? How does the meaning change with each one? My parents got engaged in 1990. They had ...
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1answer
68 views

Is “helped paved” construction correct? (It's very prevalent—perhaps it's dated?)

I am proofreading a text with the following sentence: "By the time Henry died, he had helped paved the way for the future of economics." If "helped paved" is incorrect (and should be "helped pave" ...
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1answer
76 views

I asked~ but she ' won't '… Why did they say 'won't'?

There is a exercise to practice some usages. Q. I asked Sue what happened, but she doesn't tell / won't tell me A. won't tell I can't understand it. I chose another one, but I don't think that is ...
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1answer
458 views

Simple past tense of “may”

He was ecstatic to receive an email from the company asking to come in for an interview. It was the dream job he had been working so hard for. With some luck, he might actually get hired. He could ...
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2answers
46 views

“might” vs “might have” in a narrative set in the past

The men kept walking well into the night, because if it rained the next day, they might not [reach / have reached] the village before the enemy arrived. At around midnight, they came to a ...
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1answer
34 views

Past perfect vs Present perfect [duplicate]

Both sentences are in the past, what is the difference? Mr X had driven them home. Mr X has driven them home.
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1answer
38 views

How to talk about actions with repetition in the past?

One way to talk about the actions that one commonly did in the past is using the modal "would". Now if I do not want to use it, how I can say my story. For example, When I was a lecturer, I go to ...
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1answer
22 views

Past continuous questions

I have a question about Past continuous from this following example. " I was thinking that I wouldn't have any friends when I came here. " " I was thinking that I wouldn't have any friends when I ...
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1answer
55 views

Is “would play” correct?

We had a small house with a large garden, and we would play in a garden for hours. Is it correct to say "would play" in this context?
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1answer
46 views

What tense do I use for different actions in the past for dead people?

I want to refer to 2 kids and draw some parallelisms. John is alive now. Mark is dead. John lives in New York. "Mark LIVED in New York" or "Mark USED TO LIVE in New York". John likes to play soccer....
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1answer
16 views

Which one is correct in my case?

Which sentence in below is correct grammatically? In my case the event take place at past, and now i'm telling this to someone ... "I became so immersed that i completely lost track of time. " or "...