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Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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Which tense is correct? (simple past / present perfect / past perfect) [migrated]

Mr. Kim (was / has been / had been) busy for two weeks last month. Which tense is correct when accompanied by the phrase 'for two weeks last month'?
Eunjin Park's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
70 views

past tense vs. present perfect?

In his last game, his mistake (caused / has caused) his team to lose. which is grammatically correct? Is the answer the simple past tense because of the word "last" ? Then is it impossible ...
Eunjin Park's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
42 views

Using "might" in past tense [duplicate]

I'm aware that "may" is generally present tense and "might" is generally past tense, but I came across a sentence in my writing that made me think I might have switched to present ...
Joshua's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
1 answer
44 views

Use of past infinitive

I found an article with these sentences: I want to have finished the job, before I go home. You need to have passed the test, or else you won't be admitted. Uh! You're supposed to have painted it ...
Jess3032's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
79 views

People now say "back in 1985" or "way back in 1965" instead of just saying "in 1985" or "in 1965". Why this change?

Most native English speakers used to refer to a past time or date by saying something like "in 1936 this or that happened". Now people seem unable to refer to the past - however recent or ...
bradleyjohn's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
45 views

have thrust vs have thrusted: Which is the more frequently used past tense and past participle of "thrust"? [closed]

Thrust or thrusted? As in: I'm walking through the old neighborhood right now, and, yes, the idiots have thrust (thrusted?) in yet another stupid skyscraper.
Ricky's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
53 views

Why is it "I began to look around" and not "looked" [duplicate]

I'm trying to help a German friend with their English, why is it "I began to look around" and not "I began to looked around" And I'm unsure how to explain it to her simply. Thank ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
3 answers
58 views

Can Past Perfect Continuous tense be used to say that something continued beyond the specified event if we don't even use the duration?

Reference: In the book 'Advanced Grammar in Use by Martin Hewings' on page no. 14 it is written that 'The past perfect continuous can be used to talk about a situation or activity that went on before ...
hwkal's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
1 answer
195 views

Do we use the subjunctive with verbs of sense?

An ESL student told me she was taught never to use the subjunctive with verbs of sense (touch, taste, feel, etc.). So, compare the following sentences: She behaves as though she were the boss. I ...
Leanne Bellamy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

Usage of "may" instead of "might" in the past context

I came across the following sentence while reading "A Clash of Kings" book by George R. R. Martin: Whitetree was the fourth village they had passed, and it had been the same in all of them. ...
Denis's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Using "will" to describe (one's ideas about?) the past [duplicate]

Is this dialogue idiomatic: I played football at school. You [will be/will have been] quite athletic when you met Alice then. Can you think of other examples?
Quirkier's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

Present perfect or past tense in the first part?

Are the following two sentences grammatically correct? Mark has been injured while he was training. While Mark was training, he has injured himself. I am particularly interested in the correct tense ...
Abziik's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
1 answer
54 views

How to use Past Conditional in "It would have been better if my brother had died rather than struck a bargain in the red desert"?

I'm not sure if there's a better way to say this: It would have been better if my brother had died rather than struck a bargain in the red desert. Am I using that right? Ugh! Help me please. This is ...
Jackie Bridges's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
108 views

the form of conditional sentence in the indicative mood when expressing future in the past

Any bridge over the river would need to be a very high suspension bridge. Considering the limited technology in those days, building such a bridge seemed impossible. That is, people thought it was ...
Joseph Kim's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
96 views

Can we use "before"(as the time adverb) in a past simple sentence?

We were happy before. There was a market next to the school before. I saw a whale before. These are from a grammar book for kids that I'm proofreading, and this part is about "past simple ...
Stacy Chen's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
46 views

Someone "is" or "was" the first female surgeon if they're still alive and still a surgeon? [duplicate]

I'm proofreading something but --- you might say Obama "was" the first black president since he's no longer President. Or maybe it is "is"? Dead people are generally always "...
user45867's user avatar
  • 223
2 votes
3 answers
255 views

Using Past Perfect Simple/Continuous during another event in the past described in Past Simple?

I've been working through a grammar book "English for Everyone - English Grammar Guide" and I've stumbled upon some sentences regarding usage of Past Perfect that I can't wrap my head around....
Celebes's user avatar
  • 143
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why was the past tense used here? "I died an X"

In 2023 movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, this conversation took place when a character was dying: Dying character: (holding Scott's cheek) Thanks, Scott. You always were a brother to me. ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
50 views

Express an uncertain action in the past using conditionals

I want to express the consequences of something which I am not sure actually happened in the past. intention: Maybe my brother studied, or maybe he didn't, but if he really did, then he will pass the ...
oopEnthusiast's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
481 views

He died after he was ill for a long time

(14) He died after he had been ill for a long time. (15) She told me his name after he had left. In a 1989 paper titled "Perfect and pluperfect: What is the relationship?", Raphael Salkie ...
JK2's user avatar
  • 6,573
0 votes
2 answers
34 views

Use of Past Perfect if an interlocutor doesn't know about a moment in the past

We use Past Perfect to speak about actions before some moment in the past. What if my speaking partner doesn't know about a moment in the past? I had done everything. (I don't mention it, but in ...
gelerum's user avatar
  • 23
1 vote
1 answer
52 views

Should it be Past Perfect or Present Perfect? [closed]

Past Perfect can't be used on its own, can it? I mean, if there is a sentence without context, just a sentence on its own, and there is no clause with predicate in Past Simple in it. Is it ...
Mia's user avatar
  • 37
1 vote
0 answers
35 views

Which tense to choose [closed]

There are a couple of sentences: The water froze and caused the pipe to burst. If it is a succession of past events it should be Past Simple. But if the first part happened earlier, it should be : ...
Jess3032's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
775 views

"To be" vs "to have been"

I am preparing for an English exam and came across this problem: (Instructions: Choose the option that is closest to the meaning of the original sentence.) Original: "The board thought that the ...
UserJs's user avatar
  • 53
-1 votes
1 answer
495 views

"should have taken" vs "should've had taken", are they both correct? [closed]

So my friend and I were talking earlier today, he clicked away from a website, and I said: You should've had taken a screenshot of those results. To which he replied: What? You mean I "Should'...
Viktor's user avatar
  • 1
-1 votes
1 answer
57 views

Correct usage of 'had' [closed]

I was recently studying a paragraph in which I came across a sentence, which was below: The British king, Charles I, had inherited a very difficult financial situation from his father. However, I ...
Vipul Tyagi's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
98 views

What are the rules of copular "to be" tense in pseudo-cleft sentences?

What are the rules for the tense usage of copular "to be" in pseudo-cleft sentences? I have several examples: What I didn't like was the end of the movie. --> was What changed his mind ...
Lyubov Berezina's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
381 views

What's the difference between 'hanged' and 'hung'?

I was learning the difference between hanged and hung and encountered this article. Now, I can't understand what it's trying to teach me because it says we use 'hung' when talking about inanimate ...
user473457's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Passive or Adjective 'respected' [closed]

Is the following sentence passive or is 'respected' used an adjective?: He is respected. And how would one know the difference?
Lab coat's user avatar
  • 121
-1 votes
1 answer
37 views

Help with writing in the past tense. What tense to use when showing a continuous future event?

Alden cleared the China from the breakfast table, smeared with bits of eggs and grits, and stacked them next to the sink. Just because she had a full time housekeeper, didn’t mean she was an animal. ...
Miranda McGill Bagley's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
172 views

Past and present perfect tense in scientific articles

There are various questions about this, but none that I found provided me with a satisfying answer. My problem lies mainly in the part of the paper were I introduce the necessary background, and in ...
Bubaya's user avatar
  • 123
1 vote
1 answer
66 views

Past simple or present perfect simple? [closed]

Why did he change his name? Why has he changed his name? Why did he change the spelling of his name? Why has he changed the spelling of his name? I'm curious whether the present perfect versions are ...
Nederlanditis Nederlanditis's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
48 views

The use of "would have + [participle verb]" in the narration of the movie Reprise (2006)

The narration starts like this: Their manuscripts would have been accepted immediately. They would’ve been published the next fall. Finally, they would’ve been authors. My first thought is, because &...
Ao Lin's user avatar
  • 49
0 votes
0 answers
372 views

It's About Time you Knew or It's about time you know [duplicate]

Would like to know which version is proper: It's about time you know It's about time you knew Some examples: It's about time you know about a cancer diagnosis It's about time you knew about a ...
Joe V's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the past tense of "cheers"? (As in a toast) [closed]

Example: They raised their glasses and cheersed. However, most dictionaries say that "cheersed" isn't a word. Just using the normal past tense for "cheer" would be "cheered&...
Dasmowenator's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
98 views

What tense should be used for the verb "film"? Why? [closed]

I was presented with this question on a test paper: _______(film) in various parts of China, Unexplored Land presents the great diversity of China's ecosystem and throws fresh light on the concept of ...
WH22's user avatar
  • 3
5 votes
1 answer
289 views

Can past perfect continuous tense be substituted for past continuous without any change in meaning? [duplicate]

If you search for any video or article that teaches the past perfect continuous tense, you'll surely come across an example such as: "He had been throwing rocks at her window for five minutes ...
Let's user avatar
  • 235
0 votes
2 answers
268 views

Can "may have" be used in a past-tense narrative?

In a narrative written in third person past tense, such as you'd find in most published books, can the phrase "may have" be used after verbs like "thought" or "said"? As ...
seadeepy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
21 views

Please help me to explain why past continuous tense is used in that case [closed]

A : Do you bring your lunch today ? B : No, I was thinking about going out
Danniel Tran's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

Should I say "What I ended up doing is" or "what I ended up doing was"?

I was wondering whether I should use 'is' or 'was' in this phrasing: What I ended up doing is restarting her phone. What I ended up doing was restarting her phone. If both are correct, is there any ...
Cristalphase01's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
91 views

Can Irrealis 'Were' Be Used in the Past Tense?

By reading The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, I have managed to gain an understanding of remote conditionals. My research has demonstrated that irrealis 'were' is ordinarily used in remote ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
  • 371
1 vote
6 answers
113 views

The subjunctive in a hypothetical scenario of a historical event

To the prompt "What historical moment would you like to have participated in?", my ESL student chose a Queen Live Aid concert, saying: I’m a huge fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury so I think ...
Ao Lin's user avatar
  • 49
0 votes
1 answer
984 views

was bought vs. has been bought [closed]

What is the correct way to say this: The launch was successful and the company was bought by a competitor 2 years after I left. or The launch was successful and the company has been bought by a ...
Bjoern's user avatar
  • 3
0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Present perfect with past tense VS two present perfect

Which is the correct one? "Ever since I met you, you have never asked me what I prefer" Compare to "Ever since I have met you, you have never asked me what I prefer"
Sat chua's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
73 views

Why past tense for unreal present? [closed]

I was wondering why exactly past tense is used in the unreal present conditional (type 2). I once heard that past tense gives a sense of "distance" when contrasted with present, but I'm not ...
AllenZ's user avatar
  • 31
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

How to use a past event as the subject of a sentence?

I am not a native speaker. My question in the title arise from an actual sentence I wanted to write. "Phone rang interrupted." Imagine this timeline for context: Employee was talking to ...
alpersunter's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
190 views

Present tense or past tense: "I realized it wouldn’t be as easy as it (seem)"

I was doing a grammar practice question where we are to spot the mistakes in the sentences and I came across this sentence: It was only when I came closer to it that I realized it wouldn’t be as easy ...
rain soupreme's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
61 views

Past Tense after "if" [duplicate]

“A letter?” repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. “Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be ...
Кирилл Мир's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
93 views

What is correct: "did you do smth and do smth" or "Did you do smth and did smth"?

I'm trying to figure out which form is correct when composing such a question: "Did you go there and forget to eat?" "Did you go there and forgot to eat?" Not the most creative ...
Toma Radu-Petrescu's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
98 views

Use of simple future perfect in the past [duplicate]

I've recently come across this sentence: The young Nietzsche will have come across the term Kreuzspinne in his German edition of Emerson's The Conduct of Life. I'm confused as to why the author used ...
HeMan's user avatar
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