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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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Difference between “didn't think“ and ”hadn't thought"?

what is the difference between “didn't think" and “hadn't thought" ? I didn't think about the idea. I hadn't thought about the idea.
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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
342 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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Past or progressive when using the conjunction “while”?

Would you say She was taking a bath while her husband was reading or She took a bath while her husband was reading?
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1answer
25 views

Should I use did or the past tense of verb

Example : If someone asks " did you walk him home?" Should I say : EX1: Yes! I did walk him home. EX2: Yes! I walked him home. So what is the difference between them? and when to use them correctly....
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2answers
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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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What is the different meaning of Present and Past Simple Tense

Past Simple Tense - I would always help someone who really needed help. Present Simple Tense - I will always help someone who really needs help. Can someone explain this confusion of mine and when ...
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1answer
21 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
37 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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21 views

Past tense, progressive, or something else?

He looked in the mirror brushing his teeth. What's the tense of the above sentence. It seems like past progressive. But I'm trying to figure out what the "to be" part is. Also what's this: He ...
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38 views

Verb tense for “What I do remember is (noun) + (verb)…”

I can't remember what happened. What I do remember is the sound of the television drowning in the silence of the falling snow. What I do remember is you opening the door, and in the distant grey,...
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Past Simple or Present Perfect? [migrated]

I have a problem using those tenses in practice, or even analysing them in books or movies. For example : A character says "I opened the doors" (well the doors are opened so he and his friends see ...
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1answer
33 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
64 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
29 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
27 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
29 views

Grammer for a timeline

I have a web page that I will add to as changes are done to our software. What is the correct grammer. For example: March 2019 xxx company releases the 1.2.45 version ... or March 2019 xxx ...
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What is the tense of: is located [migrated]

Consider the sentence: The shop is located near the bus stand. Is it present tense? Doubt is ---- is a helping verb presentence and located is past tense.
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how do we express something not true in the past?

If I were a bird, I would fly. Here, if I were a bird means I am not a bird. Because I am not a bird I will not fly. Here, there is nothing that's "in the past". It's all in the present and not true. ...
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Using were/was + past participle or simple paste in this case is the best?

I would like to write : "His tongue clutched in mine as if they were melted together." Do I need the 'were' here or should I use it simply without. "His tongue clutched in mine as if they melted ...
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1answer
23 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
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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
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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
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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
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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 "...
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1answer
90 views

Is it correct to say “I wished I had learnt something somehow”

Is it correct to say "I wished I had learnt something somehow"|| Is there a better way to say it in few words ?? (After much practicing I felt I was not getting good at a skill, so, in my childhood ...
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1answer
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Was Exiled vs Exiled

I was wondering if these two sentences had a different meaning. 1) He came into power when his father, Gerald, was exiled to Europe during World War II. 2) He came into power when his father, Gerald,...
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Which tense is appropriate? Simple or Perfect? [duplicate]

Consider the following two sentences: Many buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Many buildings had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Which is appropriate, and why? I think ...
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1answer
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past simple vs present perfect for dead people

Which tense to use when mentioning someone who is dead, but the institution or country that he founded still exists, as in the sentences below: Atatürk has founded Turkey. Atatürk founded ...
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3answers
55 views

Is it ok to say “something I will have come to learn later in the course”?

I have written It lacks exact references to the book, something about argumentative analysis I will have come to learn later in the course. I wonder if this is correct and what this tense would ...
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0answers
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Modal verbs of probability

'I think the doctors didn't expect Bob to wake up.' I must change this sentence using May. Which version is correct? 'The doctors may have not been expecting Bob to wake up.' 'The doctors may have ...
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2answers
211 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct: “She would make for a convincing Amy.” [closed]

This sentence is part of dialogue between producer and actor, when she was convincing them to cast her in film. The film is ready now. During the premiere, they were recalling a previous moment that ...
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2answers
64 views

Completed action in the past lead to an ongoing action - which tense to use?

I am a bit confused about the proper tense for the following situation. I try to make an example: A couple of weeks ago I talked to someone. We have not talked or communicated in any way again since ...
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Past Simple or Past Continuous

I don't know what I should use in this situation. I will give you an example: Mary drew / was drawing a family picture while her grandparents were staying in Japan. What is correct?
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1answer
188 views

Suitable verb form in the past tense sentence

There's the next sentence: "I saw Mr Brown ..... the building at two o'clock." Which option would be the most appropriate to put in and why ? I really want to put in "was leaving", but there's no ...
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1answer
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Can I use simple past along with present perfect like this?

The sentence is, for example, The researchers investigated and found that due to the rise of AI bots, most of the existing works have focused on protecting the email services from spam. Is this ...
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4answers
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Is it right to say “phone was rang”?

Recently I saw these two sentences in two different books So after dinner my cell phone was rang and it was Tom. (The Journey of Andrea: Make Sure You Live Your Life to the Fullest Before ...,By ...
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1answer
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Can I use double past tense?

Firstly I am not English native speaker so when speaking we might speak English but the sentence structure in daily use might be different, but since I got a message from my family this morning I have ...
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1answer
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Colloquial usage of past tense as future perfect

I have a Japanese friend who is learning English and recently posed me (a native speaker) a question that I am having trouble answering. The problem revolves around two statements: I was able to ...
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1answer
205 views

I was waking up or I was going to wake up or i would wake up

I heard such sentence in a movie "There was no chance I was waking up in the morning" i understand the context and what the speaker wanted to say but can I say it this way: a) "There was no chance ...
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Why are English language essays written in past tenses?

As we are studying English from the nursery the thing that always confuses me is that whenever we write an essay it should be in past tenses and I always find difficulty in writing essays that way. I ...
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1answer
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Past tense English conjugation in a whole sentence

You should have let me given you a ride home. You should have let me give you a ride home. Your should have let me gave you a ride home. You should have let me driven you home. You should have let ...
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2answers
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i studied or was studying

Now I am 60years old and I want to say that sometime in the past i was at Oxford university 5 years for example but without a specific time in the past,30 or 40years ago etc. 1) "i have studied at ...
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1answer
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2 forms of past participle with different meanings [closed]

I'm looking for more examples similar to this: "hanged vs. hung", namely the examples where both forms are correct but the meaning of each one is different. Can anyone help?
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2answers
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condition actions in the future

I am having a problem defining the British English grammar used here. The context is that I am chatting with my brother about taking my sister to see the sequel to a film and I do know if she has ...
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1answer
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why is it okay to use “is” in front of “interested” [duplicate]

Is it grammatically right to say: "If he is interested in the project, he will ask you many questions" It sounds alright to me and I noticed this uses future simple tense, however, I'm curious to ...
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1answer
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is/are + past participle vs. have been + past particple

So I am really confused when to use past participle and have been + p.p For example In situations like the ones below Are these dishes washed? Have these dishes been washed? (Washed and ...
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1answer
210 views

previously was/had been

So I asked a question that I knew I had asked a long time ago and actually made me think... "Am I the only one whose program went back to how it previously was or not?" The aforementioned quotation ...
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1answer
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For reports written in present tense, which time is usually used for “citations”? Present or past tense?

In German reports, most of the time the present tense is used when followed by any kind of citation. E.g. - There is a need for more biocompostable plastics. The XYZ CEO says that... - The CEO ...
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1answer
160 views

tense of “would be” (when used as a synonym for “was”)

In a school paper, my son wrote the sentence, "In 1763, the stalemate would be broken." His teacher told him to avoid the "past progressive tense." The phrase "would be" is clearly not an example of ...