Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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Present perfect and simple past in same sentence “have” and “had” [closed]

I have seen the other questions similar to this topic, but they all explain how the sentence is in present perfect and simple past. My question is, I would like to know why, or what the grammatical ...
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2answers
86 views

Past tense of past tense

If a book is written in past tense, how do you describe something which was in the past? For example: I was waiting in the back of the line because I "punched" the son of the principal. The verb "...
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51 views

If the flow “were” working or “was”

I'm trying to understand why the plural is used in this case instead of the singular. The sentence uses the plural version of the past tense of "be" when referring to "the flow". Why is the sentence ...
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0answers
18 views

Why do this book telling a story in the past but they use present tense? [duplicate]

I was reading a book "Call me by your name" and I was so confused by the tense they use in the book. It is obviously the story they tell happens in the past but they use present tense. I am trying to ...
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0answers
46 views

The use of 'how could …' in past tense situations

A grammatical issue has been bugging me for some time, and I just can't seem to wrap my head around it. If I'm writing in the past tense and questioning the ability to do something or the possibility ...
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1answer
79 views

ED endings: Adjective or Past Participle in Perfect Tenses, Passive Voice and after To Be? [duplicate]

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. In the passive voice, we could see sentences like these:    "The car is heated."    "His spirits are lifted."    ...
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0answers
51 views

He told me he often felt like he can reach me faster than his own wife - proper past tense?

What I want is to put this into past tense: He often feels like he can reach me faster than... (e.g. his own wife) 1) "He told me that he often felt like he was able to reach me faster than ...",...
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0answers
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What do these three sentences imply?

What do the three sentences imply? 1) I thought I would never have been an engineer. 2) I thought I would never be an engineer. 3) I thought I will never be an engineer. Does the first ...
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1answer
904 views

“was called” vs. “has been called”

I know the basics about past tense vs present perfect tense, but I'm wondering in some situations whether the "connection to the present" (which seems to be a necessity for the present perfect tense) ...
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1answer
76 views

Which sentence is correct? Which tense is better to use?

How to say grammatically correct that I had a problem, but then it's gone when I tried a recommendation: I had the same problem. Thanks, recommendation above helps me! or I had the same problem....
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What's the difference between “you wasted” and “you've wasted” [duplicate]

I've got a question about this topic. So, about the context. I've just watched a video and in the end, the author said thank you as follows: Thank you for all the time you wasted on this video. I ...
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1answer
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What are the tenses in this sentence?

I'd like to break this sentence down to its components and their tenses, but I'm struggling. How would you explain it? “I think we thought it would be easier” Thanks!
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1answer
257 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
51 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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1answer
374 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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3answers
180 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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1answer
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“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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4answers
853 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
45 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
32 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
127 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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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
47 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
46 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
58 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
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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
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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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2answers
269 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
53 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
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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
47 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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2answers
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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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350 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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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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1answer
42 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
547 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
74 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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214 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
58 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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44 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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353 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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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
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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
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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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1answer
51 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
77 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
237 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
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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
89 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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