Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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2answers
890 views

Use of two tenses in one sentence (“That's when I heard his voice…”)

In the book " Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" the author writes the following sentence. "That's when I heard his voice, kind of squeaky(...)" Is it correct to say "that is" ...
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1answer
216 views

Past continuous in a subjunctive mood sentence

I was doing some reviewing of the subjunctive mood when I stumbled on this: In the that-clause, use a past tense form of the verb even if your sentence has a present or future meaning: I ...
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1answer
97 views

'They will have' to express a past event. Is this BrE only?

If the Police shut the High Street one day and my colleague asks me why, I may say to them : They will probably have done that because of the accident this morning, is this peculiar to BrE ? '...
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1answer
117 views

How to properly refer to a person who had changed their name in the past tense?

A person changed her name from A to B. "My 6th grade English teacher was A" sounds right, but when I alter the sentence structure to "B was my 6th grade English teacher" it sounds right. These are ...
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2answers
173 views

Why modals use present perfect not simple past

I teach ESL for a community college. We just did a unit on "modals of probability" (can't, couldn't, must, should, may, might, could). For the simple present tense, we use this formula "modal + base ...
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1answer
584 views

Why do we use forms of “have” with past participles to form the present perfect, as in “I have taken”?

We use has, had, or have with a past participle to form the present perfect. This contrasts with our use of a single verb for the present simple. We do not say “I taken the test,” but instead use the ...
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2answers
511 views

Are these two sentences correct? [closed]

Excuse me, I heard these two sentences from an English teacher. But I do not know what do they mean and even if they are grammatically correct. Would you please help me to find out if they are correct?...
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2answers
92 views

How can I tell about thing that it is started on the past, and we still doing it until now, and it we will continue do it

I want to shortly tell some one about a task, assigned to us as a team, that we started doing the task, and yet we are doing it and will continue to it. as example: The development started last ...
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1answer
1k views

Why didn't you tell me you spoke or speak English? [duplicate]

I watched an interview and an interviewer was surprised that a guy who was interviewed by him can speak English and he said Why did't you tell me you spoke English ? Why did he use the past tense?...
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1answer
167 views

Can I use Present tense for actions that have just happened? [closed]

Could someone help me with this please... I wanted to know if I could use the present tense to describe something happened just a few seconds ago instead of using past tense? For example: (A) ...
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1answer
355 views

Like she's never danced before - did she or she didn't [closed]

I have a questions that bugs me for quite some time and no one could explain it to me properly. In a song "Maniac" by Michael Sembello we have the line And she's dancing like she's never danced ...
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2answers
141 views

Is it wrong to use “one” and “had attained” in place of “a” and “attained”?

I used to have one credit card, but I dropped it in the designated box after I had attained my objective. Is it wrong to use one and had attained?
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1answer
4k views

What is past tense of I will be [closed]

What is the past tense of the sentence: I will be there .
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2answers
483 views

When to use “had” plus past participle and simple past

Which is correct? A. Elizabeth I. had reigned as queen of England from 1558 to 1603. B. Elizabeth I. reigned as queen of England from 1558 to 1603. My answer is B but as per correction of the ...
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1answer
366 views

A question regarding “had” vs “had had” [duplicate]

Which one you would choose? I really had had a pleasant meal until you came OR I really had a pleasant meal until you came I personally think that both are correct, but I am interested to see ...
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1answer
730 views

In this phrase, should I use “cheered” or “were cheering”?

I came across this phrase answering exercises about the difference between past continuous, past simple, and past perfect. "The crowd _____ (cheer) when the referee _____ (blow) the final whistle." ...
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1answer
74 views

Is “propped up” an adjective or a past participle? [duplicate]

I am analyzing the past tense of "simple past" and I do not know if the form "were propped up" indicated in the sentence is composed of a verb conjugated in "simple past" and followed by an adjective, ...
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0answers
42 views

Is it possible to use the adverb 'now' in the past?

I learn pluperfect in German and recently ran into a web-page with English-German examples. One of the example seems to me incorrect, so I am bringing this out to make sure I correctly understand the ...
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1answer
45 views

If he… he would have [closed]

Is this sentence correct: If he returned safely, he would have been hailed as a hero. Are there any other correct ways of saying this?
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1answer
42 views

Have done/you will - a mystery to me

Is this sentence correct? Could anyone explain why it is correct or not? After you have done everything you could, you will always find that someone else did more. I find it hard to understand this ...
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0answers
51 views

Amount of the Payment (tense) [duplicate]

Say, previously I received a payment of $100 from Party A, and NOW I am describing the amount of the payment: "The amount of the payment was $100" (past tense). Must the past tense be used? Is it ...
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1answer
505 views

“King size” or “king sized”

I am not sure whether I should be writing "king size" or "king sized" when describing bed sizes. I have given 3 examples below. Please could you help? A spacious and luxurious bedroom equipped ...
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1answer
75 views

Sentence formation of a past incident

I need help with finding out which of the below sentences is correct: Since she wore glasses, I could not discern whether she was crying. Since she wore glasses, I could not discern whether she cried....
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1answer
106 views

Learning about the difference between past simple and past perfect

I've been reading about the difference between past simple and past perfect and I've found that when a series of events are narrated in order past simple is the one to be used. When the events aren't ...
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1answer
162 views

Specific nouns in short answers

While analyzing a student's written essay, I came across a short answer written in the past progressive. It included an echoed name instead of a pronoun. Student's answer: Was Sarah happy? Yes, ...
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6answers
562 views

What is the tense in: “…under a green-lined parasol held in a big white hand.”

I am doing an analysis on the verbal form "simple past". For this, I have used a book titled Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad from which I have extracted the following sentence. However, I have ...
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1answer
214 views

Should there be the Past Perfect? “He advised me to do as he said but I didn't pay any…” [closed]

Where is the error in the following line? He advised me to do as he said but I didn't pay any attention to his advice. I am confused what is the error here or even error been there or not? As far ...
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1answer
6k views

“Will be led” explain [closed]

I am curious about the parts of speech of ... Class "will be led" by.... Isn't led past tense, while will is future tense. Can anyone explain this to me? Why is this correct grammar? (or is it?)
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2answers
702 views

By the [point in time] + past simple / past continuous / past perfect

I've come across two sentences in "My Grammar Lab Advanced" that I found really confusing and made me want to reevaulate my understanding of the expression "by the + point in time" used in conjuction ...
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2answers
496 views

Can we use past simple and past perfect tense at the same time in a sentence? [closed]

Which one is correct? I have missed the bus and then, I also missed the plane. I have missed the bus and then, I also have missed the plane.
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1answer
931 views

“The cake was baked.” Is “baked” a past participle or predicate adjective? [duplicate]

The cake was baked. Is the word baked considered a predicate adjective? Would the word baked also be a past participle written in passive voice? I am just trying to figure this out.
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1answer
84 views

He had them listen/listening

"He had them listen attentively." "He had them listening attentively." Why grammatically speaking is the second one right? Also, then, why is "I had my brother wash the car" correct but not "I had ...
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1answer
2k views

Is, I am happy to talk more tomorrow, grammatically correct [duplicate]

Is this grammatically correct? Thanks Bob, I am happy to talk more tomorrow. Or is it better to say: Thanks Bob, I will be happy to talk more tomorrow. Does present and future tense matter? ...
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2answers
261 views

Correct usage of preterit and past perfect

I struggle to understand how to use correctly some tense. Talking about a past situation, which of these is correct? 1a) I had left the lights on, in case he had woken up. or 1b) I had left ...
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1answer
42 views

Confused about past tense

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 ...
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0answers
49 views

Which is commoner here: Past Simple or Past Perfect?

For a native speaker of English, which construction is commoner ? 1- The interviewer asked me which university l went to. 2- The interviewer asked me which university l had been to. Thanks.
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1answer
55 views

Which tense we have to use for the reported speech? [closed]

There is an exercise in Raymond Murphy's book on reported speech. In Exercise 48.1, all the answers have been given in past form. However, at Unit 48.A, there is written that It is not always ...
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1answer
74 views

“I thought about how this machine works/worked.” (confusion about past vs. present)

I'm not certain about which tense to use in this sentence: "I thought about how this machine _____." (This is coming from a scenario where I had previously used the machine and started to think about ...
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3answers
11k views

Scientific paper usage: “It has been shown, …” or “It was shown, …”? [closed]

If something has been discovered in 1980 and I want to refer to this discovery in a scientific text, how would I do this? It has been shown, ... or It was shown, ... and especially: Why is one ...
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1answer
84 views

Can i use past continuous for past habits? [closed]

I know that we use used to or would for past habits but i've seen many times past continuous in sentences where it does not show annoyance or it's not the background of a story. for example, is the ...
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3answers
701 views

Can someone explain the grammar in “…his breath was stopped.”? [closed]

Why does Steinbeck, when describing an old man's death, say "his breath was stopped" rather than "his breath had stopped"? The context and full sentence below: Grampa seemed to be struggling; all ...
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4answers
25k views

“We have showed that”/ “We have shown that” or “We showed that”?

In the summey of my physics paper, for a scientific journal, in the start of a new paragraph in the discussion, what is more correct to write? "We have showed that" the system obeys this and that ...
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1answer
11k views

“I bought (or) have bought all their records after the concert” [duplicate]

I have bought all their records after the concert. I bought all their records after the concert. Which one is correct? I understand when we use the present perfect and when the past simple, I ...
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1answer
222 views

Which to use did or do?

How should I say when I am telling someone about things I did yesterday? 1) Then, I do my homework. 2) Then, I did my homework. Of course that when we are talking about past we should use a past ...
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1answer
406 views

The usage of since with past simple

I' ve got a specific sentence I would like to ask about. "Since 2009 she worked there." The person doesn' t work there anymore, someone else does, but I refer to a specific period of time in the ...
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1answer
810 views

What is the difference between : “ I turned around and saw X” and “ I was turning around and saw X” ( Simple past vs past continous)

I would assume the difference is minor, in the former I finished the action of turning around and then saw X. In the latter I saw X while turning around. However one would certainly stop turning, when ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the past simple and past participle of spit? Each online dictionary has different form

Cambridge: past tense and past participle : here is the cambridge link:spat.https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/spit#british-1-1-2 Oxford:spits, spitting, spat, spitted Oxford link :...
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1answer
1k views

Past continuous signal words

I was waiting for my dinner for 3 hours last time you cooked. The rule enlists when and while being the only signal words in past continuous. I know past continuous doesn't require having signal ...
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2answers
1k views

Is a software loop “breaked” or “broken”?

In software development there are code loop constructions, which you can BREAK. foreach(i in integers) ... break If I break the cycle, it becomes broken or breaked? Which sentence is correct ...
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0answers
152 views

I'd like to know Noun + past participle

I want to come home more relaxed. I'd like to know, why more relaxed comes after home if it modifies home. Or can more relaxed in this sentence be used as an adverb?

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