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Questions tagged [past-vs-present]

The tag has no usage guidance.

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1answer
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“include” vs “included” when referring to a category from the past

Is there a correct usage of "include" or "included" when referring to a category from the past? For example: TV shows from the 80's include Cheers, The Cosby Show, and Newhart. or TV shows from ...
8
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6answers
2k views

How do I express a time point which is a decade ago, counting from another time point mentioned in a passage?

E.g., I would like to say X was almost impossible to be used in research until 2000s despite being invented a decade ago In this sentence, I would like to express that X was invented in 1990s. ...
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1answer
61 views

which tense to use: present simple or past simple? [closed]

In a situation, [for example] when the guy is continuously cheating and at the moment i say that sentence he is still cheating [/for example], should i say "he was cheating" or "he is cheating"? ...
0
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1answer
679 views

The ship “set sail” or the ship “sets sail”?

In this sentence: The ship (set/sets) sail for the city of New York on the fifth of April. Should we use "set" or "sets"? Note that it is not known if the "fifth of April" is in the past or the ...
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0answers
71 views

Tense selection- is/was

I cannot decide between: If a man remains as careful as he is in the beginning, there will be no failure. and If a man remains as careful as he was in the ...
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2answers
377 views

How to distinguish and use the present perfect for the recent past?

I'm having trouble understanding and using the so-called “perfect of recent past” aspect on the present tense. I have three related questions about this which are in bullets, two here and one at the ...
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0answers
79 views

For two years, + past progressive or past simple?

Yesterday, I had a very hard Grammar exam and I came across this confusing question, I didn't find any answer regarding it. However, I know that past progressive is used to indicate duration and past ...
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2answers
205 views

Error Analysis question regarding ( used to )

Yesterday, I had a Grammar exam and I came across this question, I tried to look everywhere on the internet but I couldn't find anything related since "used to" always comes as a habit and followed ...
4
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1answer
172 views

The Information Age and Industrial Revolution “were similar” or “are similar”?

The reason why I ask this is because of two reasons: I first thought that things that occur in the past generally have to be described with past tense verbs. Then I thought: "By using past tense, ...
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1answer
850 views

When do you use “this is because” in the present tense versus “this was because” in the past tense?

I found this from a blog where the writer used this is because: Through the experience of the DSCE, I felt like my life goal had finally been achieved, but when I desperately pleaded with God to ...
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2answers
866 views

Going from past to present in the same sentence [closed]

Example: "The book was great, like that part in which they kill the dragon." vs "The book was great, like that part in which they killed the dragon." This is just an example, but which one is ...
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4answers
519 views

Which tense should be used for referring to a study in the past that continues until today?

I'm writing an academic article for journal publication. My field is social science, and the article is submitted to an American journal. One of the reviewers suggested using the past tense ("were ...
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1answer
2k views

Can I use -ing verbs within a sentence that's in the past tense?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? The dashes are em dashes. This is the last sentence of a paragraph that is in the past tense: But I continued to work—building, learning, and simply loving ...
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1answer
161 views

Dealing with tricky subordinate time clauses in sequence of tenses

Your help would be very much appreciated with the following sentence: "When I first visited Berkeley in spring 2015, I knew immediately that when I attempt an MBA, the school is going to be at the ...
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1answer
16k views

Present or past tense after “he told me that…”?

My wife's textbook says that these two are the same: He said to me, "I want you to join the game." He told me (that) he wanted me to join the game. I'm not a native English speaker, but in this ...
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2answers
938 views

Using the present tense in recounting past events

There's a particular colloquial usage of the present tense in recounting past events that has a shade of meaning that I've been unable to put my finger on. As an example, instead of: And then Bob ...
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2answers
251 views

Does/did for something you're continuing to do?

So the context is A: I play the piano every night before I go to bed. B: I thought I was/am the only one who does/did that Because person B thought before that she was the only one who did it,...
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0answers
43 views

Simple Present, Simple Past or Past perfect progressive? [duplicate]

Suppose if there's a web site which was out of service yesterday. And it's still down today. Which sentence below should I tell the web master? The web site is down/(out of service) since yesterday. ...
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2answers
150 views

Do you ever use 'is' in a past tense narrative?

It's a story written in the past tense, but once I named the characters I found myself saying 'is' instead of 'was' and couldn't decide if it was right or wrong. IS: Mom loved our movie nights ...
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3answers
2k views

In a story written in past tense, is using present tense grammatically correct in the narration?

For example, just something quickly made up: Sam started to run from the house to the nearby forest. The freezing weather caused him to shiver, but the warmth from running very rapidly heated up ...
0
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1answer
66 views

What's the tense for remarking a thing happened in the past? [closed]

Shall I change That Bilbo said he was a legendary burglar is really funny. to That Bilbo said he was a legendary burglar was really funny. ?
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1answer
10k views

Is “little does he know” correct?

This expression is usually used in past tense ("little did he know") but can it also be used in present tense?
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3answers
4k views

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

I have a basic grammar question about the past tense. If I met a guy yesterday, which tense should I use about his name today? For example, "Yesterday I met a guy, his name is/was John."
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3answers
287 views

Grammar: Did Jim ask you whether you are a virgin? VS Did Jim ask you whether you were a virgin? [duplicate]

How do I form a question based on the following details: At 1pm on Sunday Jim: Are you a virgin? Jane: Yes nothing happened from 1pm to 9pm At 9pm on Sunday: Did Jim ask you whether you were a ...
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1answer
33k views

Continue working vs continue to work [duplicate]

I found this explanation: http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic38633.html but what about present? I continue to work or I continue working? Are they the same?
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2answers
538 views

Why did people sound differently when addressing the public in the early 1900s?

I notice that people used to speak not necessarily more clearly, or distinctly, but their voice had a certain 'choppiness' to it that you don't hear anymore... Unless the person doing the speaking is ...
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2answers
76k views

Graduate or graduated ?

When I want to describe my self .. Should I say I'm a graduate or graduated student in .. What is more accurate ? Past or present ? P.s: I have a bachelor degree and I'm not planning currently to ...
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2answers
3k views

I received an email saying documents are /were [duplicate]

I received an email saying that the documents are/were being processed. Which is correct? Are or were?
2
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1answer
1k views

Referring to results in past or present tense [closed]

When I am reporting the status of some results, should I use past tense? For example, would it be correct to say, when the test result was announced in the past, "Your test result was failed. I am ...
0
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2answers
301 views

There was a rumor + is/was

Could anyone tell me if the sentence "There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt." is grammatically correct ? Please advise me. Some say it is correct while others say it is ungrammatical. I'm lost.
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2answers
131 views

There was a rumor +… is/ was [duplicate]

Let's say I'm narrating a past incident in which a sentence goes like -- There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt. Is the above sentence correct or do I need to replace 'is' with 'was' ?
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2answers
633 views

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time?

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time? For example A person who lived during 1790 could truthfully claim that Washington ...
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1answer
1k views

What would “I forgot my keys” mean in this situation? [duplicate]

If you were at the door and found out that you had forgotten your keys you might say: "I have forgotten my keys" .. but what would it mean if you said I forgot my keys instead?
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2answers
988 views

I was here if you could meet me

Is this correct or not. Recently I said this to a person and my brother in law suggested that it was wrong to say so. Instead I should have said I am here if you can meet me
2
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3answers
370 views

Ian McEwan's usage of “must” as a simple past

Reading Ian McEwan's "The Children Act", I found this sentence: "If Jack, sprawled across from her, seemed absurd in this conversation, then how much more so MUST she appear to him." Being ...
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3answers
2k views

What tense to use for research results/statistics

My question is similar to this one and this one. However, I think I need further elaboration to understand at what points I am supposed to use present tense, and where to use past tense. Now, my ...
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2answers
533 views

Is there such a thing as a “past subjunctive”?

Is there really such a thing as a “past subjunctive” in English? I actually learned the term “past subjunctive” from my Spanish class. From what I already know, the subjunctive is used with ...
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1answer
125 views

“Suppose we have a collection of blog posts where each document was/is a post”

I found this in a book: Suppose we have a collection of blog posts where each document was a post. Shouldn't it be: Suppose we have a collection of blog posts where each document is a post. Or ...
0
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1answer
7k views

Past Simple or Present Perfect: “tried” or “have tried”

I’ve tried to help you. The action happened in the past but I don’t say when. I tried to help you yesterday. The action happened in the past but I say when. More Examples: You can use the ...
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1answer
5k views

Using “got” in present tense?

They set unbelievably hard tasks to do, to see which one of us got the best deal. - Top Gear (TV show) I don't understand; what is "got" doing in present tense? Or am I misunderstanding the sentence?...
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5answers
34k views

Why are news headlines in present tense if they refer to past events?

In news papers we see headings like this "India signs a pact with Russia" "Sachin hits another century" "Obama wins presidential election" These are completed events, aren't they? Then, ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Which tense should I use when presenting a table of data?

I have a table and the description of the table as followed: Table 7 presents the likelihood of OPT occurrences from the time annotated sentences; V-RB refers to the sentences which contain ...
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1answer
2k views

“Has received” in past tense sentence? [duplicate]

"It occurred to me that no Korean has ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature." In this sentence, is "has received" right, rather than "had received"? Is it because "that" indicates continuation ...
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3answers
6k views

Do I use “argued” or “argues”? Past or Present? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What (grammatical) tense to use when doing reference in a paper? Should I use present or past tense when referring to a (scientific) paper? “has been raised” or “was raised” ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Should I use the past tense for things that are still the same as before?

I am writing a personal statement for applying to a school, and I have a question about past tense. The following paragraph describes things that happened several years ago: My school is located in ...
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4answers
590 views

Refer to the state of something “at the time”

I want to communicate this: I didn't think the zoo would attract visitors in its state at the time. What can I replace "state at the time" with? Perhaps something like "then-state"? I can't say "...
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2answers
988 views

Mixed tenses in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: ‘Had’ or ‘has’ to describe a past condition which is still present? Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true The employee was injured while at work, ...
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3answers
7k views

Which one is correct: “was/were dead” or “is/are dead” years ago? [closed]

What are the differences between “was/were dead” and “is/are dead”? For example, Osama is/was dead years ago. Are they interchangeable?
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3answers
29k views

Which is proper usage: “What I've Learned” or “What I learned”? [closed]

I'm having argument with a colleague of mine over which statement is more correct. I figured the English language gurus of StackExchange would be able to set us straight.
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3answers
5k views

“so that” + present/past tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'? Which one is correct: Introduce additional user interface widget so that it was ...