Questions tagged [tenses]

A set of forms taken by a verb to indicate the time and/or completeness and continuance of the action in relation to the time of the utterance.

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Will have written or have written [migrated]

Good Evening. There is a text: "Will you give me the article after you (write) you homework." I would like to know, what is better to put: will have written or have written?
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Why 'begun' instead of 'began' in the following sentence?

I read the following passage from the instagram account of a trans celebrity describing their romantic life pre/post-transition, and was a bit irked by the use of 'begun' (which is funny, because it ...
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Why use 'has' when the word before it is plural noun? [closed]

I have an English book, in which there is a sentence that confuses me. The sentence is In the past years, the business of clothes has grown well. I'm confused because why the author use the word '...
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Simple past use in continous action [duplicate]

Reading Albert Camus's The Stranger and I found the following passage: "As we ate, he started telling me his story" I started wondering if there were other examples of simple past used with ...
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Is it correct "I have been reading the book three hours."? [migrated]

Compare the two sentences below: A: I have been reading the book for three hours. B: I have been reading the book three hours. I know A is obviously correct. But my question is: Is B also correct? ...
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What are the subtle differences between the four sentences about "leave"? [duplicate]

He leaves for Japan next week. He is leaving for Japan next week. He will leave for Japan next week. He is going to leave for Japan next week. Though I know all the four sentences are correct, and ...
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Can I change "was" to "had been", when expressing age?

Actually, I teach English language for 12 years, but today I got confused when I tried to report this sentence: William: 'I lived in China until I was fifteen.' William said that he had lived in ...
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Should I use past tense or present tense for facts in a story that I'm telling in past tense? [duplicate]

I learned simple present tense is used for universal truths or facts. If I'm telling the story in past tense, and I have to say a fact, should I use simple present tense? Example: They ran from the ...
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We decided that if they do not leave the place in one day, we would surely force them out. To use 'do not' or 'did not' in this sentence?

We decided that if they do not leave the place in one day, we would surely force them out. We decided that if they did not leave the place in one day, we would surely force them out. Difference ...
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'Will be -ing' or 'Is -ing'?

When teaching Future Continuous vs Future Perfect the other day, a student stumped me with an observation of the following question taken from the 4th Edition of English File by Oxford: Sonia is ...
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Can I use more than one tense of auxiliary/helping verb with a single main verb? [duplicate]

The sentence in question specifically is this: Every human being who has or will ever exist has exactly two parents. What is going on with the tenses here? My gut tells me to clarify like this: ...
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Do you use the past tense when talking about hypothetical situations?

Do you use the past tense when using the subjunctive mood to talk about hypothetical situations? So if I were to write the following sentences, which wordings should I choose? "If the car were to ...
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What mood is "if I were" in?

Wikipedia says about English subjunctive mood: In Modern English, the subjunctive is realised as a finite but tenseless clause where the main verb occurs in the bare form. Since the bare form is also ...
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Why is "You survived" past simple? [closed]

Great, Tom! You survived this jump! Why do we use past simple and not the present perfect there? We can see the result of surviving in the present, but still use past tense.
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Is this sentence grammatically correct despite using multiple tenses? [closed]

The sentence in question: Technology will advance, but thoughts on friends and lovers never change. To my native ear it sounds reasonable, but a ESL friend feels it is not. Is it? Why or why not?
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What is the word or mental state to describe someone that takes any disagreement with them as negative and unacceptable? [closed]

What is the word or mental state to describe someone that takes any disagreement with them as negative and unacceptable? Is there a word or mental condition to describe someone that takes any and all ...
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I had a girlfriend. She (was/is) an american. Which one is correct and doesn't sound odd? [duplicate]

Which one doesn't sound odd and is correct? "I had a girlfriend. She was an american." Or "I had a girlfriend. She is an american."
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Is it "The only thing my father taught me (was/is) how to respect women? [duplicate]

Which one should be used? Was or is? Which is more likely to sound odd?
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"The only thing they forgot to teach us is/was how to be a student." Which is right? "Is" or "was"?

Which sounds correct? The only thing they forgot to teach is how to be a student. Or The only thing they forgot to teach was how to be a student.
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Annoyance with always in Present Simple? [closed]

I have to fill the gap in the sentence: Why do you ......... leave the light on when you go out of the room? You wait till you start paying the electricity bill! Key says it must be filled with &...
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Rung or rang / have rung or have rang [closed]

Have rung the sullen doorbell in vain, Stared at the obdurate panels, insane Wooden barriers and railings made of pain, And a mailbox to carry an epitaph. This is a poem I've written — now, I want to ...
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present simple/present continuous

I'm wondering if my sentences are correct in terms of the tenses used. In particular, I'm curious about the parts in bold. Thanks for any comments. When a person talks to another person and the ...
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must have been vs must be [closed]

These two paragraphs are from Toni Morrison's commencement address to the Barnard Class of 1979 (link), where she talked about Cinderella: What is unsettling about it is that the story is essentially ...
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How to explain the sentence "I was sat next to them"? [duplicate]

I am studying linguistics in northwest England and I find many people use the sentence I was sat next to them. Normally people say "I sat next to them" and I kind of understand that the ...
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...we are brought to this point

I cannot say what role the New York Times v. Sullivan decision has played in bringing us to this point, if it has played any role at all, but I can say that it is a very big deal that we are brought ...
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Interpretation of “This to be love…” in Hodgson’s ‘The Night Land’

The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, published in 1912, begins with the lines: This to be Love, that your spirit to live in a natural holiness with the Beloved, and your bodies to be a sweet and ...
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simple past or present perfect issue

I would like to ask the reason of using present perfect tense instead of past tense in the italic words in the sentence below: She has gotten older since we last met her. She also seems to have ...
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Tense to use with "has always been something that..."

I stumbled upon the following sentence on Huffington Post and noticed that it makes use of brings instead of brought. Music has always been something that brings people together. However, I also ...
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We didn't know what to do, so we did nothing/ were doing nothing [closed]

I came across this sentence in one of my workbooks: We were in a difficult position. We didn't know what to do, so we did nothing / were doing nothing. The key suggests that this should make use of ...
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Two different verb tenses that involve “must have.”

Mom must have noticed me tense up as she hugs me tighter and redoubles her soothing. Mom must have noticed me tense up as she hugged me tighter and redoubled her shooting. Are both correct? ...
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Future perfect continuous tense of be verb [closed]

The future perfect continuous tense of 'be' verb is a possibility? 1 I will have been being in the cinema industry for 3 months by this Christmas. Is this type of sentence construction used in the ...
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What tense should I use in this paraphrasing sentence?

This is a question from an IELTS Essay. Although more and more people read news on the Internet, newspapers will remain the most important source of news for the majority of people. We are required ...
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Is "I would request you to" totally wrong in both American and British English when I want to want to request something from someone? [closed]

I wrote an email to someone like- Thanks! I would request you to [do this] so that I can [do that]. They replied making fun of English by saying "okay I will thank you for that" so I thought ...
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was... has been vs was... had been

I wrote a sentence by myself as follows: It WAS acclaimed as a masterpiece that HAD changed the world. I am confused if the "had changed" here is correct because I intended to say "...
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What tenses are being used in this sentence construction?

A new book* is being released with the tagline If you knew how your love story ends, would you dare to begin? I'm a native British English speaker, the author is, and I presume whoever wrote that is ...
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"Was" or "is" when comparing? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between the following two sentences? 1). The person that went to the moon in 2003 is X. 2). The person that went to the moon in 2003 was X. Both statements express an equality. ...
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Can a while clause be followed by the present perfect?

Is it correct to say the following? While working on my project I have found an interesting research paper. I mean whether while and the use of present perfect in the same sentence is correct.
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How to refer to an event happening without referring to when it's happening? [duplicate]

I can say that an event will happen, or has happened, or is happening. But is there a way to say that an event exists in the time line without referring to WHEN it is placed? For example, I can say I ...
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2 votes
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Past tense sentence containing a habitual action in present tense

I have found a few questions on the site regarding habitual action and tenses, but nothing addresses my specific query. I want to know whether it is acceptable to use the present tense to describe a ...
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Is there really a tense-concord in English?

For those who don't know what tense-concord is, it is the concord between the conditional part and the resultant part in a conditional sentence. For e.g. (1) If he comes, the party will be lit. (Real ...
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How to make these sentences passive: 'People believe that Jenkins is the culprit.' and 'People believed that Jenkins was the culprit.' [closed]

How to make these sentences passive? 'People believe that Jenkins was the culprit.' and 'People believed that Jenkins was the culprit.' I know it is Jenkins is believed to have been the culprit. ...
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"Do I" in past narrative tense

Consider the following made-up passage where "do I" is used to indicate internal monologue. "And where were you on that night?", she asked. I hesitated. Did I lie, did I tell the ...
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How to refine ambiguous tense reference?

Caught offguard, Gibbet retreated to the safety of the wall, fervently hoping that the darkness was sufficient to hide him from her gaze. Reading this sentence, it feels ambiguous (to me) whether it ...
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Present perfect with the adverb yesterday

I have a question about using the adverb yesterday with the present perfect. While reading this book - "Grammar for English Language Teachers" (Martin Parrot), I came across this passage -&...
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What's the passive form of "I have been learning English for 5 years"? [closed]

Is it "English has been being learned for 5 years" Or "English has been learned for 5 years" The first one sounds awkward and the second one implies (to me at least) that the ...
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Is this a shift in tense?

I'm having a problem understanding tense shifts. Take for example: Pittsburgh Public managed to hold to this tradition once again by bringing this ageless piece of musical theater to life with ...
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Present tense or past tense? [duplicate]

I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing. Or I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing. Should the tenses match?
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Difference between preterite and past participle?

That a considerable economy has been effected in verb conjugation may be seen chiefly in the invariable negative form ain’t, which serves to negate the present tense of both to be and to have: He ain’...
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What's the appropriate tense here? [duplicate]

Hope everyone's doing well. I've a question about tenses. For example: Why did you select this prompt? I chose this prompt because it was/is easy to understand. The action happens—or happened [hell, ...
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How long have you been married (for)? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between the following sentences? How long have you been married? How long have you been married for?
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