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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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Verb tense in Phineas and Ferb song “History of Rock”

I've been learning English for decades but I still don't get how its verb tenses work. The Phineas and Ferb episode “Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together” has the song “History of Rock”. In its ...
b_jonas's user avatar
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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 ...
andrei716's user avatar
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2 answers
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What is the proper tense for "listen" in this sentence?

I am trying to describe the following: I listen to a particular podcast. By this I mean that I regularly listen to the podcast when episodes come out. There was a guest on a particular episode of ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
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1 answer
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Past Perfect Tense Used Instead of Past Simple in 'The Kite Runner'

I'm currently reading 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini, and notice that in some place in the book, i can't really comprehend the use of past perfect tense instead of simple past tense. Consider ...
Yohanes Theda's user avatar
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When it comes to names and pronouns, what takes precedence: past, present, or future?

This answer on Chess Stack Exchange said it’s grammatically incorrect to call someone by their current pronoun in a sentence talking about a hypothetical future scenario when their pronoun would be ...
clickbait's user avatar
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Why is the subjunctive mood considered tenseless? Is "would be able to" not explicitly a future (perfect) construction?

I've read through the responses on this question, but I don't feel like they address the idea that English subjunctive clauses lack inflection (per Wikipedia). I'm looking at this sentence, for ...
Bobadabebe Ih'tsaboih's user avatar
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"Science wouldn't have thought so, but she is." Why the past tense?

Here's a quote from a TV show: "How's your mother?" "She's meaner." "Is that even possible?" "Science wouldn't have thought so, but she is." It just runs ...
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Would see someone [do vs doing] something

I remember seeing an expression along the lines of "An act that would see him X" For instance: "The chess player prepared to make the move that would see him [win/winning] the game." "He insulted the ...
TrenchCoatPhoenix's user avatar
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420 views

How to explain the tenses in these sentences?

So my Japanese student is having trouble understanding why the following tenses are used and I’m not sure how to explain it. My line manager wants the meeting arranged immediately. Why does that ...
Anna's user avatar
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Were the verb forms / structures named after their most typical / common use?

A verb form like "went" is called a "past tense". However, it is not only used to talk about past events (e.g. We went to Morocco last January), but also about unreal or uncertain present or future ...
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"Using future continuous where future simple is perfectly fine "

I am aware of the general meaning of "future continuous ". But sometimes I see to use "future continuous in a different way where "future simple is perfectly fine ". I am giving a couple of examples :...
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Why was the indirect speech not used in the following sentence?

The witness said that he heard two bullets being shot before he noticed two men running down the street The sentence contains both, reported speech and sequel of actions. Therefore I believe that ...
ILoveChess's user avatar
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1 answer
645 views

Simple vs Continuous in the Past Tense and in the Future Tense

Even though I understand the difference between the simple and the continuous aspect of the English tense system, I sometimes struggle to understand what each of these two aspects expresses in some ...
user122524's user avatar
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1 answer
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Use of past tense in scientific publication

Consider the following sentence: "Bob started to feel uneasy, as Alice was doing X." What I want to express is that in the past, Bob started to feel uneasy. Alice started doing X in the past and ...
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Can "to be able to" be used in perfect infinitive?

I understand the use of perfect infinitive. The thing is that I find it awful to use "to be able to" referring to something that happened in the past. Let me elaborate with an example I just read: I ...
Elias Aued's user avatar
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1 answer
740 views

If you were listening..., you might wonder

This is part of Obama's commencement speech: Which brings me to my third point: Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science — these are good things. (Applause.) These are qualities ...
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Tense when speaking of someone you knew in your past

Is it acceptable to use the past tense when talking about someone that is still alive but you no longer have any interaction with? "His name was Alex" I always correct myself and use present tense but ...
user159858's user avatar
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Verb-tense agreement: I thought it had something to do with how you looked that day

I've had trouble with verb-tense agreement since day one of English learning. According to a lot of native speakers who have addressed this subject on several English forums, when the tenses in a ...
Yeti Ape's user avatar
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2 answers
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How to say that something is "current" but at another point in time

Imagine I want to say Each shipment will be automatically created 2 weeks before the day of collection, and priced according to the rates at that moment. and I want to express "rates at that ...
Alexander Soare's user avatar
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Tense usage in counterfactual conditionals with non-counterfactual clauses

Imagine the following situation: My superior is to come with an inspection is a few hours. The visit is expected to be quite unpleasant and therefore I write to my absent coworker to urge him to come: ...
Anton Popov's user avatar
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3 answers
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If the first half of the sentence is a hypothetical scenario and other half is the postulated outcome, should one use "had been" or "was"?

Apologies for possibly a dumb question. Let's be honest, IF it was the other way around the build would have been blocked and if by any chance it was released, it would have caused some serious ...
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Modifying a sentence object

In one study, for instance, bar codes were placed on bees, tracking their activities. Is this correct? Or do we say... In one study, for instance, bar codes were placed on bees to track their ...
user492032's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Sequence of tenses in dialogue: why is "No, can't say I had" used in response to "Perhaps you didn't notice?"?

From the movie "No Time to Die": Nomi: The world's moved on since you retired, Commander Bond. Perhaps you didn't notice? Bond: No, can't say I had." Why did Bond use "had" ...
moskit's user avatar
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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 ...
JJ_Doogal's user avatar
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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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If she beats him he'll claim she <cheated/has cheated>

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by H&P (Page 126) has this example of non-deictic past: If she beats him he'll claim she cheated. CaGEL explains this sentence as follows: The time ...
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Why is present simple used here?

We had a sentence in an exam, and we were asked to choose the right tense of the verb, the sentence goes as follows They are having dinner; they (haven't had, don't have) any problems at all. Now ...
Khaled Oqab's user avatar
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68 views

The Present Simple tense use

I would like to know why this tense is used instead of the present continuous in the following examples: As we speak (instead of - as we are speaking) something is taking place He joins us from (...
Beqa's user avatar
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What is the past form of the structure "used to"?

We generally change the tense of the verb and shift back when reporting something (unless it's still true, has just been said, or is a scientific fact). For example, "I was sitting in the car&...
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Can we use "I wish I saw" for a past situation?

In the series F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Joey makes a pass at Rachel because, according to himself, he saw Rachel first. When Rachel rejects and convinces Joey that this would be a mistake, Joey says, "Yeah ...
Askeladd's user avatar
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To be or not to be - read out

I'm not a native speaker in english and writing a short piece about scientific detectors. Every time, an image is taken, there is the process of getting the signal from the device, referred to as "...
Dschoni's user avatar
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Which one would fit better in this context between present continuous and present perfect continuous?

It is from official standard English test. The question is like below. Fitness enthusiasts may feel that their workouts are no longer as effective as they were. When an individual ______________ for ...
genesis's user avatar
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Tense in Academic Writing

What is the correct tense when writing an academic paper? For example, assuming [1] is a reference, are the following sentences correct? Alice et al. [1] showed that ... [1] shows that ... We show ...
fehorak's user avatar
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What is the appropriate pairing of verb forms here?

Here is the sentence: If we all choose a personal or ceramic cup, we could save 40,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Am I wrong to think that "choose" and "could save" are an ...
debbiesym's user avatar
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55 views

What are all the different ways in which we can refer to time in English?

I am trying to wrap my head around the ways in which we can refer to time in English. The following list is what I have been able to come up with: 1- Tense 2- Auxiliary constructions 3- Temporal ...
okk41's user avatar
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Past or present tense - Is or was

Which is correct - is or was missing? My brother told me that one of the keys to the cabinets is missing. My brother told me that one of the keys to the cabinets was missing.
Kelly's user avatar
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110 views

Can "earlier this year" be used with past progressive?

I am struggling with the correct tense for the following sentence: Some of you might know me already as I was interning for six months at this company earlier this year. Since "earlier this year" ...
IggyBlob's user avatar
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199 views

A specific example about past tense in subordinate clause

I've read several posts about "main clause past tense, can I use simple present tense in the subordinate clause?" and I think I get the basic idea. General truth can use present. He didn't know ...
Rick's user avatar
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Will+inf+before+present perfect weird structure?

I just saw this sentence and I didn't get it, The children will dust all the furniture before their mother has finished cooking. I do get the cooking and the dusting, I just don't know when will/...
Mohamed Ouda's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
92 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 ...",...
NSGaga's user avatar
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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 ...
Dominic's user avatar
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"has" versus "have" after the preposition "of"

In the sentences A copy of your documents has been emailed to [email protected]. A copy of your documents have been emailed to [email protected]. I believe the subject is "copy", and since "...
Eric's user avatar
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must have washed downstream VS must have been washed downstream

There are two hikers hiking near a stream. One of them seeing it in says: Look! A miner's old pack and gear! Must have washed downstream! My question is: Is it just a simple passive voice sentence ...
student's user avatar
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appreciate + present continuous

I want to ask someone to send me some information and I think that I have those two options: a) I would appreciate you sending me this information. b) I would appreciate if you sent me this ...
james_SXE's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
138 views

What is the tense of shared in "when shared?"

Consider the sentence "Everything is better when shared with friends." What is the tense of "shared" in this context? It confuses me because the sentence implies that the sharing has not yet happened,...
Mitch Talmadge's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
57 views

Continuous(Progressive) module in Old English

I'm curious as to the origins of the Continuous(progressive) module. Whenever I meet texts emulating old speech, like in: video game RPGs, books like the Saxon Chronicles, Hollywood movies about the ...
Uhtred Ragnarsson's user avatar
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0 answers
43 views

Meaning of present tense

Two questions here. 1) A (high quality and honest) citizen journalist wrote a report on JAN 30, "Yesterday Police announced they were investigating the death as a suicide. The wife of the victim is ...
Svetlana's user avatar
1 vote
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220 views

Use of plural form of auxiliary verb for singular subject

This is an excerpt from an article published on the Nautilus website: ...We in the 21st century would be shocked if an educated adult were unable to identify the continents on a world map, yet we ...
Eru's user avatar
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I've had vs I've been having (+ I've been vs I've)

What's the difference in meaning between the following 2 sentences: I've had a lot of problems this year I've been having a lot of problems this year. Second example: I've been waiting for an hour ...
Milo's user avatar
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