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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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Start + Gerund vs Start + Infinitive: is there a subtle tense difference?

Is there a subtle difference between these fragments: Jack walked over to the car, opened the door, and started to look for the aspirin vial in the glove compartment. Jill looked on skeptically. ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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,...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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575 views

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 ...
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Using the past form of verb “got” with “published”

I am currently having confusion to use or not to use the past form of the verb "get" with the verb "publish", as in: My first article got published in BBC. My first article published in BBC. Is it ...
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A question about usages of 2 tenses

First of all, English is not my native language. My question is about this sentence: "Hakan passes to Cihan and Cihan shoots__and it’s a goal!" Let's say that a presenter is saying this during ...
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37 views

'talking about' vs 'talk about'

I came across the following sentence on the internet: "When we are talking about possession, relationships, illnesses and characteristics of people or things we can use either have or have got." Is ...
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56 views

Can I always replace 2nd conditional with were to + verb

I'm wondering if I can, for most of the times use -> were to + verb to start an if sentece for example: If I were to have money, I would buy a car instead of: If I had money I would buy a car If ...
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Is this sentence grammatically correct

As soon as he noticed that he had made a mistake, he informed his boss about it. I mean for the past perfect tense, we have here 3 actions (verbs) in the past. are the verbs' tense grammatically ...
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Past perfect or not

I have a question about the past perfect. A mother was charged guilty unless at least one person had witnessed that she had given birth or unless the accused could prove that she had made ...
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Someone says vs Someone said in reported speech

Is " someone says something" ( in the present) acceptable, and if yes , when? Let's say I just got off the phone with someone, and they said they wouldn't make it on time. I've got someone in front ...
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Placement of Clause

I want to add this clause in the middle of sentence: ‘as far as I'm concerned.’ Is it wrong to place it between the auxiliary verb and the main verb, or is it only a matter of style? Which of the ...
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73 views

Why is past simple used here?

This is a famous quote that I first encountered while watching the movie "The Usual Suspects": "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." And now I am ...
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Can you switch verb tenses when beginning a new sentence?

Tony had just grabbed another bottle of whiskey when it happened. Dropping it, he reached out and grabbed the closest thing to him, narrowly avoiding falling to the ground. Like going from "grabbed" ...
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Tenses logic understanding

Let's look at Present Simple. As far as I understand there is [almost] no difference between I play this game. I do play this game. The first question: can I form negative sentences this way?...
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Present or Past when talking about a book's content

I came across an English exercise yesterday and I wasn't sure about the answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you. The sentence is as follows: I borrowed a book from the library last ...
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Why is “will” used here instead of “would”?

With luck, in a couple of decades, it will seem embarrassing that anyone had to hold a conference to debate the relevance of competition. (excerpt from The Economist Apr. 12. 2017) Why is "will" ...
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Verb consistency of tense in extended passage

I read this answer on Quora. I wanted to ask about verb consistency because the writer is jumping from past continuous to present then present continuous. How is doing that valid? I was in an Uber ...
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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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534 views

Future continuous “going to”

The future continuous tense is made by combining "will" with "be" + present participle, e.g. He will be speaking. The future simple can use "will" or "going to", i.e. He will speak and He is going to ...
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the use of simple past and the past perfect

the given paragraph is : "The German word was as familiar as it was scary. She heard it often enough before, but it had never been directed at her until now." In the above sentences, I used the past ...
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370 views

Practical English Usage by Swan - tense simplification in subordinate clauses - main verb terminology

in the entry 580.1 "reasons for tense simplification" in Practical English Usage by Michael Swan, he wrote: "If the main verb of a sentence makes it clear what kind of time the speaker is talking ...
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The correctness of chosen items

I faced with interesting (in my opinion) questions. I have an exersice I must choose the correct tenses for: He was going along the beach one day. He (not / look) where he was going. "What (be) this?...
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Can something that “will have been done” happen before the sentence is spoken?

There is a tense (can't remember its name) where in the future, something was done. The form is "< time-in-the-future >, the < noun > will have < verb >-ed". My question is this: might < ...
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Which form of the word should I use?

I'm putting together a report for work. The template I've been given has a blurb already written in which I just insert the proper names for their respective state, and each state gets their own ...
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375 views

Breaking Tense: “May be” vs. “May have been”

This may be simple or trivial, but when writing in the past tense, is it wrong to switch to present tense to use the verb "may be"? Sharon may be irrational, but it was not completely her fault. ...
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Does “I have been waiting for you” mean that “I am still waiting”?

Assume that I was waiting for someone for several hours and finally, he/she arrived to the meeting late. I wonder whether I say "I have been waiting for you", it means that I am still "waiting" or not....
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Correct use of Past perfect in this sentence

Is it correct to say as shown? "The thieves were running with the money they had stolen from the bank."
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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 ...
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Why sometimes the “perfect” aspect denotes something that has finished and sometimes it does not?

I am sorry if I phrased the title in a way that is unclear. I will try to elaborate: Perfect tenses often are taught as expressing something that has been finished, e.g.: He has left >> The "...
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Use of 'for' for an action/state started earlier and still going on

The prepositions for and since are used to indicate the point of start of an activity. While since can be used only in perfect tenses, for can be used in any tenses. As such, is it grammatically and ...
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“Yes, I did” vs “Yes, I have” - Answering with SP when the question is in PP

I was wondering about this for a while now - If I ask someone - "Have you done your HW?" Is the answer must be in perfect or can one answer "yes, I did". "Yes, I have" sounds better to me, but I ...
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I have problem to make this sentence

We have an architectural association named IDER. Our city is named Sirjan. So, how should I bring them together? Is it true to say," IDER's architectural association of Sirjan."?
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got to know / have got to know

I want to say something like I got to know this person, but I'd like to say it using Present Perfect. --> I have got to know this person. But wouldn't it be confusing? I mean, it can be understood as ...
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Why is 'the present simple tense' instead of 'present progressive tense'?

During demonetization in India, I saw on the television that 'people are waiting in a queue for money'. But in that real-time event, the news headline appeared on television as 'People wait in a queue'...
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The proper way to express verb phrase tense

I'm trying to use correct grammar (in source code comments). Are any incorrect, or is one "more correct" than any of the others? for when an exception occurs after WriteContact, which normally takes ...
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Choosing a tense with word before

Both Present Perfect and Past Perfect can be used with before. A. I have done that before, but I don't know what I have done wrong now. B. I had done that before, but I don't know what I have done ...
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Is the use of the present progressive in “We prefer present forms when we are talking about future events …” correct?

We prefer present forms when we are talking about future events that have some present reality. In the above sentence, is the use of the present progressive in the subordinate clause "when we are ...
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57 views

Past perfect after establishing that we are talking about the past

I found this question already, but it doesn't quite answer my question, and examples I got from Googling were typically simple and didn't exist within a paragraph structure. Here is the situation. I'...
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187 views

Why past tense “followed you” in social media?

When you get a new follower in Google+ or LinkedIn it says: XYZ followed you! Why do you use the past tense there as if they now have stopped following you (which would mean the opposite)?
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Tense after “you'd think…”

I'm having a pretty hard time getting my head around the tense (well, not the tense per se, but rather WHY it's used). I thought it conveyed willingness or inclination ("You'd think he'd visit his ...
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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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Does simple “Simple Past” express “Scheduled or Timetabled Future Event in the past” just as “Simple present” does in the present?

Englishpage.com says: USE 3 Scheduled Events in the Near Future Speakers occasionally use Simple Present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when ...