Can we use "now" with simple past tense? For example, Let's say someone is trying to show me something, but I can't see it. Right after seeing it, can I say, "Ok. I saw it now"?

2 Answers 2


You could but it's not very formal. You might hear this in informal/regional usage or you could use it to establish a character's dialect, but it's not "good English".

If you have just seen it but you are no longer looking at it it would be better expressed as...

  • I saw it just now
  • I just saw it
  • I've just seen it
  • Now I've seen it

If something has just come in to view and you're still looking at it

  • I see it now
  • Now I see it
  • I now see it (very formal)

But (and this is a stretch) if

  • you were a time traveler trying to remember when you first saw something and you went back in time to the first time you saw the thing
  • you were watching yourself on a CCTV recording of you seeing a thing

I guess you might say Ok, I saw it now.

  • Good answer you may want to incorporate some of Foogod's observation in the comments that explain OK, I saw it now, could be used when you have re-watched something several times in an attempt to see something you previously missed and you finally do see it -- a variation of, I saw it this time.
    – EllieK
    Sep 1, 2022 at 13:24
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    Even in the case EllieK describes I would say OK, I see it now or just Ok, I saw it. I think this use of see drifts in to a slightly different meaning of to see something, closer to saying I understand now or i get it now. I watched the film once and I didn't see the foreshadowing, but I watched it again yesterday and I SEE IT NOW. Jan 16, 2023 at 8:56

Right after seeing it, can I say, "Ok. I saw it now"?

Yes, but keep in mind it would be a shortcut for saying "Ok. If someone were to ask you if I have seen it, you can now say yes".

If you are supposed to keep looking at this thing with the person showing it to you, rather than simply complete the task of seeing it, you should say "Ok. I see it now."

  • Lots of people would say: I saw it just now, meaning a few moments ago - although this may be part of my South African upbringing. Jun 5, 2020 at 16:23
  • @LawrenceC Thank you. So you think it is okay if we use "now"with simple past tense, right? Jun 5, 2020 at 17:30
  • 1
    I actually don't entirely agree with this. If what you mean to say is "if someone were to ask you if I have seen it, you can now say yes", I think that would normally be expressed as "I have seen it now", not "I saw it now". If what you mean is "I saw it, and the time I saw it was just a moment ago", then you could say "I saw it just now" (which is very standard, I think, not just a South African thing).
    – Foogod
    Apr 22, 2021 at 20:30
  • 1
    To me, "I saw it now" actually means "I saw it this time", that is, it would be used if there is something which has occurred several times, and you did not see when it happened previously, but you did see it on the most recent occurrence (which just happened).
    – Foogod
    Apr 22, 2021 at 20:37

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