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What is the difference between the following 2 sentences.

The first:

To solve the problem I have to create a new file.

The second:

To solve the problem I had to create a new file.

The context where the sentence must be written is: "I have already found a solution of a problem, and I'm describing the steps needed by this solution".

Is more correct the use of the past (I had to) or the present (I have to)?


EDIT: I have written this question because I was thinking about a translation provided by google translate and in this case Google was right because it has used the past while, in my text, I have used the present.
Sometimes google translate provides translations not correct so, before making corrections on my text, I have written this question.

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    Are you describing the way you will solve the problem, or the way you have already solved it? Commented Feb 15 at 11:44
  • @Kate Bunting I have already solved the problem so the right sentence I think is To solve the problem I had to create a new file. Thanks.
    – User051209
    Commented Feb 15 at 12:58
  • Yes, that's right. Commented Feb 15 at 13:07
  • 1
    [Please note the question form in English: What do I have to use etc.,? not what I have to use]
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 15 at 14:45
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    A translation. Please check your nouns.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 15 at 15:08

1 Answer 1

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To solve the problem I have to create a new file.

Means you are doing it now or will do before the problem is solved.

To solve the problem I had to create a new file.

Means you already did it sometime in the past. Simple examples of present and past tenses.

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  • Could you explain me a possible reason because someone has downvoted my question. If I understood that, in the future I'll avoid to make question not suited for this Site. Thank you
    – User051209
    Commented Feb 15 at 14:45
  • @User051209 Only the person who downvoted can explain, but here is my best guess: you did not say why you thought the present tense could be correct, and you did not say what research you did before asking the question.
    – YonKuma
    Commented Feb 15 at 14:51

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