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There are times where I am unable to tell when should I use present/past tense for such sentences.

Can anyone explain when/how should I apply the correct tense when dealing with interrogative sentences?

  1. "I never take this for granted" or "I never took this for granted"?
  2. "Did you take the keys" or "Did you took the keys"?
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  • "took did this" ??? – macraf Nov 10 '15 at 4:51
  • Another one in the question body... – macraf Nov 10 '15 at 5:39
  • "I never take" and "I never took" mean completely different things. And "Did you took" is just wrong: tense applies only to one verb; the main verb with an tensed auxiliary is always infinitive. – Andrew Leach Nov 10 '15 at 7:34
  • @AndrewLeach Always non-finite. I was sleeping and it's been stolen have non-finite lexical verbs, but they're not infinitives. – snailplane Nov 10 '15 at 7:55
  • @snailboat Not enough coffee. But at least it was a comment which was nearly right, and not an answer. – Andrew Leach Nov 10 '15 at 8:18
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  1. Granted

    "I never take this for granted" means you (as a habit or usually) do not take (this thing or things similar to this) for granted.

    I never take people's company for granted.

    "I never took this for granted" means this particular (act or favour or thought being discussed) was never before taken for granted.

    John said, "I never took your company for granted."

  2. Did take

    DID (Past tense of DO) is a helping verb that assists the main verb TAKE (present tense of TOOK) in this sentence.

    • DID + (present tense) = Past tense
    • DID + eat = ate
    • DID + drink = drank

    So, a better way to say it would be "Did you take the keys?" or "Who took the keys?"

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  • I read in some grammar books stating that sentences should be in 1 tense. It is bad writing Example I never take people's company for granted. take is in present tense granted is in past tense – ilovetolearn Nov 10 '15 at 10:02
  • @optimus, "Granted" is not a verb in past tense. It's a past participle. It plays the role of an adjective. For instance, you can say, "I never take him for a fool", or, "Take this for what it's worth". "Take {smth} for..." is a special construct. – Victor Bazarov Nov 10 '15 at 19:59

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