A: Would you like to try some pizza? B: Mm, it tastes good.

In the above example, clearly B has tasted the pizza, I am wondering why B says "It tastes good" rather than "It tasted good" since the action happened in the past. Or is it because B is stating the present status of the pizza? If so, does "It tasted good" make sense?

  • 4
    In a very technical sense, yes, the action happened in the past: B put the pizza in his mouth, chewed it, and swallowed it, and now that is done. But there is still more pizza, right? So he's making a statement about the qualities of the pizza, not about the way the pizza tasted in his mouth at the moment he was eating it.
    – stangdon
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 16:50

6 Answers 6


While eating a pizza, one would say

it tastes good

present and continuous tense since the pizza is still being eaten

One could also say

That first bite tasted good

since the first bite was already finished.

After the pizza is finished, one would say

It tasted good

simple past is appropriate.

  • 2
    I think you haven't gone far enough—for a comprehensive answer, there needs to be a discussion of why English often uses the present tense for something that can appear to have occurred in the past. For example, a non-native might say "I liked it!" when a native might say "I like it!" The difference is about state vs. action, which you haven't elucidated at all. Consider, Q: "Did you like the cake's taste?" A: "It tastes good!" actually makes sense, even though A: switches from the particular act of tasting to the global/persistent quality/ state of the particular shop's cake's taste.
    – ErikE
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 20:03
  • There is a sense, in state concept expression in English, of the statement's truth extending into the future: "It tastes good" allows as how the taste of that particular pizza, or even that kind of pizza, or maybe any pizza at all, or even just a class of food such as Italian (or whatever the contextual cues indicate is the context), is good and generally liked by the speaker. Switching to simple past is not incorrect, but it has a different meaning than the present tense, spoken after the fact.
    – ErikE
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 20:06
  • 1
    The "state" form may also be applied in cases where it describes continuing expectations: saying the pizza at Joe's Pizza Emporium tastes really good" doesn't necessarily mean that one is eating it at the moment, but rather that the place is in the habit of serving tasty pizza.
    – supercat
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 3:37

it tastes good describes a state.
The simple form with this verb is used since it's a state verb.
We can't use a continuous form since it doesn't describe an action. For instance, it's tasting good.

However, if you want to add a dynamic sense, you can say I'm tasting the pizza.

Saying it tasted good means the action was completed in the past and no relevance with the present is made.

  • The next time I am eating pizza, I will be sure to declare, "My friends, I am tasting the pizza!"
    – Jason C
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 19:37

"It tastes good"

tastes: present simple. It always tastes good.

"It tasted good"

tasted: past tense. It tasted good in the past.

Possible scenarios

"I bought pizza again, because last time I bought it it tasted good. However, this time I did not like it."

"I didn't buy pizza, because pizza tastes good, but ice-cream tastes better!"


"Tastes" is third person present tense while "tasted" is past tense.

Two scenarios for the present tense:

1) You are currently eating a pizza: "This pizza tastes good."

2) You are commenting on how you presently feel about pizza in general: "Do you like pizza?" "Yes, pizza tastes good."

But in cases that refer to an event that obviously happened in the past and is no longer occurring: "The pizza I ate yesterday tasted good." or "The pizza I just ate tasted good."


English permits both, with a very tiny shade of meaning difference. If you used one when the other was "better," you'd typically get away with it.

From the most technical approach possible, one might have to say "It tasted good," because the act of eating occurred in the past, and that's technically when the tasting occurred. However, there are a few reasons we might use the present tense anyway.

The first reason is if we wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's still pizza. If you started with a whole pizza and ate two slices, you might say "It tastes good." You could do this because you are actually talking about the pizza as a whole, and inferring the whole pizza is good because the two slices you ate were good.

There is also another usage that I see but don't have any references for. I'll leave it to the comments and voting to see if it is reasonable. I have noticed that native English speakers will often use the present tense when describing things associated with a past event if the emotional content of the event is still fresh. If you just ate two slices of the best pizza you ever had, and have this huge satisfied grin on your face, you might reply with "It tastes good" because that taste is still lingering in your mind.

We see a similar pattern with pain. If you had a nasty breakup, and someone asked you how you felt about it, you might say "It hurt." Doing so would imply that it hurt back then, but you're over it now. You also might reply in the present with, "It hurts." That would imply that the emotional content of that breakup is still lingering in your mind, hurting you to the present day.


It is implied that the speaker is talking generally about pizza, not a specific instance. Imagine if he said this:

Mmmm, in general, it tastes good.


Mmmm, in general, it tasted good. -- Doesn't make sense when talking generally.

Hope it helps.

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