I get always confused with the possibility to use verb + ed for the future. The text I'm writing brings the same problem and I'm not sure if I do a mistake if I write:

"Once we receive and review it, we will confirm your order by e-mail."

rather than

"Once we received and reviewed it, we will confirm your order by e-mail."

Which one is correct - can anyone please explain me the rule of how to use verb+ed in this case?

1 Answer 1


Your first version is acceptable, but the second is not.

I think what may be confusing you is the fact that regular verbs in English use the -ed form for two different entities:

  • The simple past tense ...

    We received your order yesterday.

  • The past participle, which is used with the auxiliary have in perfect constructions:

    We have received your order and will ship today.

In the sentence you are trying to write, the subordinate clause beginning once is related to the main clause we will confirm..., but it is not expressed with a future construction because it is an event which much occur before the action of the main clause. Consequently you may use either the simple present tense, as in your first example, or a present perfect construction:

Once we have received and reviewed it, we will confirm your order by e-mail.

  • @StoneyB, Can we say that present perfect sounds a little more formal in this example?
    – Arman
    Sep 15, 2016 at 14:56
  • 1
    @ArmanMcHitarian e h . . . Not really. A little more precise, perhaps: it says unambiguously that we won't confirm your order until after we finish receiving and reviewing it. But there's little or no room for ambiguity in this case. Sep 15, 2016 at 15:33
  • @StoneyB, Thanks for the quick reply. One more thing, would you prefer one over the other in formal text, such as emails to your customers or some sort of user-manual or documentation?
    – Arman
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:13
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    @ArmanMcHitarian In an email, it depends on why I'm telling the customer all this. In a manual I'd probably tell the user something like "As soon as you get the order review it and send the customer a confirmation if everything's in order." Sep 15, 2016 at 16:30

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