I have a question about the tense to use for the phrase "carry over". Suppose we are talking about a new model of some product:

Some of the features of the new model are/were carried over from the previous model.

Should the past tense or present tense be used? The past tense seems to be the right one, because the act of taking the features of the old model and putting them into the new model is one-time event during the product-design phase. But, a google search shows that the present tense is more common than the past tense. What do native speakers think?

  • I am not native, but I go with are since the sentence seems to present a discussion about a new product. Perhaps, since I prefer to consider "carried over" similar to an adjective.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 19, 2016 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


have been carried over would work if the new model is a model coeval with the speaker's present, and the sentence is not about a new model that was introduced in the past.

This year's model is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Many features of last year's model have been carried over.

The 2006 model was revolutionary. Few features were carried over from the prior year's model.

But simple present is not ruled out:

This year's model is not revolutionary. Steer-by-wire, for example, and swiveling headlights, are carried over from last year's model.

If the focus is on the past decision to carry the features over into the present model:

We wanted to make only evolutionary improvements. Many features were carried over into the present model.

  • So, I was somehow right about considering carried over as an adjective- are carried over ...
    – Cardinal
    Jun 19, 2016 at 12:06
  • 1
    Carried over is what happened to the features. They got carried over. If you wish to regard what happened to the features as a property of the features, I won't try to stop you. Some apples were carried in wicker baskets, others in plastic drums. The plastic-drum-carried apples developed rot.
    – TimR
    Jun 19, 2016 at 12:12

Both are and were are correct, there's no concrete difference there. I like were for the same reason you do.

  • I disagree. For me there certainly is a difference. “Features are” suggests that the newer model is still in some sense current, whereas “features were” suggests that even the newer model is now out of date, or perhaps no longer in production. Admittedly, there are other possibilities: some authors in some contexts use the present tense uniformly. Thus a Wikipedia article, for instance, might begin with, “The Ford Model T is an automobile that was produced…” whereas other people might prefer was. Apr 29, 2023 at 14:41

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