Questions tagged [past-simple]

Questions related to the past simple, simple past or preterite, which is mainly used to describe events in the past.

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I slipped/have slipped on... I think I broke/have broken my

The following is from a movie called "Home Abduction" (here's a link to that moment on YouTube): Woman #2 goes upstairs. Woman #1 is waiting for her downstairs. Woman #1 hears woman #2 ...
prof1589's user avatar
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3 answers
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Why does this native english speaker on TV use Present Perfect in her sentence that contains "years ago"? --- "She has given up years ago."

This native english speaker is telling about how she has quit 40-year habit of smoking. She says: "Linda, my sister, used to smoke. She has given up years ago, years ago." ITV-Coleen quit 40-...
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used to vs. simple past for past daily routines

I came across this video on Instagram where a teacher says this sentence is wrong: When I was a kid, I went to the gym every day. and must be replaced by: When I was a kid, I used to go to the gym ...
Englishfreak's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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I never wanted this watch

I never wanted this watch. I’ve never wanted this watch. I’ve heard sentences like (1) very often by natives and they really use the past simple to say the same thing as the present perfect (If I am ...
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John has finished sawing a board (present tense narrative)

Man #2 is about to start winding up a cord when man #1 comes up to him. They have the following conversation (here's a link to the video on YouTube): Man #1: "What are you doing?" Man #2: &...
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He [had] promised to help, but he [has] bailed out on us

John promises Bob and Bill that he will help them, but then he simply doesn't turn up at the agreed time. Bob calls Peter (who cannot answer the call at the moment) and leaves him a voice message: 1. ...
prof1589's user avatar
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How did you know I wrote/had written it

In a classroom, one student (A) to another (B): A: You wrote it on the board, right? B1: I'm surprised! How did you know I wrote it. B2: I'm surprised! How did you know I had written it. What's the ...
Mr. X's user avatar
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Would it be idiomatic to use past perfect in "I forgot I (had) promised"?

The following is from a movie on YouTube called "Daughter Kidnapped" (a link to that moment): Ally is Paige's Daughter. Ally's father has died recently. Diane is the owner of a farm in the ...
prof1589's user avatar
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What do I have to use "I had to" or "I have to"?

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 ...
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I found out that a new restaurant has opened

On the way home from work, Sarah noticed a new restaurant a couple of blocks from her house. When she came home, she said to her husband: 1. I found out that a new restaurant has opened in our ...
prof1589's user avatar
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Following the present perfect (I've cooked) with the simple past (I didn't make)

John gets up later than his wife does because his work day starts later than his wife's. His wife always cooks him breakfast before leaving for work. This time she's cooked him some mashed potato and ...
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The past continuous with an anchor

1 I played yesterday 2 I was playing yesterday We use 1 when we refer to what we did we do not need to add anything to 1 to be correct. When it comes to 2 when it's on its own then it's grammaticlly ...
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Past simple and continuous.88

When I ask my friend about their previous day I could say What did you do yesterday? And he could answer I played, watched and ate. Could I say : What were you doing yesterday? And he answers I was ...
train bee 282's user avatar
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Stating facts with past continuous

When I just state a fact, I make no store is it possible to use the past continuous I was working there for 5 months or only I worked there for 5 months is natural?
train bee 282's user avatar
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Retreating Polish troops blew/have blown up the bridge [duplicate]

I was watching a World War II documentary, and I came across this scenario (which I've now changed a little bit for the purpose of contrasting the present perfect with the simple past). Context #1: ...
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Past Simple for non-sequential events

Are these sentences idiomatic; do they imply the order of events? It did not arrive yesterday when I checked. Is it idiomatic? Do we understand that the checking happened after the non-arrival? ...
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slept for 50 minutes or had been sleeping for 50 minutes

"I went to my cousin's room and I slept on the couch there for 50 minutes and then my aunt woke me up" or "I went to my cousin's room and I had been sleeping on the couch there for 50 ...
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How to use the past continuous [duplicate]

I worked there for two months When it comes to this sentence there is no Reason to use the past continuous unless i want to emphasize the lenght, right? I went to school when I was little Is it ...
train bee 282's user avatar
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A tragic bus accident has happened

John's brother Peter lives in city X. He gets on a bus which later crashes into a dump truck. Shortly after the accident, he calls John and tells him that he's been severely injured. John gets upset ...
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Past Perfect vs Past Simple in "We [had] lived in Cracow for ten years before we moved to Hong Kong."

We had lived in Cracow for ten years before we moved to Hong Kong. OR We lived in Cracow for ten years before we moved to Hong Kong. In my opinion Past Perfect is more suitable here as the first part ...
Roro's user avatar
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Using past perfect after past simple with specific reference point/time

May I please ask if the sentence below is correct. On 20th December 2023 the company announced that the bargain has been completed. If yes, I do not understand why does not the author use "had&...
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Is past simple possible in "Today I learned that you (had) released an LP"?

I bought the single when it was out almost 4 years ago and since then I have always played it , still one of my faves . Today I learned that you (had) released an LP and but it seems to be sold out ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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"L'Oréal did not immediately respond…" Since there is still no response, why does BBC use simple past?

"L'Oréal did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment." (BBC: Françoise Bettencourt Meyer: L'Oréal heiress first woman to amass $100bn fortune) When you read the text, you ...
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Regarding the shift from Present Perfect to Past Simple

If in the second of the two sentences, "Mrs. Jervis, thank you for all your kindness. Heaven reward you for the good you have done me.", the "have done me" part gets changed into &...
Fallen Empire's user avatar
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Which tense should I use: "My teacher was…" or "is"?

If someone has graduated and is talking about his teacher in high school, is the tense used correctly in the following sentence: My English teacher is a very nice person; he not only taught us ...
ForOU's user avatar
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Have you been learning French since you were a kid? ---> in the past

If the person you're talking about or your interlocutor is alive and still learning a language, you can say: Have you been learning French since you were a kid? My brother has been learning Italian ...
IlyaTretyakov's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
126 views

Past perfect + Past Simple in indirect speech

Could someone please explain why don't we use Past Perfect twice in this sentence? She told me that a man in a black mask had come up to her and mugged her just in the middle of the street. I ...
Alexander_M's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

"The job springboarded him into the profession at which he <would eventually excel> <eventually excelled>."— Why can we need the variant with "would"?

oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com: (1) The job springboarded him into the profession at which he would eventually excel. my subsidiary example: (1a) The job springboards him into the profession at which ...
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What Is the Scope of the Past Perfect?

(Post copied, with minor alterations, from English Language & Usage on suggestion from a user.) Recently, I’ve been editing a piece of writing written in first-person present tense. The narrator ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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Fill in the blanks with Simple Past or Present Perfect Tense

It is Teachers' Day today, and so far, Sarah (receive) _____ three presents. Her class (give) _____ her a plant and two of her students (give) _____ her individual gifts. I am sure that the first ...
loloist's user avatar
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"How did you get in here? Security!" vs "How have you gotten in here? Security!"

I have been doing some exercises on Past Simple vs Present Perfect as that's the topic that gives me the most troubles... and I can't comprehend why this sentence is correct? "How did you get in ...
Celebes's user avatar
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1 answer
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"while I was in Rome I ate pasta" or "I have eaten pasta"?

What's the correct sentence? a) I have been to Rome and while I was there I ate pasta. b) I have been to Rome and while I was there I have eaten pasta. Thanks
Khaled Farid's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
360 views

I hope you (have) found this useful

In an answer to this question, "I hope you enjoyed..." vs "I hope you have enjoyed...", the following is stated: Both tenses refer to an event that occurred in the past (the ...
wthlolbbq's user avatar
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1 answer
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Who's planning ahead? [Context in description]

Tyler went to buy groceries because he was running out of food. Robin went to buy groceries because he had run out of food. Who is planning ahead? Why? Answer was Tyler but I didn't understand this ...
Kaveh Behnia 's user avatar
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3 answers
167 views

will have said VS. would say

ex) I can't think why he was willing to say that it was my fault. Now, for the purpose of making a sentence to have the same meaning of the example sentence, I would like to use modal auxiliary verb '...
gonju yi's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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"I wasn't listening to what the teacher was saying"? "I didn't listen to what the teacher was saying"?

We often avoid repeating the continuous form, do we? Like you say What do you think you are doing? instead of What are you thinking you are doing? How about the following sentences? I wasn't ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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1 vote
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Which one is correct went or I've gone? [In the context below]

A: Shall I make us some dinner? It's already eight o'clock. B: No, thanks. I['ve gone] to the dentist this afternoon and my mouth hurts too much to eat anything It was a test and the correct answer ...
Kaveh Behnia 's user avatar
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Can we change places of the past simple and past continuous? Is it always idiomatic?

Can we change places of the past simple and past continuous? Is it always idiomatic? I was walking home when I met Dan. I met Dan when I was walking home. When I met Dan, I was walking home. When I ...
Sergei's user avatar
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1 vote
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I was enjoying the party but she wanted to go home

I was enjoying the party, but she wanted to go home. It's known that "want" isn't used in Progressive tenses. So, we can't say how long she wanted to go home during the party. We don't know ...
Sergei's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
194 views

Simple Past and Past Progressive - both possible in cases with defined period of time - Thomson (1986) says it should be Simple Past

I believe that the past progressive tense can be used with defined periods of time. However, A Practical English Grammar (A.J. Thomson, 1986) says that the simple past tense is used for well-defined ...
JoHKa's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
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'was' vs 'have been'

What's the difference? I was at home all day and I've been at home all day Google translate doesn't see the difference.
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They hadn't finished playing by 18.00. vs They didn't finish playing by 18.00

They hadn't finished playing by 18.00. They didn't finish playing by 18.00. I have my own explanation what the difference is between past perfect and simple past when we use the tenses in such ...
Sergei's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Why is Past Perfect used here?

This is an excerpt from "The Moon and Sixpence", by W Somerset Maugham, the very beginning of chapter 18: had this in my workbook as an example of a specific use of past perfect (the use i ...
cocoabough's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
32 views

Past simple tense or Present perfect

Jessica (came/has come) back from work and she's exhausted. He (sold/has sold) his car. Someone bought it last week. Looks like both are correct but I should choose only one.
user492754's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is it have or had in this question?

Is it "have" or "had" in this question? And why? Did they get married and have a child? Or Did they get married and had a child? I know statement form can be used in questions in ...
Pumpkin cake's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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AmE_ thank you + simple past or present perfect

Context: I am a new student of a class. There is a friend, she has always helped me since I joined the class. Now I am still in the same class with her. I feel grateful and just want to say thank you ...
LE HANH's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Past Simple with Never?

I came across a question in an English practice workbook like this: I'm exhausted because I've worked/I've been working in a restaurant for the past three weeks. I've never realized/I never realized ...
meepyer's user avatar
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AmE_ she (went out)/ (has gone out) to the supermarket

I know that AmE speakers tend to use the simple past in situations in which we should use the present perfect. I would like to ask if in the US, natives would use simple past in this context: A ...
LE HANH's user avatar
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0 answers
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Lest we forget, many large conflicts (have) started over small, insignificant areas

dictionary.com: (1) Lest we forget, many large conflicts have started over small, insignificant areas. my variant: (2) Lest we forget, many large conflicts started over small, insignificant areas. The ...
Loviii's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
232 views

"Where did […]?" versus "Where have […]?"

My friend planned to visit my country for a week. Now it is his 3rd day he has been in my country. I want to know which places (did he visit)/(has he visited), so that I can recommend him other places ...
LE HANH's user avatar
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