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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32 views

past tense in since-clauses

I have an ongoing discussion with my lecturer about "since" and the past tense. We had a German translation from "A song of ice and fire" and had to translate it back to English. My translation: "He ...
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57 views

What is the correct way to indicate a state which lasted before an action?

I have difficulty understanding the usage of the English Past Tenses. Here's the first sentence and a picture which shows the state and the action in time: I was kind to them for a month before I ...
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33 views

I (had / have had) no idea

Which is correct: I (had / have had) no idea you were such a good chess player. The book said that 'had' is correct, but why? Why the present perfect is not correct?
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138 views

Were married or had been married for 14 years before divorcing in 2016?

Which tense is correct to use? "they were married for 14 years before divorcing in 2016" or "they had been married for 14 years before divorcing in 2016" There's a relative event mentioned, i.e. ...
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1answer
57 views

You do not use 'for' with past simple? Really?

This book (made by a Korean) says you have to use 'since' or 'for' with present perfect, so you can't use 'for' with past simple. Seriously? ಠ‸ಠ (I'm confused) He [worked / has worked] at the same ...
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Past tense and simultaneous events: do you use two Past Progressive or two Past Simple?

I was told that for two simultaneous events occurring in the past, you should use Past Progressive, such as: "While I was setting the table, she was cooking dinner." But that two Past Simple ...
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1answer
37 views

when can we use simple past instead of present perfect?

here are some examples from a grammar book : you can use the present perfect for new information: "I've decided to quit my job." "Really? Why?" We've sold our car. Now we take the bus ...
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29 views

past tense vs present perfect vs past perfect

These are the words spoken by a cinema hero, about fight sequences in a newspaper interview But I have done riskier action scenes in my prime. Why "have done (present perfect format)" is used here?...
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46 views

“everyone has read that book in high school” — “has read” vs. “read”

I feel like virtually everyone has read that book in high school. (The book in question is To Kill a Mockingbird.) Would it be correct to use the simple past here, provided that the speaker has ...
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2answers
66 views

Is it ok to use past simple where past perfect actually would be more precise?

I could say: I had been shown a footage. Or: I was shown a footage. Or: I saw a footage. I still can say about it using past simple, like it happened at some time in the past. Right?
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Our holiday cost a lot of money

Our holiday was cost a lot of money because we stayed in an expensive hotel. vs Our holiday cost a lot of money because we stayed in an expensive hotel. What sentence is correct? If the ...
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2answers
311 views

doubt between Past Continuous and Past Simple

In the book English Grammar In Use by Raymond Murphy they gave the example for Past Continuous - ´Today Helen is wearing a skirt. Yesterday she was wearing trousers´. Please explain to me why it isn´t ...
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20 views

I forgot or I had forgotten in this example?

Example: After leaving the grocery store, it dawned on me that I forgot to buy a cucumber. In my opinion "I forgot" should be "I had forgotten". What is correct?
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32 views

The main differences between Simple Past and Present Perfect

I'm writing this because: I kind of know the differences between them, but, when I see a native speaker or when I see it in a sentence, I get confused; I'm also not confident to know when to use ...
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1answer
31 views

Been there or Were there in this sentence? - Tense-Usage

Look at the bold clause He's been to France. It was fun. Although, he already was/has been here before. Which one should I use? I mean, to me, since the context creates some sort of timeline, I ...
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24 views

Which one to use here? Did not or had not?

Friend: •does something stupid• Me: I did not expect you'd do this. OR I had not expected you to do this I think the act of expecting is happening before the reference point which is when the ...
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33 views

People have traveled to the Moon / People traveled to the Moon

What is difference? Which of sentences is more natural? On the one hand We often use the present perfect to list the accomplishments of individuals and humanity. You cannot mention a specific ...
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1answer
28 views

Why do we express Past Simple Tense in such ways?

At 16, Brian Banks, a star football player on his way to USC, had his life destroyed when he was arrested and charged with rape. Wanetta Gibson, his classmate, falsely accused him of dragging ...
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50 views

which is more common to use?

There is a text book example that says "Why are you so sweaty? I've been cutting the grass." Because the sweating is a consequence of the action of cutting. Can I say: "Because I just cut the grass?...
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29 views

Past simple after 'saw'?

Is it possible to use past simple after verbs like 'see, hear...etc'? The following is a sentence from a school book: The economic success of the 1960s and 1970s saw Arabian Gulf countries ...
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2answers
45 views

Confusion with past and past perfect tense usage

I want to write a narrative in simple past tense. I have some confusion regarding the usage of past and past perfect tense. Kindly read the below narrative and provide guidance. He asked me why I ...
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1answer
48 views

congruence of tenses

A recent exchange between a student and I: ME: I have found a technique for doing …. HER: How have you found it? 
 Why not ask, “How have you found it?” Why is the simple past tense correct, ...
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1answer
36 views

Why do they correct simple past to present perfect here?

I've often found online articles where corrections are made to signify a different tense where I think there's no need to. For example: ... he tells BBC Culture. “... I [have] always felt like they ...
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30 views

Simple Past and Present Perfect in the daily basis

I would like to ask some things about differences between Simple Past and Present Perfect (because I only know how to use them in a few cases and I just only know how to use them grammactly correct, ...
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1answer
33 views

Past Perfect can use specific time?

(https://i.stack.imgur.com/MhBHk.jpg) We ... at the airport at six o'clock    a arrived    b had arrived    c were arriving All my English teachers have told ...
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28 views

Word-usage: “[…] that has had/ had everything…”

Could you guys see this sentence and say if I should use Present Perfect or Past Simple? Haven't you heard the story about a character that has had / had everything and still hasn't been / wasn't ...
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28 views

Phrase-usage: Where has this come from? Or Where did this come from?

Something that is confusing me is: Hey dude, Where has this come/ did this come from? I know how to use Present Perfect, but, I don't know if using here sounds natural. Can I use both? But, of ...
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38 views

Sentence-Usage : “How long has this been empty for?” Or “How long was this empty for?”

I'm asking this because I have a feeling that if I say How long has this been empty for? , It would be like an ongoing action. For example: A: How long has the dog's bowl been empty for? For ...
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1answer
30 views

“What is the price of the phone you bought” or “What was the price of the phone you bought”?

Is there any difference in meaning between the following sentences? What is the price of the phone you bought? What was the price of the phone you bought? I think that the first sentence ...
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1answer
43 views

As a child, I never saw/have seen this movie, and I still feel sad for that

I know that the Present Perfect is used for events which: occurred in an imprecise point of the past and are "connected with the present". However, this last definition seems vague and subjective ...
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1answer
46 views

“it has been been…today” vs. “It was…today”

Edited Is it correct to the say: It has been been attempted to deliver today. My concern here is that I have mentioned “today “ so I think I have to use past simple always. Is it? It was attempted ...
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72 views

Verb + ed for Present Tense

Is the sentence below in present tense or past tense? I just entered my house. If we give context to the above sentence, can we fit this in both the tenses? a) I just entered my house to see ...
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42 views

The difference between Past Simple vs Past Continuous vs Used to & every day

Which tense should I use if I was on holidays which lasted 2 weeks and during that time I rode a bike every day? It was a great time because I rode a bike every day. It was a great time ...
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If we used or if we have used

I'm wondering which one of these two sentences is correct? And if they both are correct, then what's the difference between them? For displacement maps we use 32 bit depth images in order to avoid ...
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1answer
75 views

“I have known her since I lived there” vs “I have known her since I have lived there”

What is the difference in meaning between the following sentences? I have known her since I lived in the street. I have known her since I have lived in the street. In Swan's 4th edition of ...
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2answers
57 views

Past Simple without specified time

I saw the following two sentence: The oldest person I met was 90 years old. Is it correct? Or would it be better as: The oldest person I've met was 90 years old.
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What is the difference in meaning between the grammar structure “it is nice doing something” and “it is nice to be doing something”?

What is the differnce in meaning between the following sentences? It is nice working with John. It is nice to be working with John.
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The difference between the past simple and the past continuous in context [duplicate]

Tell me please the difference in meaning between the following sentences. I watched TV while Kate did the dishes. I was watching while Kate was doing the dishes. Help me please to see the ...
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1answer
47 views

Why is it more natural to say “when I had opened the windows, I sat down and had a cup of tea” than "when I opened…? [duplicate]

The book Practical English Usage by Michael Swan says that the sentence When I had opened the windows, I sat down and had a cup of tea. is more natural than When I opened the windows, I sat ...
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2answers
49 views

Developed an application

Let's assume that an employee wrote the following sentence in the weekly report: Developed an application [doing something useful] Does this sentence mean that an application is ready? Or does it ...
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1answer
42 views

Present Perfect / Simple Past and “to come”

The difference between Present Perfect and Simple Past is that the first is somehow connected to the present and the latter is not. However, it seems to me that "connected to the present' is a little ...
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1answer
72 views

“Lived” or “have lived”?

Complete the following sentence : I live in New York, but I ___________ (live) in Mexico for many years. what should we use "lived" or "have lived" and why ? what is the difference in meaning ? ...
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3k views

What is the difference between “he was saying”, “he says” and “he said”?

Are there any shades of meaning between the use of the past continuous, present simple and past simple in the following sentences? He was saying that he is going to leave soon. He says that he ...
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1answer
37 views

Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past in my sentence

Which one should I use? I've read The Little Prince, Chapter XVIV. It has been pretty good - It has been about [...] Or I've read the Little Prince, chapter XVIV. It was pretty good - It was ...
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1answer
44 views

What makes a sentence complete in the English language?

Is the following a complete sentence : I played soccer with my friends In my language which is Arabic, it's a fully meaningful sentence. Is it the same in English?
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33 views

Is it better to use simple past or present perfect for a future event?

If any man hurts my daughter, I will hurt him as much as he has hurt her Could it be past simple as at the time of writing the hurting if there was one, it would be finished and hopefully would ...
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30 views

Present simple and Past simple: exported or exports?

I have a question that makes me confused for a long time. In the speaking test at school, I said: "India exported the most rice in the world". Then, my teacher said I should use: "India exports the ...
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1answer
86 views

Why was the simple past instead of the present perfect used?

I have found the following sentence in Michael Swan's grammar book. From his earliest childhood, he loved music. So far as I know, present perfect is used to talk about actions that have just ...
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1answer
133 views

Is it correct to say “I wasn't finished”?

I can realize that (was/were + p.p) is simple past passive ,But in this case (I wasn't finished) I can't realize to be the object ,How can I be finished , What does that mean ? When I studied simple ...
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1answer
22 views

Past continuous and simple past

Yesterday Sue was walking along the road when she met James. He ......... (go) to the station to catch a train and he was carrying a bag. They stopped to talk for a few minutes. Which one is correct ,...