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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52
votes
4answers
23k views

I'm being corrected “I had a headache yesterday” vs “I have had a headache yesterday”

My friend asked me just today, "Hey, how are you?" I said, "Tired, sleepy, and can't concentrate on my work." He then asked, "Why so?" Here is where the interesting part starts. I ...
15
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3answers
215k views

“Did you watch this movie?” or “Have you watched this movie?”

What is the difference between Did you watch this movie? and Have you watched this movie?
13
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5answers
6k views

“Tea drinking” vs. “tea drunk” in this context

Which of these two is preferred? A: Tea drinking is a British custom B: Tea drunk is a British custom P.S. What is it called when we say tea drinking instead of drinking tea? Also, can we ...
11
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3answers
2k views

“I built a giant house of playing cards an hour ago”

I built a giant house of playing cards an hour ago. Given that building it took many hours (say, three), does the sentence mean that: I finished building a giant house of playing cards an hour ago....
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the present perfect ok in “We have seen them in 2011”?

Please look at the following emphasized sentence taken from the news Curfew without end. Neither of these — the government’s curfew and restrictions, or the protest programmes of the secessionist ...
10
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7answers
6k views

“It'd been… since”

I've been working on these sentence structures lately: It has been... since... It had been... since... I've learned that we can use past simple and present perfect after since with "it has been" ...
9
votes
3answers
373 views

Past Perfect or Past Simple?

Which is more correct: Recently I was hungry or Recently I have been hungry I think that the second variant is more correct. Could you please explain to me what do you think about it. Thank ...
9
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1answer
1k views

“Did you already…?” and “Have you already…?”

Is there any semantic difference between "Did you already" and "Have you already" questions? For example: 1a) Did you already do your homework? 1b) Have you already done your ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Is “I never saw him yesterday” grammatical?

Is "I never saw him yesterday" grammatical, used to mean that "at no point in time in yesterday did I see him"? Does the sentence sound weird to a native speaker of AmE?
8
votes
5answers
150k views

“I made it” vs. “I've made it”

If I want to say that I was able to accomplish something, when should I say "I made it", and when should I say "I've made it"? What's the difference between the two forms? Please give me a long ...
8
votes
1answer
742 views

“Dostoyevsky is a Russian writer. He has written Crime and Punishment.” - or is it “he wrote”? [duplicate]

Which of the two sentences would look more natural in this short text: Dostoyevsky is a famous Russian writer. He has written Crime and Punishment. or Dostoyevsky is a famous Russian writer. He ...
7
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1answer
1k views

“I have ridden a rollercoaster and now I'm dizzy” - correct or not?

I am not a native English speaker, and the sentence in the title came up yesterday when I was talking with my friend (who is a native English speaker) about English grammar. Consider the sentence ...
6
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2answers
3k views

weren't playing vs didn't play

Did your team win the football match yesterday? The weather was very bad, so we weren't playing. vs The weather was very bad, so we didn't play. Is the first one not correct? Why is it?
6
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1answer
11k views

… I was being! / what does it mean?

I could hardly believe how bold I was being! I got detention because a teacher said I was being contumacious ..... What does the word being here mean ? and what are the tenses in these sentences ...
6
votes
1answer
529 views

Why is the Past Perfect not used here?

A quote from The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain: A devout lady who died, left money and contracted for unlimited masses for the repose of her soul, and also stipulated that this lamp should be ...
6
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3answers
2k views

Formal explanation vs daily use and context: “Jack … in New York for ten years. Now he lives here”

Murphy's Intermediate Grammar test: Jack ____ in New York for ten years. Now he lives here. lived has lived has been living Use of "has" and "has been" in English is pretty ...
5
votes
1answer
72k views

“was created” vs “has been created”

When I create something in the past and do not mention the time, the first thing that comes to my mind is: Present Prefect (PP) I'd use the PP to describe an action when the time is not important and ...
5
votes
3answers
71k views

Should I use the past simple “I learned”, or the present perfect “I've learned”?

Please explain which is correct: I've learned to ride a bicycle when I was five I learned to ride a bicycle when I was five For me both of them are correct.
5
votes
2answers
22k views

I lived Vs. I was living

In 1999, I was living in Cuba. In 1999, I lived in Cuba. Do both sentences seem grammatically correct? My teacher had told that the first sentence, which is with past continuous, is incorrect. ...
5
votes
2answers
113k views

'Have just finished' vs. 'Just finished': What is the difference?

I have just finished my homework. I just finished my homework. I think there must be a difference in meaning. Could anyone tell me the difference in meaning sentence 1 and sentence 2?
5
votes
1answer
187 views

past simple or present perfect progressive with recently

I have been listening to it a lot recently and everytime I've thought: what a great album. or I listened to it a lot recently and I thought: What a great album. Which sentence is better? I think ...
5
votes
3answers
239 views

For or Since or Nothing

Following situation is given: Sue has been in France for the last three weeks. I have to repeat this sentence using, "She went ...", I would say something like this: "She went to France three ...
4
votes
3answers
10k views

Have helped/helped in “Lots of people ____ us last year”

There are many confusing questions in Present Perfect vs. Past Simple debates, but one thing was always clear to me - if we refer to the past and use such phrases as "last week", "last year", etc. we ...
4
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2answers
5k views

Using Simple Present Tense for general truth in the past

Okay, I know it may sounds silly but I just can't get this question out of my head. So one of the functions of simple present tense is to state general truths. Like, "The sun rises from the east," ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

When can I use present perfect for old events?

In English Grammar in Use, it is said that we have to use past simple instead of present perfect for things that are not recent or new: Use the past simple (not the present perfect) for things that ...
4
votes
2answers
321 views

Is the following usage of past progressive correct?

What is the difference between the past continuous and the simple past usage of these sentences? They were fighting Nazis for three days. And They fought Nazis for three days. Can ...
4
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2answers
36k views

tense usage: “It has been (is) two weeks since I've seen (last saw) you”

A. It is two weeks since I've seen you. B. It has been two weeks since I've seen you. C. It is two weeks since I(last) saw you. Would you please show me which of the sentences would be correct, and ...
4
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1answer
14k views

“Before last year” vs “the year before last”

I finished school the year before last. I finished school before last year. Is there any difference between these phrases?
4
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1answer
221 views

Question format using did

Is there any meaning difference in below questions? a) Which movie you saw yesterday? b) Which movie did you see yesterday?
4
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2answers
1k views

is “folded” a verb or adjective?

Do the following sentences have the same voice form? Are they passive? And do they use the same tense? simple past? The clothes were folded and the room was cleaned. The clothes were folded by ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Didn't or haven't or hadn't

I'm trying to write a sentence but can't decide which is the correct form: For anyone who didn't notice, he is tall. For anyone who hasn't noticed, he is tall. For anyone who hadn't noticed,...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

“Have ever done before” or “ever did before”

What is the difference between a) I've done a lot of exercise in my life, but I've done more in the last few days than I've ever done before. b) I've done a lot of exercise in my life, but I've done ...
4
votes
3answers
21k views

Semantic difference: “What have you expected?” vs. “What did you expect?”

I'm wondering what the semantic difference is between these sentences: What have you expected? and What did you expect? In both questions we are talking about the past, and both are translated ...
4
votes
5answers
143 views

Is it better to use past simple in that case

Apologies about this. Unfortunately nothing showed up regarding the order until recently. I will get the single packed and sent to you this week. I was wondering if past perfect can fit because "...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

“I didn't know Ed was Welsh” or “I didn't know Ed is Welsh”? [duplicate]

I came across these two sentences and asked myself whether I could always use both versions: I didn't know Ed was Welsh. Did you know that Cliff's wife is Canadian? Both relates to someone's ...
4
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3answers
1k views

“running for an hour ” scenarios

I would like to ask which sentences would a native speaker use for the following scenarios : You have been running for an hour and then you bump into your friends.You both keeps on running without ...
3
votes
2answers
998 views

“have despatched…yesterday” vs. “despatched … yesterday” [duplicate]

I have a doubt in the below sentence whether to use Past Simple or Present Perfect Tense, We have despatched the parcel yesterday. We despatched the parcel yesterday. I know the second one is ...
3
votes
2answers
16k views

'How many people came to your party?' or 'How many people did come to your party?' is correct

I don't understand why question 'How many people came to your party?' is correct instead of 'How many people did come to your party?'. Is it any grammar rule?
3
votes
2answers
679 views

Beauty risen or beauty rose- which one is correct?

This is a couplet. This is kind of a metaphor I wrote and it's about a girl and it speaks about her beauty. Beauty risen from the darker side of the moon. I see the night clear as you came out ...
3
votes
2answers
810 views

Why are “have” and “had” not used in this kind of sentence?

I know he killed my brother 5 years ago. I saw it myself. It could be had killed and have seen. You should go to doctor. I told you already. It could be have told. Please explain the concept to ...
3
votes
2answers
849 views

past perfect in a time clause

I would like to know if we could write "What had happened while we were away." I think past perfect is not obligatory in time clause. When we returned from our holidays, we found our house in a ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Past Perfect Continuous vs Past Simple

My teacher says that it's not correct to answer the test "How long (rain) yesterday?" as "How long did it rain yesterday?" She says there is only one way to do the problem with "how long" in the past ...
3
votes
1answer
350 views

Haven been<-->went

I haven't been to a beach party for over a year. The last time I went to a beach party was a over year ago. Can I use gone instead of been in the first sentence to get the similar meaning to the ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

Asking someone “For how much did you buy it”?

Would it be right to say For how much did you buy it? Is there any other way to ask? I think this question sounds awkward. Could you please explain why I feel the question is awkward?
3
votes
2answers
883 views

Perfect vs past simple when relating to personal experience

It seems to me that if somebody were to ask me: Yeah, how do you know what war is like? The most fitting response would be: Because, you see, I have fought in a war. But if someone would ask ...
3
votes
3answers
156 views

What is the difference between “everything we studied before/earlier” and “everything we have studied before/earlier”?

Tell me please if there is any difference in meaning between the following sentences. In this class we are going to review everything we studied before. In this class we are going to review ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between “How had he lost weight?” & “How did he lose weight?”

What is the difference between the following? How had he lost weight? and How did he lose weight? In what situations, both has to be used?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

I was meeting vs. I met

I was meeting some friends at a bar. I met some friends at a bar. was meeting - past continuous met - simple past In my opinion, I prefer to use the latter sentence because I don't normally hear ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

After I had done, they did vs After I did, they did

Which is correct? or are both correct? or are they both grammatically correct but only different in semantics? After Sally had mastered the skills for her job, her supervisor asked her to help ...
3
votes
2answers
437 views

Present Perfect vs. Past Simple with unfinished time periods: this week

I ____ (read) six books this week. The correct answer is: I have read six books this week. Why are we using Present Perfect since we specify when we did the activity? Is it wrong to say (Past ...

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