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Questions tagged [past-tense]

This tag is for questions about the usage of tenses to refer to the past.

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Difference between Past Simple and Past Perfect with "when"

She had a ball when I came in She had had a ball when I came in Is the meaning the same or 2 implies that she had the ball all the time and once I entered she stopped having it?
Adam's user avatar
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Simple tenses for (un)finished actions

Past simple means a finished past action, doesn't it? "Every summer I fell in love" implies that I don't fall in love every summer now. "I read /red/ a book" implies that I'm not ...
naodibxejd's user avatar
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2 answers
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In general, most male adults have acted/acted rebelliously at a certain point in their lives. - are both acceptable when talking about a general idea?

Example 1 In general, most male adults have acted rebelliously at a certain point in their lives. Example 2 In general, most male adults acted rebelliously at a certain point in their lives. Are ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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"He was my father?" vs. "He is my father?"

I've been thinking about this for a long time now, and still haven't been able to come up with a logical explanation. Which is more correct, [1] "He was my father." Or "He is my father?&...
KingofSpades's user avatar
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1 answer
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Which tense is correct? (simple past / present perfect / past perfect)

Mr. Kim (was / has been / had been) busy for two weeks last month. Which tense is correct when accompanied by the phrase 'for two weeks last month'?
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strange past simple here

The Record Store Day release I was most excited about this year didn’t arrive at Sorry State until the week after RSD. Wrapped up in the business of RSD, I had forgotten about the deluxe reissue of ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
109 views

he begins to feel that the way he had lived was not good after all

The very rich man never walks; he always goes in a carriage. But in the course of years, he wakes up one day paralyzed all over. Then he begins to feel that the way he had lived was not good after all....
hwkal's user avatar
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Past simple instead of past continuous 4

I know how to use past simple and continuous. First shorter actions, second longer actions. 1 I was cooking when she came in 2 I was cooking while she was playing But what if I do this 3 I cooked when ...
train bee 282's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
3k views

How Do I Explain "Be Born"?

"Be" is a unique verb, if I am correct, in that it most always relates to: adjective and ID words (nouns and places), the progressive tense, or the passive voice. But here we have "...
Alexander Jorgensen's user avatar
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2 answers
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Which is correct "Had not have any waffles in ages" or "have not had any waffles in ages"?

My neighbor mentioned waffles in a recent conversation. I replied: Hmmm . .. waffles. Good idea. I had not have any waffles in ages. I now believe the sequence is wrong. Should it not rather be: "...
Oma's user avatar
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have worked vs worked

I have worked in this hospital. I worked in this hospital. Hello. Are these sentences grammatically correct? Do I need to add words at the end? ( for example for 5 years ) I know what perfect tense is,...
emilywenly's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
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Why is present tense used on past hobby

Gomez’s grandfather paints very well too but cannot do so now. Why is “paints” used here and not painted? I thought it should be painted as the grandfather could not do it now. I thought his ability ...
Orange Zhan's user avatar
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You can always expect me to tell you what I have done/did. - differences in meaning?

Example 1 You can always expect me to tell you what I did. Example 2 You can always expect me to tell you what I have done. Does Example 1 refer to a specific past time or it can mean the same ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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Is it for the verb itself (to smile) that the Past Indefinite is used instead of the Past Continuous?

It has been taken from a children's English study course. "He looked at the children in front of him. He thought they were sneering at him as he stood there feeling foolish, so he ... (a suitable ...
Eugene's user avatar
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3 answers
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Get or Have Something Done with Past Participle Verb (Participle Adjective or Passive Voice)

I am a bit confused. Here are my examples: I get my home cleaned every other week. I'm having my office painted. They had their toilet fixed. Am I correct to think that my past participle verbs are ...
Alexander Jorgensen's user avatar
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After all, it would be embarrassing when we [met/meet] again

Frieren: Himmel, you always say quick goodbyes. Himmel: You think that's strange? Eisen: It doesn't seem like you. It was just a side job. but we still spent two weeks traveling together. Heiter: And ...
avant-garde's user avatar
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I call fathers who "graduated / have graduated" from law school fathers in law. - which one to use?

Example 1 I call fathers who graduated from law school fathers in law. Example 2 I call fathers who have graduated from law school fathers in law. For me, this is a statement that should apply ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
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We went to a meeting yesterday. We would ask questions if we had any. - past real conditionals?

Example 1 We went to a meeting yesterday. We could ask questions if we had. Example 2 We went to a meeting yesterday. We would ask questions if we had any. Are the conditionals in the examples ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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How to fill the blank in "Many of the world's great novels are reported ___ (make) into movies last year."?

I'm an English learner and came across an exercise question today: Sentence: Many of the world's great novels are reported ___ (make) into movies last year. Choices: made to be made to have been made ...
Nekomiya Kasane's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
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Present, past simple and present perfect

This is an answer to this post. If recent: Michael has been warned from the moment he entered the factory that Andy is a local version of a grim reaper. He was warned because everyone has worked with ...
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Present perfect tense "duration"

Ten years ago I bought a new jacket. Now it is ten years long. I know that I can't say "I have bought this jacket for ten years". But I want to show duration now and to emphasize duration ...
Thamilay's user avatar
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Past simple tense

He told me that the meeting was in the hall before I had even framed the question. Could I change above explanation as follow He told me that the meeting was in the hall before I even framed the ...
Thamilay's user avatar
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What is the difference between "someone had dinner" and "someone has had dinner"?

Which one is correct? The patient had dinner. The patient has had dinner. The patient has eaten dinner. Have you had your dinner?
marie's user avatar
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2 votes
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How to use the past tenses

I'd like to ask if my understanding of the continuous aspect in English is correct. When I say " Last week or yesterday I was repairing my car" the meaning is that I was doing this thing ...
Adam's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Present perfect continuous or past perfect continuous in my example

"I had been keeping an eye on this record for quite some time, ever since it went on sale. Each time I checked, I had been hoping for a price drop, but it seemed luck wasn't on my side until ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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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 ...
hwkal's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Using Past Cont instead of Past Perf Cont

I have the sentence: "The youngsters had been playing in the backyard of the home, digging in the mud, when they found something unusual just below the surface." How would the meaning here ...
hangman's user avatar
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Past continuous for length of time

Someone asks How long did you work there? I worked there for two years I was working there for two years Do you agree that 2 is natural as long as our intention is to emphasize the length of time?
Bob's user avatar
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Repeated actions. How many

1 I have been watching TV twice this week 2 I had been watching TV twice this week 3 I will have been watching TV twice by the end of this week. Now, I know that you could say that all these examples ...
Bob's user avatar
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We had been / were waiting for an hour

We were waiting for an hour. We had been waiting for an hour when she finally came. we were waiting for an hour when she finally came. what's the difference in these sentences?
hwkal's user avatar
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'How long' - (duration of an activity) for past simple continuous

'How long' for sentences in the past simple continuous to talk about the duration of an activity in the past? How long did it rain last night? - It rained for about 3 hours. How long did he study ...
hwkal's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
35 views

Future after past

If we start a sentence with for example "I saw" then use are obliged to carry on using the past tense it is wrong to say "I saw she is fat" we say "I saw she was fat". ...
Bob's user avatar
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1 answer
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Repeated actions past continuous

We are not really allowed to say "she was calling him 5 times today" instead we use past simple " she called him 5 times today". Can we use past continuous when we want to show ...
Bob's user avatar
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Need help with the past perfect in this sentence

I stumbled upon this sentence and got confused: “ Actually, your cartoon was the last show he had seen before getting arrested.” Does it sound natural? And if so, can you explain why the past perfect ...
andrew's user avatar
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(had) quit and resumed learning UNTIL

1 I started learning Chinese when I was a child but I quit and resumed learning it a few times until I matriculated in University. 2 I started learning Chinese when I was a child but I had quit and ...
user1425's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
User051209's user avatar
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1 answer
38 views

present or past in this context of opening a claim

I wanted to inform you that if I haven't received any updates from Australia Post regarding my shipment by February 21st , I will need to escalate the matter by opening a PayPal claim."I believe ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
41 views

Past tenses with hours

1 What did you do at 5 am yesterday? 2 What were you doing at 5 am yesterday? Guys, in my opinion 1 is correct but 2 needs something more it is incomplete like "What were you doing a 5 am ...
Bob's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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The continuous aspect with repeated actions

We can use the continuous aspect of tenses to show that some action was repeated many times it may have irritated us like " she was always taking my things" therefore, could we say using ...
Bob's user avatar
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1 vote
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"She might have been living there for 8 years" = "Perhaps she has been living there for 8 years"?

"She might have been living there for 8 years" "Perhaps she has been living there for 8 years" Do these two sentences have the same meaning?
hwkal's user avatar
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1 answer
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A tense question in "A Global History"

I am reading the bestseller, "A Global History". Here is a sentence,'...These are equipped with sensors...the sensors can identify loose soils that had been prehistoric agricultural fields ...
Danniel wang's user avatar
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0 answers
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Why was past simple preferred to past perfect in this context

Here is another example from the NYT (March 17, 2020), "Noah Diaz was in the middle of rewrites for his play “Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally” when the theater company The Playwrights ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is it 'did you used to' or 'did you use to'?

What question do you consider: Grammatically incorrect but common 100% grammatically correct Wrong and not common? What games or activities did you used to play during recess or after school? What ...
E.V.'s user avatar
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1 vote
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Present Perfect and Past Perfect with before and after

I don't quite understand how present perfect and past perfect work with before and after. Could you explain that to me? For example: I'll telephone you before I come - I'll telephone you before I've ...
Yumepho's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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By the time and When

By the time I arrived at the scene, the meeting had been over. When I arrived at the scene, the meeting had been over. Are the two sentences correct?
Ben Yao's user avatar
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1 answer
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Something about this past tense rubs me wrong, pls help

Imagine this sentence: Alice snapped to attention. Wait, what? Did Bob really say what she think he said? Autocorrect says think should be thought, but I am not sure. Also, it feels to me the first ...
daniel.sedlacek's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
26 views

"you wouldn't want to invite someone that you knew wouldn't want to come."

If you were having a party, you wouldn't want to invite someone that you knew wouldn't want to come. Is this sentence 'that you knew wouldn't want to come.' also hypothetical OR does it refer to the ...
hwkal's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
63 views

'yesterday' in present tense

I understand that 'yesterday' talks about things in the past and usually uses past tense. However, I saw some sentences in present tense like Yesterday is gone. Yesterday is a history. But I didn't ...
Zelin's user avatar
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Is it correct to avoid mentioning any additional events with the past continuous?

Is it correct to say "That evening I was doing chemistry for 90 minutes." without adding any actions occured during that period (while someone was doing something or did something - these ...
hangman's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Had or did in this context?

I did not expect a reply anymore so when I saw that you did I was very happy . Is "did " better than" had" I think both are correct but it seems obvious that what I saw came ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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