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Questions tagged [past-tense]

This tag is for questions about the usage of the past tense in English.

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Using “what + did” in a question

The examples: What killed the Prince of Persia series? What did kill the Prince of Persia series? Is the meaning the same in both questions? Are they both grammatical? Why or why not?
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1answer
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complex sentences and past sense

I'm discussing internals of a database system with someone and I'm struggling to figure out how do I talk about my past thought on the subject. If I was just expressing my thoughts I would say "It is ...
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1answer
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I thought you had taken or took what is the best

The following practice text comes from http://www.esl-lounge.com/student/grammar/2g31-penguin-story.php: One day a husband and wife _____ (1) (drive) to the countryside to visit their friends ...
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“Words were different when they (lived / were living) inside of you”

“Words were different when they lived inside of you.” ― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Shouldn't it be "...when they were living inside of you."?...
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1answer
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What is difference past simple and past perfect in this sentence?

I (non-native English speaker) have sometimes been confused about when to use past simple and when to use past perfect. President Donald Trump has vetoed a measure from Congress that revoked his ...
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1answer
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weren't going vs didn't go [duplicate]

I already asked a question about “weren’t playing” vs. “didn’t play”. I’m not sure if the same rules apply in an example like this one: The weather was very bad, so we didn't go north. vs The ...
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tenses with the expression it… two years since [duplicate]

She invited me to dinner. But it _____ two years since I _____ to her house. So I lost my way. The answers were "was" and "had gone". Could they be "had been" and "went"?
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Do I use correctly Past Tenses? [closed]

I am solving an exercise in which I should use the correct past tense. Can you check my answers and tell me are they right? With his heart thumping, he was climbing the ladder leading to the roof. ...
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3answers
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Past tenses in sequence: former and latter past events

I have a question about past tenses in sequence. I studied that while describing connected past events in sequence: event 1: former event is in past-perfect event 2: latter event is in past-tense ...
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2answers
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Past Simple or Present Perfect?

I have a problem using those tenses in practice, or even analysing them in books or movies. For example : A character says "I opened the doors" (well the doors are opened so he and his friends see ...
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1answer
20 views

Past Continuous with while

The sentence: The boy stole / was stealing the apples while nobody was looking / looked. Question: Which variant is more appropriate?
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1answer
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“Used to” with period of life

can I say " I used to smoke for 5 years "? is it correct? And if no, which tense should I use? Should I say "I had smoked for 5 years?" Thanks a lot.
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“could” in the past referring to a single possibility/opportunity

I decided to create another question as this addresses another aspect of the topic I discussed in my related questions. I know that in general, "could" is not used to describe a specific possibility ...
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1answer
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How can I construct a sentence that contains reference to the past?

I want to construct a sentence in which I talk about the past. But my friend said that the following sentence has some grammar errors since I cannot follow considering my interest with a past tense. I ...
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2answers
293 views

General past possibility with 'could'

I am a bit confused, as I know I should not use "could"+verb in the sense of a possibility in the past, such as "He could go there yesterday but he did not". I am well aware I should use past modals ...
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1answer
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What is the tense of: is located

Consider the sentence: The shop is located near the bus stand. Is it present tense? Doubt is ---- is a helping verb presentence and located is past tense.
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mistake or mistook?

I saw the following sentence, and am wondering whether "mistake" should be replaced with "mistook." Plastic bags have been found in the guts of dead sea turtles, which mistake them for jellyfish. ...
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2answers
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He told me he plays table tennis well. Why didn't he use played

He told me he plays table tennis well. Why didn't he use played?
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2answers
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has done or did when using “during”?

Which one is correct: During the same trip, the couple ( a guy and a girl) has also visited Venice. During the same trip, the couple ( a guy and a girl) visited Venice. Thank you.
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“Past Perfect vs Simple Past” expressions

Although I think they are interchangeable in some usage, there seems to be a little difference in nuance. "I had my dinner already" vs "I have eaten my dinner already" "We have met before" ...
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1answer
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How to use 'I learned that if I faced' in its reported-speech kind of context

It is said that in reported speech, verbs tense will change. Also, when using 'if', verb tenses change. So what is the correct form of the below sentence? I learned that if I faced another question ...
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1answer
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Past Simple vs Present Perfect difference

Help me, please, with this extract Two elderly couples were enjoying a friendly conversation in the garden when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to a month ...
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1answer
27 views

Past Simple Passive vs Past Simple with 'follow'

Here is an extract from my grammar practice book. A young man was walking through a supermarket. Suddenly he noticed that he (follow) by an old lady. As far as I understand, in that situation we ...
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1answer
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“We all know the climate changes, it has in the past, it is changing now”

We all know the climate changes, it has in the past, it is changing now and it will in the future, but what is different about what we are doing now compared to what happened in the Cretaceous? ...
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1answer
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past continuous or past perfect continuous in that case

The prince had been searching for ten hours when he was beginning to lose hope means the searching was finished that is why he was beginning to lose hope this is good but can I replace by "was ...
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2answers
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any further efforts at biography had been well and truly silenced

In a recent conversation with Seamus Heaney, I made the point that after Roy Foster's monumental biography of Yeats, any further efforts at biography had been well and truly silenced. The advent of ...
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1answer
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by the time with past simple

I've seen this sentence By 1990 we were finished (the band was no more) I thought that with by the time or by [a date] it is better to use past perfect By 1990 we had split By the time ...
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1answer
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present perfect + when

But plenty have come to him when they haven't been able to heal through traditional means. As far as I know, past simple or past perfect are tend to be used with "when", because they are more ...
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How aircraft move? Or moves?

I saw a book titled "How Aircraft Move Through the Air". But is that correct? I think aircraft is the singular. So Would it be "moves" or "moved"(in case of past sentence)? Am I wrong? Please ...
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2answers
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Should I use the same tense throughout the sentence?

In my English exam, I have written the sentence: There were always some people who judge the others by their appearance. One of my friends said that I should use judged instead of judge since I am ...
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1answer
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tense: “are” or “were”

Is the present tense "are" properly used in the following? Why wasn't "were" used instead? "And it makes sense, up to a point, to debate ending remedies for discrimination that are more appropriate ...
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2answers
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I did not/had not have a steak until the age of 20 - what tense and why?

I would like to express that it was not until the age of 20 when I had my first steak. However, I do not know what tense should be used and why. I did not have a steak until I was 20. I had ...
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3answers
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Use passive in the past

Is it possible to tell: They have begun (to) being checked. ? The meaning: The police started to check people some time ago. But I can not mention "police" in the sentence.
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Asking about experiance

If I want to ask my friend about her travel, which tense is more preferred? I know that when asking about experience we use *present perfect *, like "have you been to Italy", "have you ever blah...?, ...
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2answers
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Present perfect or Past tense? Which sentence is correct?

I'm confused. Which sentence is correct? "You have said you would buy a car if you got driver's licence" or "You said you would buy a car if you got driver's license" or "You have said you ...
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3answers
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If she were… would have coped

I was supposed to fill the blank without changing a meaning of the first sentence. She is not self-confident enough; that’s why she did not cope with the situation then. If she were more self-...
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1answer
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Past simple or present perfect for an action that began a long time ago but is still true

Is this possible to write At the beginning I have bought some records from him. Then one day I asked for a record he did not have ,he answered to me that he was OK to let me use his address and since ...
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1answer
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Had not needed vs did not need

I was asked to fill the blank below preseving the meaning of the sentence. It was not necessary for him to take any warm clothes, so he travelled light. He ________________________ take any warm ...
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1answer
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Is “let” a modal?

Must the verb that follow let always be an infinitive regardless of the context, even in a reported speech? For example, He told us to let him saw her one last time. Is that correct?
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Are these two fragments of the same tense?

was being kept illegally. was kept illegally. They both seem to fit in the past progressive tense to me. If you have a link to a good explanation, that would be appreciated.
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“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 ...
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2answers
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“was acquainted with” or “have acquainted with”?

I can not decide which one is correct or more accurate for using. I have acquainted with structure of remote control in primary school. I was acquainted with structure of remote control in ...
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1answer
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Can I use past perfect in this response?

I would like to know if I can use past perfect in this response: Did not know that you would contact me again !!! I had tried to contact so many times and did not receive any answer that I ...
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1answer
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It would be a great opportunity for someone like me who is working full time

I found out that I could be a part-time or a full-time student. It would be a great opportunity for someone like me who is working full time. I am writing a personal statement. I found out that I ...
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1answer
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“the thing someone did was do something” or “the thing someone did was doing something”?

Here is what I have found in Crash Course US history at 13 minute and 4 second, and it really confused me. Whereas if you are an american arguably the most important thing the leader of this era ...
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“Have you known” or “Did you know”?

First of all, I know it has been mentioned before but I'm not sure which is correct. I've been learning about the Past Simple and the Past Perfect and if I've understood correctly, well, in high level:...
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1answer
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Suitable verb form in the past tense sentence

There's the next sentence: "I saw Mr Brown ..... the building at two o'clock." leave / to leave / having left Which option would be the most appropriate to put in and why ? I really want to put ...
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2answers
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Is it possible to match both tenses in this sentence

Is it possible to write I saw that you have not accepted my paypal payment yet Saw is past, have not is present perfect( the action begins in the past but ends in" present " ) and in this ...
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1answer
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Past Tense or Past Continuous Tense with precise time

There's a sentence like: I ____ television at 7pm last night. a) was watching b) watched c) watch Can we use a) and b) to complete the sentence? Some friends here said a) because there'...
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Why “did” and not “had done”?

He had relocated the same day as I did after switching university. We kept in touch regularly. Why did and not had done if both relocated the same day, same tense should be used?