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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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How long did you do it (for)?

I keep having difficulties with past tenses: 1. If action has started and is still going on we can ask "how long have you been doing that", right? 2. Is Present Perfect Simple possible here? "How long ...
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Present perfect continuous for the verb to sign?

On the same exercise there is that sentence He has been signing up for a historical tour to exactly these places The reason of choosing the continuous form is that it is a temporary action. But ...
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Past simple and “all night”

can i use just past simple in this case " Sorry, I'm late because I was in a sauna with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie all last night "If I have "all last night is it ok to use just past simple ...
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Present or past when the thing doesn't exist

A: Did you ever have the orange sherbet at Johnny's Icecream Shop? It's a shame the place burned down and no longer exists. B: I used to. All the time. I liked that a lot. What a pity. Would it be ...
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How to avoid multiple negatives in sentence [closed]

I have written few lines, but I feel those could be more better in English, even I am not sure about grammatical mistakes. Please correct my below sentences "But that didn't go well as I didn't ...
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Is the past and prestent tense correct in this?

I like that you made it a point to bring me food before I started working this morning Or should it be .. I like that you made it a point to bring me food before I start working this morning.
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'Once' conjunction past tense

'Once they passed the exam, they worked in a national hospital and received more training.' I can't understand the correct meaning of this sentence. I know a sentence like 'Once they pass the exam,...
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Confused between past simple and past continious

The situation is that I am talking to some friends about an event that happened earlier: When I was packing my clothes my dog was watching me. When I was packing my clothes my dog watched me. ...
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why past continuous in this case as both actions are completed at the time of writing

A side is Freak Out, B side is Dr. Hoo Hoo, Mr. Tomomatsu were recording and mixing the same as the previous two 7", and legendary L.A Punk's engineer/producer GEZA X were mastering these songs. why ...
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Usage of present tense in a past tense sentence

I read that if sentence is in past tense then all clauses of the sentence should be in past, except if it is a universal truth. Now, I want to create a sentence and situation is this - I watched ...
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never traveled or had never traveled?

Rousseau produced twenty-six jungle paintings in the final six years of his life. In fact, he had never traveled outside of France or seen a jungle. If had never traveled would be changed into ...
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Present/ Past tense between sentences with past tense?

She overcame all of her difficulties and created her own destiny as a merchant all by herself. That is not all. After making a large fortune, she willingly donated almost all of her wealth to her ...
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Started or has started

Life started in a simple organisms . Can has started can be used instead of started? Then how are the meanings different? Because life is still going on, can i use present perfect?
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Tense agreement is or was?

The public and critics laughed at Rousseau's flat style of portraying human figures. This was because the paintings did not look real. Rousseau's style was markedly different from the contemporary ...
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is estimated OR was estimated

It IS/WAS estimated that people consumed a lot of bottled water in 2015. In the sentence above, is and was both are possible? Then how the nuance is different? If there is no difference, which is ...
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The past simple of “gaslight” – “gaslighted” or “gaslit”?

What is the past simple of the term gaslighting as a verb – "gaslighted" or "gaslit"? Would it be correct to say: That person gaslighted her or: That person gaslit her Note: There is a ...
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Past Simple or Past Perfect in the context of something having been done by the exact time yesterday

Here goes a sentence: Alice said that she had translated three articles by five o’clock yesterday. My question is as follows: If what Alice exactly said was "I had translated three articles by ...
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Preserved or had preserved, the difference?

Theseus was a great hero to the people of Athens. When he returned home after a war, the ship that had carried him and his men was so treasured that the townspeople preserved it for years and years, ...
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ever with past VS past perfect?

However, Sol Elman, the father of violinist Mischa Elman, thought differently. He said, “My dear friends, Kubelik played the Paganini concerto tonight as splendidly as ever he did. Can i change ever ...
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“Suspected” VS “had suspected” have same meaning here?

For a long time many scientists suspected that koalas were so lethargic because the compounds in eucalyptus leaves kept the cute little animals in a drugged­out state. But more recent research has ...
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The difference between past tense and had pp?

Less well known at the time was the fact that Freud had found out, almost by accident, how helpful his pet dog Jofi was to his patients. He had become a dog­lover in later life when Jofi was given to ...
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“Has sat” vs “Has sit”

My friend and I were looking towards our boss and wondering when to enter his room to speak to him. Usually, a good indication of whether he is free or not is to check whether he is sitting down. So ...
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`This cup hadn't been drunk out of for…` vs `This cup wasn't being drunk out of for…`

Is sentence "This cup hadn't been drunk out of for twenty years precisely since its owner was exiled to Siberia." right? I suppose no because it's not about up until point in past. I think the ...
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Past,past perfect with until, by

Do we always use past tense with "until" plus time in the past, and past perfect with "by" plus time in the past? Until last year, Anna worked as a teacher. By last year, Anna had worked as a ...
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why the past tense in this sentence that appears in a dialogue?

can you fix me up with a part-time job? -Anything in particular that appeals to you? -I was rather hoping to find something in a school. -Have you done that kind of thing before? Yes, I was doing the ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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“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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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
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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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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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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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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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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
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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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“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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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 ...