Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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"He was employed since 2007"

"He was employed since 2007"(to date)".(is incorrect) "He was employed from 2007 to 2020".(is correct) "He had been employed since 2007".(is correct) I believe ...
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Present perfect mixed with simple past tense in the same sentence

“Alongside my job, I have also found a longing to help others and became a volunteer at the homeless shelter.” Is this sentence grammatically correct? While it sounds okay, I’m concerned about the ...
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Should it be "didn't" or "don't" in the blank in the passage? [closed]

It's from an English exam for Chinese students. And here's the passage. I wondered what word should be filled in the blank: "didn't" or "don't"? When people meet each other for ...
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1 answer
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I got two questions both are on tenses [closed]

1: there ________ four excellent restaurants in the center of the town A: is B: are C: was D: being 2: the difference between "have fallen", "fallen", "would fallen" ...
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1 answer
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When do we use past simple and past perfect while telling stories?

When should we use past simple, and when past perfect? I've tried to make it up, but don't actually understand why and when we use each. I (found) a kitten at the entrance of a friend's house. It (...
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2 answers
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Had not or did not in this sentence

I thought I had already replied to our email but I ' did not or had not ' I think only the second one is possible but I am not sure because it is after thinking that I realised that I had not replied ...
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Can we use "must" -instead of must have+past participle- for "deduction about the past", just like we can use it for "deduction about the present?"

The following sentence is from the BBC about the condition of classrooms in 1950s. https://youtu.be/iQAzSVQBU7I?t=89 (see between 1:32-1:40) The presenter uses the sentence below: "I noticed that ...
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1 answer
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They were married for 12 years before/when

In this particular sentence do before and when mean the same and can be used interchangeably? They were married for 12 years before/when they died/got divorced.
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I read/was reading a book until I fell asleep

Can we use the past simple with "from .. to.." even if we didn't finish the book/the ship etc. or is it necessary to use the past continuous? Examples with "from .. to ..": I read ...
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2 answers
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Why was past simple used here?

As I casually walked to the party store I saw this guy I met just the week before Why not "had met" is it because it is spoken american or is it because the meeting happened only one time. ...
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"as if " clause versus "if" clause

Suppose I know he was ill yesterday. Here are two examples referring to unreality. He behaved as if he was not ill. if he had not been ill, we would have had a nice time yesterday. Why we must use &...
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I repaired/was reparing my bike from 2 to 4pm

What's the difference between the past simple and the past continuous when using "from ... to ..."? I read a book from 2 to 4pm. I was reading a book from 2 to 4pm. I built a ship from 2 ...
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Is it correct to use past conditional?

I have an action happened in the past, and I am not sure if I wrote correctly: I did not take pictures at every step because I would have lost much more time, and the processing must be done as soon ...
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Why use past perfect when the story is told chronologically?

I'm struggling to understand the logic underlying the use of tenses here even though I know pretty much about the past perfect tense (basically, saw all uses in several grammars and several articles ...
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1 answer
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I didn't eat since breakfast vs. I haven't eaten since breakfast

This question came in the Dhaka University admission test 2008-09 I didn't eat since breakfast I haven't eaten since breakfast Q) No grammatical error occurs in (a) I didn't eat since breakfast. (b) ...
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1 answer
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before anyone had got up VS before anyone got up

A writer wrote this: An all-night party on New Year's Eve provided me with a good excuse for not carrying out either of these new resolutions on the first day of the year, but on the second, I applied ...
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Proper tense for this sentence? "The rapid spread of water-borne diseases in the town derive(d/s) from bacteria in the polluted rivers."

I came across a question from an English practice book and I'm wondering whether the verb should be in simple past or simple present tense. Unfortunately, the test instruction gave no additional ...
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1 answer
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Using is vs was when talking about the past

The reason why I liked "The Office" is probably because of the writing. The reason why I liked "The Office" was probably because of the writing. I'm not sure which one is correct. ...
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Why is it right to use the Past Perfect tense, not the Past Perfect Continuous in this sentence?

I have stumbled across the following sentence in a book: I hadn't read a fashion magazine for ages. According to the rule, we use the Past perfect continuous when we want to emphasize how long the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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"Is written" or "was written"?

In my native language, we tend to use the present form in some situations where English uses the preterite – for instance, we say "Jag är född i maj" ('I am born in May'), rather than "...
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Is it better to match tenses here

The shop wouldn't give me a refund even though my mobile is obviously broken. Would it be better to match the tenses and to write "was broken" because the event (the broken watch) was also ...
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“Matt was calling while we were having dinner” Is this correct?

Matt ___ while we were having dinner. A. called B. was calling C. has called I chose B but answer is A. Could you tell me why answer is A.
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Asking was formula

I was reading the articles from Dailymail, and I found this sentence: "Matthew Perry was accompanied by a female friend on Thursday morning as he stepped out for coffee in Los Angeles". I ...
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1 answer
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Why is "had started " used in this example?

I was going to Italy": Do you mean that "In the past you had started a journey to Italy, but it wasn't completed." Or do you mean "I was planning a trip to Italy, but cancelled it. ...
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Past tense in relative clauses to describe facts and general truth

I know that we use the present simple tense for general facts and truths, but I'm struggling with more complex sentences when I want to give an "order" for facts. For example: "Adults ...
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"Did the glass get broken"

I know if I say "The glass got broken" It is usually a passive construction and it could mean "The glass was broken" / as in an action instead of a state or it could mean "The ...
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Using "I wish" to express regret or desire

I would like to know which of the following sentences can be considered similar in meaning to this one : ** I regret that teenangers are treated in a bad way ** I wish teenagers WERE NOT treated in ...
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Pluperfect and simple past

I'm trying to talk about a person like this: He had come prepared for the video. He came prepared for the video. Now the thing is that we say that pluperfect is used to talk about an event that ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Did not or Would not

I have a question please. In the next sentence: I wish John lived close. So we didn't have to walk this far. So we wouln't have to walk this far. So we wouldn't walked this far. Which one is correct?...
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Unreal past with the modal verb 'could'

Can I use the modal verb 'could' in the if-clause? For example: If he could have studied last year, he could have been a university student. The first 'could' represents the ability and the second ...
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1 vote
1 answer
80 views

Tenses: I studied or I had been studying

I studied in ABC school from 2013 to 2020. I graduated from that school in the year 2020. I was admitted to the school in grade VI, and progressed up to grade XII. The system is similar to the K-12 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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The tense choice irregularity (past perfect, past simple)

There's a sentence in the book I'm reading: I'd been so busy thinking about myself and the shock of having a new sister, I never thought about what it would be like for Nana to have another ...
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2 answers
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Past tense. "when Tom went [was going, would go, used to go] to high school."?

I'm confused with how to mention past habits. If Tom is a student now, you say "Tom goes to high school", right? If Tom already graduated, are these three all OK? A-1) Tom went to high ...
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2 answers
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moved at 120 kilometres an hour / was moving at 120 kilometres an hour

When I was stopped by the police, I moved at 120 kilometres an hour. {Past Simple expresses a fact of that speed} When I was stopped by the police, I was moving at 120 kilometres an hour. {Past ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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It was several years since I had been travelling that road

Tell me please, do I understand correctly that we use "since" with the past tense, but we must only use "that" with perfect sentences like this: "It was several years since I ...
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0 answers
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Left or had left? Older brother Tai Shan left/ had left the zoo for China in 2010

Her mother, Mei Xiang, gave birth to her first cub, Tai Shan, in 2005, but failed to get pregnant for years. Then, a cub born in 2012 didn’t survive. Mei Xiang has since had a third surviving cub, Bei ...
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1 answer
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should I have put the word "that"?

Yesterday I sent a message about my work to my boss. The message was this: "this is the design I designed yesterday" After I sent the message, I started to think maybe I should have added ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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past or present perfect

Which sentence is correct: I had some practical experience with cooking for over a year. or I have had some practical experience with cooking for over a year. **or ..your opinion Probably the question ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Complication in tense when reading a diary

If you find a diary and something that's written on it: "If you can understand this, you're smart." Is he telling that in present or past? So, when the reader that see this comment, is he or ...
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2 answers
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Choice of tense question

I need help in choosing the correct tense or structure for this idea I'm trying to convey. I came up with the first sentence below, but then I thought of the other two sentences and found myself ...
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0 answers
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How to refer to the deceased

In referring to a dead person, do you say, his/her name "is" or "was" David/Lisa? It doesn't sound incorrect to me when I say "his name is David" but does when I say &...
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1 answer
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past and perfect tense

The young prince had a slender body smeared with sandal cream which had dried out; I understand that the incident is the narration of something that had happened. So "simple past - had a slender ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is it correct: I had been staying , in my situation?

Is this correct: I had been staying in the Emergency Department for three days until the doctors could identify the missing diagnosis. where "staying" is used together with another action ...
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"Never did I think" vs. "Never had I thought"

I learnt at school that had P.P. means something happened before a certain event. ex) I had eaten all the cake when John arrived. Then, what is the difference between the following two sentences? A) ...
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What's the difference between completed actions in the past and single completed actions in the past?

What is the difference between completed actions and single completed actions ? We often use the past simple tense for single completed events and past tenses , and we use the past continuous for ...
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1 answer
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I was building it, but I didn't build it

Many natives told me that simple past always tells about completion, so I've been wondering how to speak about actions that you were doing at a specific time in the past, but in the end didn't finish. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Isn't past simple in this exercise also correct?

The sentence is as follows: You see, when Elvis died, he _ (already, be) super famous for years. You have to use the verb in the bracket and put it into the right tense. I've used the past simple, ...
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Why does the author use past simple here?

Collectively, as Swell Maps, we released two albums which had sold enough copies to reach the top of the UK independent album charts, so we had saved up some shared royalties from records sales. We ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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“They might have done” vs “May be they have done”

Want to discuss about a past scenario. All these pharses are coming to my mind. Can you point out me which one is grammatically correct and what is the best way to say that. (Trying to mentioned about ...
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0 votes
1 answer
28 views

when he poured / when he was pouring / while pouring

He was burned when he poured boiling water into the mug. He was burned when he was pouring boiling water into the mug. Which tense is better to use here if the action isn't long? Can we use Past ...
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