Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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23 views

Their arrival comes after

In the following passage, is the present-tense "comes" used properly after a series of past events? Objectively, the arrival was over. Shouldn't it have been "came"? They had some ...
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Past Simple, Past Perfect or Present Perfect before "which"

Which of the sentences is correct? I don’t know whether you read my previous messages, which I unsent not long ago, ... OR I don’t know whether you had read my previous messages, which I unsent not ...
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Is "This is what I had been doing all the time before I ended doing it" correct?

"This is what I had been doing all the time before I ended doing it." I would be glad for explanation.
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23 views

conditional past tense vs past perfect

While watching a movie, there was a particular scene, when mother and daughter were sitting next to each other and mother said: If you called, you would have known about my health. I feel the above ...
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32 views

how does the sentence must have v3 work?

Frankly, I am someone who likes to put everything in a language into an analysis. I don't want to memorize it directly. As you know, must have +v3 is used for statements that were in the past and ...
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36 views

Is it possible to write "was played" in this case?

I got the record yesterday. I am a bit disappointed because I expected a vinyl in a better condition when I ordered the record. I'm sure it had been played more than you wrote in the ad. Could it be ...
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this verb in past perfect "had stepped " can we know the exact moment this action began

The movie was "Beach house" which got released via New line cinema in 1980. The rest? Well, it did not turn out quite that way... Because there were so many scenes where live music was ...
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38 views

“I had a whole life” or “I have had a whole life”. Can you help me?

Last night I read a book, called The Hunger Games, and it was write “I had a whole life.” I am questioning myself because for me Having a whole life is related to the present, it means she has had a ...
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1answer
38 views

He never believed Peter before

He never believed Peter until now. I think it indicates a change: He begins to believe Peter now. However, in the following sentence, is there a change implied? He never believed Peter before.
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Present or past simple as cause of action, if it still holds true

I was wondering whether I should say: I didn't prepare the report because I didn't have necessary data. or I didn't prepare the report because I don't have necessary data. if I still don't have ...
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32 views

Why is sometimes "he were" used (instead of "he was")? [duplicate]

In school we learned that the past tense of "to be" for "he" is "was". But now I stumbled upon the following phrase on the internet: He wishes he were born rich. Why is ...
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Would vs Will: "Would/Will" this be the day/month/year/... questions?

I tried to look this up on Google with no luck. It's confusing to me because some results use present tense while some others use past tense. What's the difference or could I use both? Examples: A) ...
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What did you do that day? (two months ago in the middle of the process)

Two similar situations. The first one: I started painting a picture ten days ago. I haven't finished it yet. Everyday I've been painting my picture for half an hour. The second one: I started painting ...
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1answer
136 views

"Could you not" vs "could you not have"

I was driving in the right lane and another driver wanted to turn right (from the left lane) so he crashed into my car (no one was injured). The driver said “I didn’t see you” and I said “how could ...
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31 views

A: What did you do yesterday?

Please help me out, what extra words are needed to convey the incomplete nature of the actions? A: What did you do yesterday? B: I read books. I wrote my book. I built the wooden ship (which you had ...
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32 views

why not using simple past when you can?

This is a sentence from H. Potter book, p 154, the philosopher's Stone: Even Ron would tell anyone who'd listen about the time he'd almost hit a glider. I understand that I can also put it in simple ...
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2answers
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If 'Could i go?' is the kind way , What would be the past of 'Can i go'?

I was reading this question & answer, he said that ‘Could I go?’ is the kind way. Then I've got the doubts that, how do I ask someone the past of the ‘Can I go?’? Like Am I allowed go there ...
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1answer
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Jack read a book yesterday. Jack was reading a book when his phone rang

Please help me understand what I should say. I was doing my grammar book "Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy and this is what I found. Jack read a book yesterday. (= from beginning to end) 1 -...
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51 views

will both solutions fit in my example

I thought I had understood your answer but in fact I had not. I thought I had understood your answer but in fact did not. I think "had not" is better because it relates to the verb "...
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What are the differences between these 2 examples

then he remembered what had happened at the weekend. On Saturday afternoon his new car had disappeared from the road in front of his house. Sam called the police but ten minutes later his brother ...
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36 views

Past Simple or Past Perfect? Why do we use them this way in the quote?

Here is a quote from "To Kill a Mockingbird": When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the ...
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why not had already been well rehearsed in this text

Why not "had already been well rehearsed" in this text: South London called Broadway Sound. Early on the morning of August 12th 1982 the band, comprising of Colin Swan, Geno Buckmaster, ...
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1answer
43 views

Can past simple fit too

then he remembered what had happened at the weekend. On Saturday afternoon his new car (disappear) from the road in front of his house. Sam called the police but ten minutes later his brother drove ...
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63 views

None of his sons could land a job in the government service

None of his sons could land a job in the government service. (Here we're talking only about the past) None of his sons was/were able to land a job in the government service. Do (1) and (2) mean ...
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the verb "have" in present perfect: How can I express repetition of having?

I learned that you "have" not momentary, so you can say "I have had my dog for five years" or etc. using "had" in a meaning of continuation. But I think in this case the ...
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3answers
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When asking if someone agrees or not with one word, do you say "agreed" or "agree"?

I've watched a few televised court cases. I distinctly hear the lawyers, when examining the witnesses, say with one word "agreed" and not "agree"? Which is correct and why?
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Did I make a good choice in the tenses

I heard some strange noises for two days after waking up and it scared me. I am glad that today I have not heard them Is that correct? I have a doubt because heard indicates that the noises are ...
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64 views

i realised I left vs I realised I had left [duplicate]

Why is it better to write "I realised I had left" than "I realised I left"? It seems obvious that the realisation was after the forgetting: to generalize, if you realise something ...
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38 views

We didn't know what to do, so we did nothing/ were doing nothing

I was advised to ask this question here, which was originally posted here: [https://english.stackexchange.com/q/580212/381160] I came across this sentence in one of my workbooks: We were in a ...
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1answer
60 views

Why without using past perfect we understand that an event takes place before another one

I received a letter from x yesterday. We were at school together but I lost touch with him because he was very ill and could not go to school anymore. Why without using past perfect I understand that ...
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Can I use "was going to see" with " It was the first time", in case the event has not happened yet

when I got to the Boat Race, I suddenly realised that due to summer exams, work deadlines and other boring stuff, this was the first time I'd seen Freeboy in five months . What surprises me is that he ...
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Why were instead of had been

I received a letter from x yesterday. We were at school but I lost touch with him because he was very ill and could not go to school anymore. why it is not "had been" at school, is it ...
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2answers
64 views

"I considered stopping being friends" vs "I considered stop being friends"?

I was telling a story to a friend about a group of friends doing something to me in the past that made me consider not being friends with them anymore. At the time I phrased it like this: "I ...
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1answer
66 views

Present Perfect and Past Simple in the same sentence

I wanted to check with you if I have translated the following correctly: "I moved to Italy 5 years ago and I have opened a restaurant there" From the text, I understand the subject still ...
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1answer
33 views

Describe the past years in the diagram,use the past tense or present tense

I need to write a composition according to a diagram,and I don't know whether to use the past tense or present tense. The figures of year 1 and year 2 shows an upward trend while year 3 saw an ...
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33 views

'Simple past' with unfinished period of time 'this week'

I've read that 'present perfect' is used with 'this week' mostly, as it's an unfinished time period. For example.. I've had Chinese food this week. But if we add the adverb 'thrice' in the sentence, ...
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1answer
18 views

Past simple verb is used in the present

There's a sentence from the exercise book I'm doing (Oxford English Grammar). The book instructs to rewrite this sentence using that-clause: I understood him to be interested in cooperating. My ...
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1answer
43 views

I had got to eat burger

I know "I had had to eat burger" is the "past perfect tense" and "I had to eat burger" is "simple past tense" and we normally not use "got" in the ...
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1answer
31 views

Can past continous fit in this example? [closed]

After three days of lessons, we felt more confident and we really started to enjoy ourselves. By the end of the week, we (were both falling / both fell) in love with snowboarding and we did not want ...
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2answers
42 views

Past Continuous for Temporary Situations

Context: I was on a college football team for half a year When I played for the team, I trained hard and we ate veggies When I WAS PLAYING for the team, I WAS TRAINING hard and we WERE EATING veggies ...
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Difference between past simple and past perfect here?

Sergei Nekhamkin, a columnist for the newspaper “Argumenty Nedely”, wrote that Grigory Petrov was more popular around St. Petersburg not only than Lenin but also than all of Lenin's supporters. I ...
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"It is/was" in cleft sentences

I don't know which tense should be used in the following cleft sentence. In the non-clefted version, the past-tense is used, but in the clefted version, which tense is okay? If both are okay, what's ...
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1answer
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Comparing DID and HAD

Why does did require the base form of the verb, while had requires the third form of the verb when both are auxiliary verbs? Did he like the marshmallow? Had he liked the marshmallow?
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Is "Would buy" a Past Simple Tense form?

Source: www.financemagnates.com/forex/analysis/skrill-bought-by-rival-payments-provider-neteller-for-e1-1-billion/ Skrill Bought by Rival Payments Provider Neteller for €1.1 Billion Optimal Payments ...
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1answer
35 views

past simple with today

I have seen this sentence: "He did not go to sleep late yesterday because he (wants/ wanted) to go fishing today." I think wanted is better because the idea of going fishing was planned ...
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1answer
22 views

What does this sentence imply? Past Simple

"I learned English 2 years ago". What does it imply? Like a fact: I did learning at some time 2 years ago or I finished learning English 2 years ago? As far as I know it means the first ...
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1answer
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"Who's been here" vs "Who was here" [closed]

"Who's been here?" "Who was here" What's the difference between these sentences and when should I use them? And what "i've been here" means by itself?
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Present Perfect vs Past Simple. Which one is correct?

i was watching a movie yesterday and came across a dialogue: "What is this?" "It's the technology I developed" Is the word "developed" here used in the right tense? ...
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59 views

What is the difference between "waked" and "woke"?

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o'clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! ...
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25 views

has/had a Boston postmark

If you have just received a letter, do you say: It has a Boston postmark. Or: It had a Boston postmark. The act of postmarking the letter took place in the past, but it carries the postmark now. ...

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