Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

0
votes
1answer
45 views

Why did the author use past continuous in that sentence

I came from a scene that is more punk than the garage scene. The first concerts I was going to were punk, like at the MIROITRIE.for a year Then I went to Canada for a year Why "was going"? Why past ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Is past perfect with “all night” correct?

Is this question correct? "They had been watching TV all evening yesterday." Or do we use it with past continuous? "They were watching TV all evening yesterday." My teacher said that the ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

use of double past tense in a sentence

The use of double past tense is always a bit problematic for me. So far I have learned that when there is a time reference and two actions happening in past we use past and past perfect. The action ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Can I use a past tense clause after a present perfect one?

Can I use a past tense clause after a present perfect one , for example, like this : It has just crossed my mind so I added it. In this sentence, I only want to emphasize the first action to be ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Usage of a continuous time expression in a past simple sentence

Consider the following sentence: "The student did not come to the class for a long, long time." Can a continuous time expression "for a long time" be used in this case, where past simple ("… did ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Can't decide between simple past and present perfect

I know the rules and differences like simple past is finished actions and more like story telling while present-perfect emphasizes the experience and its about actions that still continue and past-...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

“Would” like “used to”

Why the journalist use the word "would" in his sentence?For me it sounds more correct without this word at all. "ZAKARIA: And the key here is, just so our viewers understand, that, right now, you ...
6
votes
3answers
43k views

How should I use 'must' in past tense?

I suppose the modal verb 'must' works like below: I am sure that he is busy. → He must be busy. I am sure that he was busy. → He must have been busy. I want to know how 'must' itself ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

I already finished the work

I have such a rule in my head that if we have "already", "still" or "yet" I am obliged to use Perfect Tenses. But can these words be used in Past Simple? I already finished the work (some time in ...
3
votes
2answers
49 views

Will it be better to use past simple or present perfect

Do you remember my name? I have bought some records from you in the past. Shall I use past simple instead of the present perfect? I think perfect is better as it has a relevance even now I don't ...
1
vote
3answers
44 views

past perfect of can

This is the sentence which is assumingly wrong: Solvent remains which could not have been evaporated were removed by [...]. The problem I have here is that the attempted evaporation of the solvent ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

after + past participle (for future events)

I find myself using the past participle a lot when talking about something in the future in conjunction with the word 'after' and I'm not really sure if this is grammatically acceptable. For example:...
2
votes
1answer
20 views

Have been Vs was/were

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-48339080 There have been seven weeks of protests outside the site from which "hundreds" of pupils were kept away on Monday. Why does the ...
1
vote
3answers
15k views

I have made all the changes VS I made all the changes

I have to write one of the following phrases into a formal correspondence (but not too formal), I was asked to review a document, and then get back to him when the document is finished 1) I have ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

Can we use two different tenses in a sentence

Is this correct ? Can we use two different tenses , like this one for example : ( happened and drops ) “What my parents think happened when a bottle of shampoo drops on the bathroom floor.....” (...
1
vote
2answers
97 views

Is past perfect a better solution in that case

Just received a phone call of X from Florida. He said that some of the books I bought/had bought and that he was stocking/had been stocking in his basement were destroyed in the hurricane. I ...
0
votes
2answers
219 views

Which one is gramatically correct

Actually, I am writing a story. I have to explain the poverty of a family. So please let me know which one is the grammatically correct and reasons behind them, in the following two statements. ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

“spied” vs “was spying”

I'm studying Barron's 504 absolutely essential words and came across this sentence: "When the bank guard spied the sinister-looking customer, he drew his gun" but it seems odd to me..we are ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

the tense to use with “after” / word choice

The UK now faces the threat of £300m in fines after it (fail) ---------------------------- to meet legally binding EU targets to reduce pollution to safe levels. failed or has failed pollutants/ ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

If I say “I was happy yesterday”, does that always imply “I am not happy today”?

I have some feelings (through the ways they answered my question) that some native speakers always think the following: If we say "I was happy yesterday", that implies "I am not happy today"? Maybe ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

when to use reach

I have a question about the usage of the word 'reach' in the past tense. Which one is the correct question to ask my friend to make sure he reached there before me, while I was still travelling ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Using past simple or past perfect after *since*?

This is an exercise from my English book: You three boys look very guilty! What did you do / have you done / have you been doing since I left / have left? I chose have you been doing and have left....
0
votes
1answer
19 views

Why is past simple used here?

Here are two examples: By the time I got to the station, the train had left. and The train left five minutes before I got to the station. I don't understand why past simple is used in the ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

In past tense which is right, 'I make them write' or 'I made them write?'

I want to know which is the correct past tense I make them write or I made them write
0
votes
2answers
99 views

what is the difference between past perfect continuous and simple past using time periods

Today I ran into an example in the Longman dictionary. I wonder whether or not it is correct. Here is the example: Bargain hunters queued for hours before the store opened. I believe it should be:...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Why is past simple used in this sentence when it happened before?

Philippe Siegfried called me one day in February to announce that he had unpublished titles of his group PANORAMAS. It was Emmanuelle Jean-Luc Taccard's wife (LUCAS TROUBLE, TANGO LÜGER ...) who ...
0
votes
3answers
51 views

past simple and continuous

"Nero played music while Rome was burning." I just copied it from one English workbook for primary school. If it was watched, saw... I would take it as correct. This really bothers me, I cannot think ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Past simple or past continuous?

1 Being students, they didn't have much money and they usually worked as waiters at weekends. Why do we need to use the past simple? 2 While they were studying, they were working as waiters at ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

“where did you sit” vs. “where were you sitting”

I'm a little confused about the difference between this two sentences. Can you explain the exact meaning and all differences between this two? Where did you sit last section? Where were you ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Is it possible to combine present perfect and past simple in this sentence

Even if you have told us before we have been surprised because it has only been raining a little Even if you have told us before we were surprised because it has only been raining a little What ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

had been and the day before

Are the following sentences grammatically correct? He asked me if I was depressed the day before. He asked me if I had been depressed the day before. Please explain. Thanks!
2
votes
2answers
94 views

“If I knew what you want/wanted to eat tonight”

Context: I am talking to my friends, trying to find out what she wants to eat tonight. "What do you want to eat tonight?" "You know what I want to eat." "If I knew what you wanted to eat, I ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

past simple for a habit still in work

The train _ at 8.30 p.m. today, but as a rule it _ at 8.00 p.m. sharp. ANSWER: left and started but could left and starts be ok as it is a general habits still in work at the time of writing so ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

Using will in interrogatives?

I really find it difficult to frame a proper English sentence. I want to ask if this sentence is correct or not: will she be happy if she comes to know that you bought it from the stolen money? ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Tense slip: “have done sth when I realized”?

Most of the confidences were unsought —frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

difference between past simple and past continuous - when I called her

When I called her, she was studying. I know what it means. When I called her, she studied. But does the second sentence mean she started studying when I called her?
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Why can't l chose much or far instead of quite?

I solved a problem in which l picked wrong answer and the question is the part of text which has blank to be filled . Text is very long so l want to give a part of the text . "I don't like reading ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

why “wash” and not “washed”?

I helped my mother wash the dishes after dinner last night. May I know last night is past, why wash is present?
0
votes
3answers
92 views

Should I use past tense for something just happened?

For example, I break a pot. Should I say I broke or I break to tell someone immediately? Another example is the word remember. Should I say I remember it or I remembered when someone mentions ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

Problem with the meaning of the verb

I have a problem about the use of tense of a verb. On the TOEFL test, there is a sentence mixed the past with the present. It it possible to use the past and the present in one sentence? When we can ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

implications of past simple tense - a few minutes ago

I learned that the past simple tense is used for actions which are completed at a definite point in time in the past. Then, does the sentence below imply that they are not dancing anymore now (at the ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

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.
1
vote
1answer
6 views

Past tense of “ I have to”

Question 1: How do I change this correctly and accordingly to the past perfect tense example: He have to do that because someone has told him to possible answer: He had to do that because someone ...
1
vote
1answer
211 views

tense sequencing - I had forgotten … what I learned

I saw the following sentence at http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/-Come-Back-and-Get-Back- : I had forgotten a lot of what I learned about music, but it's all coming back to me now. The past ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

I didn't notice until now that he left - past simple or present perfect?

I have thought that that when something that I can notice continues up to the present, I should use present perfect. For example: I have not noticed until now that his car is white. When the ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Why aren't all these verbs in the same tense?

We have decided to call it a day. We are thankful for everyone that has come to our shows, screamed at the top of their lungs, bought our music, wore our tee shirt and joined the spirit of the band ...
1
vote
1answer
138 views

present perfect continous or past perfect continuous in this case?

Wild Zeros started in Bordeaux in late 2007 - first gig in December of that year. Just a bunch of friends (ex or current members of Magnetix, Pneumonias, Mean Things, Skeptics, Wylde Tryfles…) who ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

“could not [verb]” might strictly imply that attempts were made

This question was influenced by this one. I think there is a situation when 'could not [verb]' implies that some attempts were made. I could not find him. I could not come up with a context that ...
1
vote
2answers
110 views

one sentence of “if”

Now, I'm talking about the past, something I'm not quite sure. (not the unreality) At that time, if he took part in the meeting on the next day, maybe he was preparing the speech. Is this ...