Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

142 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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2answers
214 views

How to use tenses in reported speech

If I had two verb forms in a sentence, how should I use the tense? For example: I heard that you were moving to London. The situation is like this, the event (moving to London) has not taken ...
3
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1answer
106 views

I wanted to do something but have forgotten

I wanted to do something but have forgotten. Is this sentence valid? Can I use the past simple with the present perfect in this case? As another example: I have wanted to buy something but have ...
2
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1answer
51 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
165 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 ...
2
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1answer
587 views

I invited my friend but I realised that I forgot/had forgotten to give him the address

I invited my friend, but later l realised that l ....... to give him the address. A: forgot B: had forgotten I think that B is true but it's written in the book that A is the correct one. Is that ...
2
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1answer
113 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 ...
2
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1answer
3k views

About past tense/present in summary

First, my teacher taught us to use present verb tense in a summary, but sometimes I just really want to use past tense. for example (sociology essay,informal tho) A black female student is ...
2
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1answer
205 views

“Didn't choose {to be born/to have been born}”

Didn't choose to be born Didn't choose to have been born The second one doesn't sound right to me, but something about it looks plausible. Which one is the right one, and why?
2
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1answer
63 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 ...
2
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2answers
158 views

Necessity of past perfect?

The....... has been in existence for about three and a half years now, while before that Kai had been a member of a group called ......., and even before that was also involved with another group ...
2
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2answers
301 views

past simple or present perfect for a past action with effect on present

Sorry for the late reply, I was away for the weekend, I saw you had already placed another order so I owe you the extra 7€ you've spent for the shipping, let me know if you want a refund Could have I ...
2
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2answers
329 views

Indication of different times

I am very happy to have helped you. I'm very happy to be helped you. I'm very happy to help you. I was very happy to had helped you. By the first sentence, I wanted to mean that I've helped someone ...
2
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2answers
150 views

Past continuous vs. Past perfect

It's a story that happened in the past at an airport. It starts this way When I got to the check-in desk my parents were nowhere in sight. I was waiting for them until it suddenly occurred to me ...
1
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1answer
72 views

Reported speech: When to not change “was” to “had been”?

Recently, I was studying about reported speech and while thinking about a few "directly" reported constructions came to mind. I'm trying to change those sentences to reported speech. Barbara ...
1
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1answer
24 views

Ways to talk about the last 3 hours

Are all the following grammatical? and which one is the most natural? I haven't eaten anything for 3 hours. I haven't eaten anything over the last 3 hours. The last time I ate ...
1
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1answer
26 views

What tense do I have to use in this sentence with 'whenever'?

When I use 'would' with 'whenever', What tense is used? For example, Whenever I went to my grama's house, I would play in the park. Can I use 'go to' instead of 'went to'? Or I would dance ...
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0answers
15 views

Is it necessary to add “being” here?

The meeting, held at a time when the world is facing growing uncertainties, is widely expected to bring positive energy to global well-being. or The meeting, being held at a time when the world is ...
1
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1answer
58 views

how to say this sentence

It was raining for three days. the farmers were very happy to water their fields. or It has been raining for three days. the farmers were very happy to water their fields. I normally would ...
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0answers
48 views

He told he had found or found

After he had been watching them for a couple of days he told the police everything he found out Why not had found out as he first watched them then found out and then went to the police. If you don'...
1
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2answers
32 views

Particular question about past

He knew that I was trying to tell him the fact that him being wrong. He knew that I was trying to tell him the fact which is him being wrong. He knew that I was trying to tell him the fact ...
1
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1answer
75 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 ...
1
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1answer
48 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 ...
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2answers
54 views

Why is it “She wrote articles” and not “she has written” or “she was writing”?

Why is the past simple and not the present perfect used in the following context? One day, Jack told Anne about John’s life in Canada. She wrote articles for her school Internet magazine. And she ...
1
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1answer
55 views

“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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2answers
42 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
59 views

“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.
1
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1answer
637 views

Had not needed vs did not need

I was asked to fill the blank below preserving the meaning of the sentence. It was not necessary for him to take any warm clothes, so he traveled light. He ____________ take any warm clothes ...
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2answers
94 views

Is it possible to use past simple instead of past perfect in “…all the washing up HAD BEEN DONE…”?

There's the following sentence in my Grammar book: It was a lovely surprise to find that all the washing-up HAD BEEN DONE while I was asleep. The only answer mentioned in the answer key is past ...
1
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1answer
42 views

What is the best choice in this case past continuous or simple

While she was driving to work every day she was listening or listened to languages CDs In the test the answer is listened because the action is completed now: she does not listen to these cds ...
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2answers
50 views

“were” used as a subjunctive is present or past?

Given the 2 examples below: I wish you were here now If he were in the situation that you've been 2 weeks ago, we wouldn't have bothered about it now The word 'were' is used as a subjunctive and my ...
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1answer
167 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 ...
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3answers
98 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 ...
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1answer
273 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 ...
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1answer
50 views

The river Thames last froze over three decades ago

I was solving a question for TOEIC prep, and found this sentence. The question was "The River Thames last ______ over three decades ago." 1. freeze 2. froze 3. frozen 4. freezing ...
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1answer
49 views

Why do we have “were” in this sentence and not “are”?

I read the paragraph below and I am not sure why we have "were" instead of "are", when the writer is talking about children "nowadays". Is it because he is talking hypothetically about the future? ...
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2answers
110 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 ...
1
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3answers
378 views

Past perfect with before-clause

I don't get the difference , why in first example we use past simple, and in the second past perfect. " He decided to get a present for his children before he left Rome" " He began apologizing before ...
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2answers
417 views

Past tense after Present Perfect

A: How is your weekend going? B: I have been sightseeing (today) and earlier I was at the beach/I had been at the beach(?) Which form should I use?
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2answers
281 views

When should I use simple past and when I should use simple past progressive?

When I do homework about tenses especially in simple past and simple past progressive, I got a problem to different the use of each tenses> Example question : It was beautiful day yesterday when ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Will the meaning change if I change “when-clause”?

do these sentences have different meanings? When she was back, I decided to do my homework.(Can this one have two meanings?) I decided to do my homework when she was back.(Can this one have two ...
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2answers
118 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 ...
1
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2answers
178 views

Help understanding past perfect with continuous

I am learning the past perfect/continuous and I have just read that we generally use it when we are saying in our tenses a form of time/date who highlight the importance of the past. In this case, I ...
1
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1answer
48 views

Difference between “looked like” and “were looking like”

1) Why past tense has been used in below sentence for looked, walked? 2) Can we use my version of sentence using looking, walking? a) Actual... The video was shot beautifully. Pranay Kumar and ...
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2answers
1k views

Completed Action/ final condition / final state of action / Event at that time in Reporting Speech?

The past perfect is used to communicate an event completed before another event in the past. But in newspaper I read in some news that past perfect and simple past is being used to communicate the ...
1
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1answer
124 views

Should I use “was” or “is” in the following sentence?

Should I use was or is in this sentence? I asked them if Person X was/is in any way related to or affiliated with their organization at any time. My guess is "at any time" warrants "was". Is this ...
1
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1answer
144 views

What do you think of my choice (past simple or present perfect)

I'm staying in my friend's house because we have made an house exchange.I am leaving tomorrow and I wrote a little note of what I had done during my stay. Here it is Time to get back. I have very ...
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0answers
35 views

I was working while I was studying at college

I was working while I was studying at college, is it correct? And how to tell about past actions for example: 'In college I had a subject 'Web design' where I was making a static web-page', is it ...
0
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1answer
19 views

What verb tenses should I use with enumeration?

I have the following sentence. All of the actions described I've performed today. I've paid a visit, played chess, drank an espresso and bought a couple of souvenirs. My first tense is present ...
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0answers
16 views

was waiting or waited

The hunter waited silent and motionless beside a breathing hole where he had seen a seal the day before why not was waiting as the wait is not completed, the seal has not been there yet englishlab....
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0answers
17 views

'used to' & 'had to' … what tenses are these?

What are the tenses here? He used to play football professionally, but he had to quit because of an injury. The first clause, with 'used to play' and the second clause, with 'had to quit' ... are ...