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Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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3 votes
2 answers
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Is this reported speech?

I have another question regarding reported speech. Are these sentences some kind of reported speech? "I was told that she knows/knew the whole story." If I turned it around, I think I could form a ...
jess's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
8k views

Recent past which tense I should use?

You have been replaced by another person. You were replaced by another person. You are replaced by another person. If something happens in recent past, which tense should I use? What is ...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does this perfect tense mean?

The chill air was whipping through Harry's hair, and before he'd stopped enjoying the ride, it was over. (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) The conditional clause - before he'd stopped ...
Listenever's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
5k views

They know vs They knew

They know that we can't break this, that's why they gave it to us. They Knew that we can't break this, that's why they gave it to us. Which one is correct? I know, knew is past tense of know but I'...
T2E's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
5k views

Should I say "the reason is" or "the reason was"?

I was wondering if you could turn the "the reason is [...]" phrase into the past tense. Can you turn "The reason I was late is because I slept in this morning." to "The reason I was late was because ...
jess's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
3k views

"Was going to" versus "would be" as the past tense of "will"

Do you think that "was going to be" or "would be" could be used as past tense of will? I thought this book was going to be your choice. I thought this book would be your choice. Do these two ...
jess's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is it possible to be grammatically correct without using past perfect?

Can you guys please help with which verb tense to use when talking about numerous specific events? In the example below, I'm not quite sure if past perfect really is necessary. "She sent me a ...
jess's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
8k views

When is using the past perfect tense not necessary?

Is it more natural to speak in simple past or past perfect when explaining past events to a friend? It seems like Americans use more simple past in everyday life than past perfect. I found this ...
jess's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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had surrendered / surrendered [duplicate]

I have a question concerning the use of Past Perfect and Past Simple in a given situation. It was a tragedy that Abraham Lincoln, who had led the North to victory and was now ready to be generous ...
szop's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
762 views

Past tense: learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt?

In my very first question, Carlo made an edit stating that learnt is a rare past tense of learn. I am accustomed to using learnt for past tense and learned as an adjective (as in He is a learned ...
Sultan's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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What are "is" and "was" pointing to, or referring to in these sentences?

Frank is my best friend! Frank was my best friend! Here, is and was are pointing to the present time, and past time. Mom: Look, you dirty little grub! Child: Mum, it wasn't my fault. What is wasn't ...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
13k views

"it wasn't" vs "it isn't"

Mom: Meggie, I let you put on your best dress this morning on one condition, that you didn't get it dirty. And look at you! Meggie: Mum, it wasn't my fault. Should the last sentence be "Mum, it isn'...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
22k views

"got" vs. "have got"

Reg: What's that you have got Meggie? Reg: Show us. Meggie: No, she's mine! I got her for my birthday! Reg: We just want to have a look. Reg used the present perfect have got in the first sentence; ...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is Present Perfect used in real life?

Do native speaker use "Present Perfect" (in real life) as it should be done? I have watched many US movies, and I noticed that the simple past tense is used more often. For example, suppose that ...
anouar.bag's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
745 views

the potential or hypothetical events which have not yet occurred in the future

We have seen that the basic meaning of the Past tense in English is to locate an event or state in the past. It situate the event at a ‘temporal distance’ from the moment of speaking, whether in ...
Listenever's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
5k views

How many was it or is it

And here comes another of my question from chat discussions :P We were discussing some tv series, and I recommended a particular series which ended with just two seasons in 2011. Now, his next ...
hjpotter92's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
642 views

Present perfect in a past-tense context

Presently I heard Pilot bark far below, out of his distant kennel in the courtyard: hope revived. Nor was it unwarranted: in five minutes more the grating key, the yielding lock, warned me my watch ...
Listenever's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Using the past perfect in a simple sentence

My English grammar book ("English Grammar" by David Daniels and Barbara Daniels) describes the past perfect as follows: The past perfect describes an event in the past and shows that it was still ...
apaderno's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
805 views

At the time of speaking, no relation to present

My friend asked me, "Have you ever paid the money as a penalty?" I paid some money as a penalty, but that was long ago; it won't effect the present. What should I say? I have paid. I had paid. ...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
977 views

past tense or present perfect at the time of speaking

My friend asked me about a person I never met in my life. Should I say "I have never met him in my life." or "I never met him in my life."?
Amish Aa's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
21k views

Tense agreement: "Before he 'had come'/'came' to the factory, Tom 'was studying'/'had studied' at the university of London"

Which of the following sentences is correct? Before he had come to the factory, Tom was studying at the university of London. Before he came to the factory, Tom had studied at the University ...
upgrate's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
758 views

Tenses: future, past, and simple present

Susan is at the factory now. She came to the factory by bus, but she will go home by car. Do these sentences use the tenses correctly?
upgrate's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Using "could" and "couldn't" to express permission in the past

1.A As a child, I was allowed to watch as much television on Saturday and Sunday mornings as I pleased. 1.B As a child, I could watch as much television on Saturday and Sunday mornings as I pleased. 2....
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4 votes
1 answer
19k views

"Kristina 'has passed'/'passed' her exam! She 'has got'/'got' 90%"

Kristina has passed her exam! Kristina passed her exam! Does English use the present perfect (1) or the past tense (2) to announce news? Apart the way to express the vote—90%, 90, I don't know—which ...
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3 votes
0 answers
706 views

Usage of verb in past tense [closed]

Being a non native speaker of English I was shocked when one of my friends used this sentence: Did you called me yesterday? According to my understanding it should be: Did you call me yesterday?...
Sudhir's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Should I always use the perfect present, when the sentence uses "never"?

In my English classes, I was taught that never should not be used with past forms, only with present perfect forms; this is also what I read in a grammar book I bought some years ago. (I bought the ...
apaderno's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

May "since" be used with simple past verbs?

Let's say there are two players A and B, both of them used to be team-mates and are retired now. In the given context, is the use of "since" correct here? Both A and B played against each other 6 ...
Max's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
204 views

What’s the purpose of ‘for’?

You got there? You got Hermione's owl? We must have crossed in midair. No sooner had I reached London than it became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just left. I arrived ...
Listenever's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
15k views

"asked" as past tense and "asked" as past participle

Residents asked for comments on Lydney Area Action Plan Baseline Report. Last summer the Treasury Department asked for comments on fixes to—or outright elimination of–the use-it-or-lose-it rule in ...
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