Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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6
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4answers
2k views

My leg got most tired

I came across the following sentence in an exercise book for non-native students of English. I am not sure if the structure of the main clause is correct or at least common in English. If not, is ...
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7answers
741 views

Does 'Was' necessitate a situation which no longer holds?

I am curious about whether the word 'was' implies a situation which is no longer the case. I was under the impression (and still am ;)) that it did not carry a hard logical implication of that nature, ...
6
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1answer
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My grandpa died 30 years ago. I “have never met” / “never met” him. - Which one?

Which one of the following two sentences is correct/proper? My grandpa died 30 years ago. I have never met him. or My grandpa died 30 years ago. I never met him.
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2answers
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I've started or I started

Which one is correct to describe that I started something and it's still continuing since then. I've started doing the project Or I started doing the project I don't know the first one sounds ...
6
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4answers
23k views

Using “Had Born” in English sentences

Can I Use “Had Born” in English sentence to express past perfect i.e. past of past? 1) He had born when I reached to the Hospital. 2) This is where I had born. 3) Your father came to hospital ...
6
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4answers
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How do I decide which of two past events took place first?

The people had taken shelter under a tree until the rain stopped. took shelter will be the 1st action The people took shelter under a tree until the rain had stopped. rain stop will be the 1st ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Does the past perfect tense make sense in this sentence? “Sent from an ”is“ to a ”was“ before he'd had his breakfast.”

From the movie Lucky Number Slevin: (He was) Relegated to the past tense. (He was) Sent from an "is" to a "was" before he'd had his breakfast. The context is Morgan Freeman's character is telling ...
6
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2answers
761 views

Past perfect and Past perfect continuous

Please explain to me which is the correct usage. Balu had worked in several other States when he decided to work in Kolkata. Or Balu had been working in several other States when he decided to ...
6
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2answers
701 views

Repeated present perfects

Is the following correct in English: Since the works have been started end of last year, two activities out of ten have been completed, then the works have been stopped for more than three months ...
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5answers
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 ...
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2answers
5k views

Why is 'I saw her cry' correct, but 'I saw her cried' isn't?

Why is I saw her cry. correct but I saw her cried. is not?
6
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1answer
69k views

“I did try” or “I have tried”?

I was answering a mail from tech support and wanted to tell them that I had already sorted out the problem I intially told them about. I also wanted to emphasize that I had tried the solution ...
6
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3answers
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Should I use the past simple “I learned”, or the present perfect “I've learned”?

Please explain which is correct: I've learned to ride a bicycle when I was five I learned to ride a bicycle when I was five For me both of them are correct.
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2answers
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I received vs. I've received your mail

Could someone explain me what is the difference between "I received your e-mail" and "I've received your e-mail". Thanks.
6
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2answers
4k views

past tense + potential (could + [verb])

I am trying to edit the Statement of Purpose for graduate school of a friend who is a non-native English speaker. I saw the sentence: As a result, I could be admitted to [a certain undergraduate ...
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2answers
1k views

after she had her baby; after she had had her baby

Sheila continued to work after she had her baby. (Longman Online) Silvina continued to work after she had had her baby. (Longman Contemporary) I would guess that 1 implies Sheila continued her ...
6
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1answer
75 views

Can “revolution that would transform” be rewritten as “revolution that transformed”?

The period 1786–9 saw the collapse of the old regime, and the rise of a revolution that would transform the nature and practice of politics. Source: Marisa Linton: Choosing Terror, p. 48. My ...
6
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1answer
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Simple past vs past progressive in as/while/when-clauses

I was given a link to this Q and A board by a member of English Language & Usage and this issue has been rattling around in my head for almost a day now. The question Simple past vs past ...
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5answers
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Past tense substitute for “current” or “actual”

How writing in the past could I refer to the current wife of a man who had been married twice? Could I simply use current, because it's understandable that I am not referring to the date of the ...
5
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2answers
848 views

Do I use 'was' or 'did' as an auxiliary in an interrogative clause?

Which is correct? Was the cheese taste delicious? or Did the cheese taste delicious? I know that we should use 'did' when we want to ask some question in the past simple form, but I'm not sure ...
5
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2answers
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hanged or hung?

Source: Parents receive body of first Russian to die in Syria, doubt suicide Example: The body of the first Russian serviceman confirmed dead in four weeks of air strikes in Syria was delivered on ...
5
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3answers
27k views

Subject + Verb + being… vs Subject + Verb + having been (past tense)

Would you possibly explain the following in details? In addition, what are their tenses? A) She liked being looked at. B) She liked having been looked at. I mean, in general, what can these ...
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2answers
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“Had” vs. “had been”

He had remained president for 20 years and he had done nothing for the benefits of people. He had been remained president for 20 years and he had done nothing for the benefits of people. Are ...
5
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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This photo {has been taken vs. was taken} in Okinawa

A. This photo has been taken in Okinawa B. This photo was taken in Okinawa Which one would be correct? In the case that if I don't want to specify a date
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4answers
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Used to or past simple with the adverb 'When'

I know that both 'Used to' and past simple can be used to talk about things that happened in the past, and that 'Used to' is informal in negative sentences but is the preferred construction when the ...
5
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1answer
12k views

What is the difference between these two sentences (“I was told” vs “I had been told”)?

What is the difference between these two sentences: I went to see it because I had been told it was a good film by all my friends. and I went to see it because I was told it was a good film by ...
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3answers
712 views

What is the difference between these sentences using past perfect tense?

The second sentence is said by using had. This sounds like past perfect tense. What is the difference if I don't use had? I slept less often when I was in Canada. I had slept less often when ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Does “will” always become “would” in the past?

1) Tom: I will phone you on Sunday. Me: Tom said he would phone me on Sunday. 2) I decided I will go to the library. (today) I decided yesterday I would go to the library. (tomorrow) ...
5
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2answers
211 views

Difference between did and does

I messaged my friend asking if a person(say Mr. ABC) replies to his messages. So I texted him saying: " Does Mr. ABC reply to your messages?" He corrected me saying that it was "did" and not "does" ...
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1answer
2k views

Can “some day” be used to refer to past time?

I have looked up the phrase some day in many dictionaries and they all say that this phrase means "at some unspecified time in the future". Still, I wonder if the phrase can be used to refer to past ...
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2answers
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 ...
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2answers
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Compared to or Comparing to?

I am not sure what is compared in this phrase but it seems that people believe it as the correct word. She is nice, compared to you. You're nicer, compared to him. But why? What makes ...
5
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1answer
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“ could ” vs. “ could have ”

As I know we can use both structures to talk about past ability , but is there any difference between them? A. He could climb the mountain B. He could have climbed the mountain
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1answer
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How do you used to feel / How did you use to feel

How do you used to feel before? How did you use to feel before? Do both questions ask about the past? Do they mean the same? Are they both correct?
5
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3answers
647 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. ...
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3answers
1k views

She said the train left at 8 pm

Can I say the sentence in the following context? Now it's 7 pm, my friend Jane said " The train leaves at 8 pm" Can I say Jane said that the train left at 8 pm.(becauses now it is just 7 pm)
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3answers
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Difference between “he kissed me” and “he had kissed me”

I believe, I understand what is difference between the past simple tense and the past perfect tense. As per my knowledge, we use the past perfect tense to show the much old action in the past when two ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Reference to dead people in past or present tense?

If my brother named John passed away and I meet someone named John, would I say: Oh! my brother's name is John. Or: Oh! my brother's name was John.
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2answers
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Don't speak until I [tell, told, have told or what?] you?

I've one or two questions.. How [should or could?] you say this sentence? Don't speak until I [tell, told, have told or what?] you.
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1answer
2k views

Past Simple vs Past Continuous (with for/because)

The following two example were taken from F2F course workbook with answers included but there is no reasoning in the workbook. In both of them, I feel the past simple and the past continuous are ...
5
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1answer
11k 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'...
5
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1answer
42k views

Difference between “they had” versus “they have”

What I know is: whenever we talk about the past, we use had unless it’s a negative statement, where we use didn't have. But I have seen a sentence today where they used "… they have in the last 10 ...
5
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2answers
148 views

HSBC also pointed out it managed to increase

We commonly use the past perfect in reported clauses where the reporting verb is in the past. Cambridge Dictionary I noticed it is common not to follow the above rule: HSBC also pointed out it ...
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3answers
17k 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; ...
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5answers
1k views

“Was” vs “has/had” in this sentence

I saw a sentence but I am not sure about its tense. She was to prepare for the spelling test. I think instead of "was", "has" or "had" is better. I think that "was" is wrongly used here.
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3answers
32k views

“I always knew” or “I've always known”?

I always knew through determination, everything is possible. I've always known through determination, everything is possible. Are both the sentences grammatically correct? Is the only difference ...
4
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2answers
782 views

How can “lay” be used like this?

So I am reading the second series of the famous Harry Potter and right now I am going through the tenth chapter "The Rogue Bludger". The second section of this chapter starts with the following ...
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4answers
2k views

When “have studied” takes place

What is the right meaning of the sentence? No.1 or No.2?
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3answers
6k views

“had gone” vs “was gone” vs “did go” vs “was going”

I have have a hard time to understand the differences. Would you please explain the differences? Question: You went to Chile, didn't you? Answer: No, but I had gone to Peru, which is right next ...

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