Questions tagged [past-tense]

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

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“She had grown up, and it was said that she became a barmaid, kind and generous.” - is it awkward to use Past Perfect here?

From a lang-8 post I was proofreading: A long time ago, there lived a little girl. ... [some things happen: the girl meets a travelling priest etc.] ... The wisdom of his words changed the girl ...
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3answers
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Distinguishing past participle and adjective when spelled the same

Past Participles A past participle often ends in -ed, but there are also many irregular past participles. For many verbs, including -ed verbs, the simple past and the past participle are the ...
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1answer
2k views

Better way to use 'take' and 'took'

When before sleeping if one ask me how much you drink water today. How can I respond him in better way or which one is right one? I took 5 glass of water. or I take 5 glass of water today. ...
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372 views

Why is past perfect used?

Please, look at the end and beginning of two paragraphs, please let me know why is "expire" past perfect: End of paragraph one : PJ and I finally played together as a duo under the name of BB ...
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3answers
224 views

Does “could not [verb]” imply that attempts were made?

He had a clear idea – he needed seven years of peace and quiet in order to work. (1) In America he could not have it. (2) In America he could not have had it. So he went back to Russia. Does could ...
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1answer
427 views

would + stative verb in past simple, “have” is an exception?

I saw in the "New English File - Advanced" book (p. 139, Unit 2A) from Oxford University the use of "used to" and "would" for past simple and one of the rules says: "we don't use would with stative ...
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2answers
110 views

Why was the past tense used in this sentence?

In Ozark (s01e02) Jason Bateman's character instructs his children what he would love to see when he has come back: And I'd love to not have to turn the room upside down to find the clicker. That ...
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1answer
79 views

Is there any rule for making a made-up verb into passive voice and past tense?

Suppose I make my own word (as a verb) to use in a specific community such as game. How should I make it in passive voice and in past tense? For example: A game has an action that is a made-up word ...
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1answer
783 views

past verb vs has/have been when they are used?

I would like to use past sentences, however, I cannot figure the different between have/has been and the past verbs. We can write a past sentences using both (as I understand). For example, which one ...
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1answer
83 views

progressive tense for completed actions

This is based on a true story that happened many, many years ago in Scotland. One day Mr Clark was walking home with a smile on his face. He was carrying something very valuable in his hand: tickets ...
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1answer
776 views

the function of “did”

I found a sentence in my "Preparation and Practice Exam TOEFL" book a sentence states "Not until 1895 did Cornell University begin to offer a degree in ornithology" . anyone can explain what the word "...
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1answer
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Any difference between “shouldn’t have done something” and "shouldn’t have to do something”?

Is there any difference between these two? I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have to do that.
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1answer
5k views

“It must have been .. ” or “It must was ”?

I had a sentence transformation exercise and I had to say that sentence "I'm sure it WAS Tom who cleared everything up." with (It must...) and I wrote "It must was john who cleared up everything" but ...
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2answers
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“I love” versus “I've loved” usage

Which quote is proper? "I believe in love at first sight because I've loved my mom since I opened my eyes." or "I believe in love at first sight because I love my mom since I opened my eyes."
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What is the past form of “ought to”?

I ought to help him . I ought to have helped him. Shall I use (have + past participle) for the past form of ought to?
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2answers
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which sentence is correct? has left, left or leaves?

I am confused with this: "Long after he has left, she finds out that it has been stolen." "Long after he left, she finds out that it has been stolen." "Long after he leaves, she finds out that it ...
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3answers
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Why should we use 'Did you come?' instead of 'Did you came?'? [duplicate]

I know 'Did' is the past tense of 'Do' and if we want to ask question in present tense 'Do you come?' and in past tense it is 'Did you come?'. Why don't we use 'Did you came?' as came is the past ...
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3answers
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'I made it' and 'I did it' vs 'I have made it' and 'I have done it'

Why do English speakers say 'I made it!' and 'I did it!' instead of 'I have made it!' and 'I have done it!' when talking about succeed results of their actions. As far as I know, they should say 'have/...
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1answer
20k views

Another way to say “would love/hate/like to have done something”

I would love to have seen her. How often would you use such a construction--that is, I am wondering if it is a formal structure? In addition, could you show me some other way to express the same ...
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2answers
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Have you phoned or Did you phone? [duplicate]

1.Have you phoned your sister? 2.Did you phone your sister? What is the difference between the above two sentences? (Do they sound similar?)
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1answer
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Past tense of “Seems like everything I've been doing recently is to follow people around.”

I tried this: Seemed like everything I'd been doing recently was to follow people around. Is that correct?
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1answer
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“Proofreading (was never/has never been) my strong point”

Why is the phrase "Math was never my strong point" more common (about twice as much according to a simple Google search) than "Math has never been my strong point" when the last one makes more sense? ...
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1answer
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“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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2answers
144 views

Can the past simple or the present perfect fit in this example with yet

Two days ago I tried to order a book but could not pay because your system did not accept/ has not accepted paypal payments yet. if I choose to add yet with past simple it means that at the time of ...
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1answer
97 views

“Had I gone to Paris” - Is this right or wrong?

"Had I gone-?" Is this a correct sentence? If not, what's the right way to express this question? Is it possibly : Had I been to, instead? Or is this arrangement just incorrect? The question is ...
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1answer
98 views

Problem to use Past Perfect tense (Had met / met)

Sentence: It was the first time I had met/met her. Which tense form should be used, had met or met? I have come across this sentence only, not from any specific context.
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1answer
217 views

What tense after “I've never met … who”?

I have some troubles with tenses after "I've never met ...". Should it be in past or present? Or it doesn't really matter and I can go with whatever I feel like? Some examples from Google: I've ...
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1answer
75 views

Should I use past perfect tense in the sentence?

past simple He went for a week, so he took only hand luggage past perfect He went for a week, so he had taken only hand luggage (the first action- had taken luggage; the second one- went)
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4answers
250 views

Why is present perfect used instead of past tense in this sentence?

On a website I read this dialogue: I'm looking for a cheap virtual credit (Master/Visa) card for paying online. I have been asked for a scanned copy of my credit card on first purchase by ...
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1answer
280 views

Use of 'beginning' when talking about a past event

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Organised by the Charitable Giving Association, it involved hundreds of people from all walks of life, beginning on December 25th and lasting for three ...
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2answers
3k views

Which one should I choose? tell vs told [duplicate]

Which one should I choose: Don't you think it's time you tell vs told Adrea the truth?
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1answer
248 views

Imperfective and perfective aspects of verb “glow”

The following six examples are taken from Google Books: Now that they were up close, it was clear that one section of the wall was glowing a much deeper green than the rest. Jack moved next to ...
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1answer
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Is it correct to use 'could' to describe past permission?

Recently I`ve been revising my knowledge about the verb could. I know that could is used as the past form of can to describe a general ability in the past. E.g. I could work 10 hours a day when ...
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2answers
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I was hoping you would vs. I was hoping you would have

Examples with I was hoping you would: I was hoping you would notice. I was hoping you would look into a phone scam that is happening. I was hoping you would be open by this summer, but was ...
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2answers
879 views

Is it necessary to repeat “had” in the following sentence?

I followed the dog. Luckily, as if it had become tired, or (had) reached its desired spot, it stopped. Do I need the second had? Why or why not?
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1answer
342 views

Is a past-tense *when* clause acceptable with a present perfect main clause?

He has helped me when I was lonely. Is this past tense ok?
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455 views

Alluding to already Narrated Past Simple events in Past Perfect

Please, read the following quote: I finally finished tidying about 3 a.m. (after I moved the furniture) and a few minutes later I was fast asleep. I woke up suddenly at 8 a.m. I had arranged to ...
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1answer
839 views

Reference Time, Coordinating Conjunctions and Past Simple/Perfect Tense

This is an exercise from Face2Face English course with the solution provided in the workbook, but with no reasoning. In the exercise below I would like to know (actually confirm mine) the Reference ...
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2answers
739 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?
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1answer
47 views

Which past tense should I use in this sentence

What did you do at this time yesterday? What were you doing at this time yesterday? The simple past tense or the past continuous tense?
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1answer
20 views

It's correct to Say: “It was Tough to me?”

It's correct to say: "It was Tough to me accept the loss of my HD"? (To clarify, i want to talk about the Data loss, not the object itself) I'm Brazilian, so this structure in Portuguese ...
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1answer
796 views

Why do people use “did” instead of “do” when asking something?

When I go to shops to buy something, always workers ask me, "Did you need a bag?" or "Did you need a receipt?". I'm really wondering why they say "Did" than "Do" because I learned that when I talk ...
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1answer
87 views

The preterite with imaginary situations in the future: “if tomorrow it was proven”

Is below sentence is correct? If tomorrow it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does not and never did exist, would you want to remain a part of your religion. This is because word ...
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1answer
47 views

Why do I need the past, not the past perfect, here?

Capital expenditure of their company in the year 2001 _______ clearly below the spending in the year 2000 when they _______ about half the investments for the concept conversion. A) used to be / had ...
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1answer
538 views

The difference between past tense and had pp?

Less well known at the time was the fact that Freud had found out, almost by accident, how helpful his pet dog Jofi was to his patients. He had become a dog­lover in later life when Jofi was given to ...
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2answers
55 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 ...
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1answer
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How to use rather when a situation already happened

This question: Who would you rather be elected? may elicit the following answer (not sure if it's grammatically correct): I'd rather have A win but supposing that the elections are ...
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1answer
83 views

Past simple or past coninuous?

I Need to prove my teacher wrong. We had an English test and there was this one task where we had to put the verbs in the right past tense (past simple or past continuous). So the sentence was: ...
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2answers
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Using had said/said

Can someone please tell me if the sentence below is correct? I whisper to myself some final words of validation, the same three words I had said right before she passed away. Is it necessary to ...
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1answer
1k views

she was vs she had been

Which one is correct? She was on OCP for 5 years and had stopped it since 2005. She had been on OCP for 5 years and had stopped it since 2005.

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