Questions tagged [tense]

Tense is location in time by grammatical forms and constructions rather than by semantics.

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1answer
14 views

always and normally

I'm confused about what tenses I should use after always and normally. You always leaves the milk outside or You always left the milk outside (I was annoyed so I told him not to do it) I usually buy ...
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2answers
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When what we are talking about is a general idea, we use present perfect to refer to the past event instead of using simple past?

I have a feeling that when what we are talking about is a general idea, we use the present perfect to refer to the past event instead of using simple past. Is that the way to look at it? Is that a ...
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28 views

what are the appropriate tense forms to be used in these sentences and why?

She promised me that she (to ring up) me as soon as she (to return) from London. She (to tell) me that the plane (to take off) at exactly 5 o'clock. I learned that she (to get) a parcel from her ...
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38 views

“While I was going to school” vs “While I went to school”

While I was going to school, I met him. While I went to school, I met him. Is there be any difference?
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What is the difference between: “I am reading a lot these days” and 'I have been reading a lot these days'?

What is the difference between: "I am reading a lot these days" and "I have been reading a lot these days"? As far as I can tell, they can both describe temporary situations. Can I ...
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21 views

“It's time that someone looked you in the eyes and told it to you straight.”

Could anyone tell me why the verbs "look and tell" are in the past tense in the following sentence: It's time that someone looked you in the eyes and told it to you straight.
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1answer
25 views

Use of progressive in this situation incorrect?

The only thing you can do is eating it. The only thing you can do is eat it. The only thing you can do is jumping on it. The only thing you can do is jump on it. I am wondering if using the ...
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1answer
41 views

Should I write “has returned home” or “returned home”?

I am writing a diary to improve my English. I write it describing the situation at the end of the day. My grandmother arrived home yesterday. How should I describe this? My grandmother returned home....
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Is this sentence ambiguous? - If I were as hungry as my friend now, I would get the burger he ate

If I were the president, I would transform this country into a place that developed high-tech industries. Even though the "developed" here is in the past tense, it is in a hypothetical ...
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Is there a name for the usage of the present simple tense in situations like “I think” or “I declare” etc?

I vaguely remember there was an explanation but I do not know how to find it. Basically, why do we say: "I think", "I declare", "I expect", "I win" in ...
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Is the past simple tense used correctly here?

Look at this sentence: Before the twentieth century, more than a thousand people tried to reach the pole. Is the present simple tense used correctly there? It seems (to me) that the past perfect tense ...
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having been vs being

In the following sentence, I am supposed to pick correct choice: Several guests complained about (being/having been/to have been) served cold food last night. I think it should be having been but ...
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correct usage of “will have”

In this website: British Council Learn English, they say—"We use will have when we are looking back from a point in time in the future, or looking back from the present":: It's half past ...
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“Harold is booked on a flight leaving tonight.”

"Is" is for singular subject and for present tense, if the word "booked" is a past tense, why they use "is" instead of "was"? I agree that "leaving tonight&...
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2answers
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I learn English every day or I study? [duplicate]

I know that to learn and to study work differently in non-continuous tenses. I learnt English doesn't mean I studied English. But what about the present? I hear people say "I learn English every ...
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Is it possible to speak English only using simpler tenses

Is it possible to be grammatically correct and describe any situation with use of Simple and Continuous tenses? With no use of Perfect and Perfect Continuous.
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the parking inspector was sticking this on my windshield

Man: What is it? Woman: What does it look like? It's a ticket. I got a ticket. Well, read it. Man: Overtime parking from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Ah, I don't understand. Woman: Well, you're not allowed ...
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present or past tense when referring books [duplicate]

You should read the book and see what he means/meant by...... Question: Do we use present or past tense for a book? And does it matter if it's fictional books (Shakespeare) or fact (political/religion)...
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doesn't or wouldn't let?

I'm wondering whether doesn't or wouldn't should be used. Dad doesn't / wouldn't let Joanne watch TV as a punishment because she hasn't done her homework. I'd appreciate your help.
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63 views

A question about the usage of “freeze”

I have a question about "freeze" as in weather conditions. It is perfectly normal to say: it rains a lot in Holland it has been raining a lot lately it rained last night if I want to express ...
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How many “have” forms are there in English? [closed]

This question may sounds a little bit weird. I am asking of variants as tense, grammatical or another meaning of "have(v1, v2, v3, been, to, gerund), had(v1, v2, v3, been, to, gerund), having(v1, ...
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What's the Difference Between “I would've had to say” and “I would've had to have said”?

If they'd asked me, I would've had to say... If they'd asked me, I would've had to have said... What's the difference between them?
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Is continuous tense simply whatever tense of “be” + gerund

In the sentence "He was running.", is this past continuous tense or is it "He was [noun].", where running, a gerund, acts as the noun? It seems much simpler to think of it was the ...
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Have been use without time

‘I have been in worse problems’ is this statement gramitically and syntactically correct? I have tried searching in Google and also on quora But I got both positive and negative answers
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Difference between will and will be

What is the difference between below sentences or they are completely same at all? We will be looking at the questions very soon I will focus on new questions and We will look at the questions very ...
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At what tenses can I use the “to be going to” and “used to” constructions?

There are constructions like: to be going to used to be used to get used to At what tenses can i use them? For example "to be going to" in past simple looks well: I was going to... But "...
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Questions regarding the differences between simple and progressive past

I have a few sentences in which I don't know which tense to use. In the first sentence, I want to describe how a zoom meeting ended, but everybody stayed. So should I say: I saw that everybody was ...
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1answer
26 views

Transition from simple past to present perfect

This is a part of my self introduction: I taught English and Arabic, and this has led me to the decision that I have to give translation a try. What I mean to express is that I have recently ...
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2answers
48 views

Tense with an improbable condition

What is the difference between these two sentences? If he asked me, I would/'d stay. If he had/'d asked me, I would/'d have stayed. I think they both are conveying the same meaning, That is a ...
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Use “would” and “could” to express possibility or politeness: do we need to change tenses in the subordinate clauses?

According to https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-modal-would.htm, would can be used to create remoteness of possibility or probability remoteness between speakers (formality, politeness). Here ...
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What is imperfective and perfective in English?

I know both of them are categorized under aspect, but do imperfective refer to "was doing" and perfective refer to "have done"? Then how about "have been doing" and "...
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1answer
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Is the tense usage in “Bob has tried to help but can't crack the code” correct?

Context: Alice has some issues with an app. She talks to Bob who is familiar with the app, but he couldn't fix it and refers her to some experts group. Alice initiates a conversation with the experts ...
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1answer
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Can I use the present to express the future in this case?

When I'm writing an article, and I want to tell my readers what I'm going to do in the subsequent text, can I use the present, or do I always have to use a construction expressing the future? For ...
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1answer
40 views

Sequence of tenses for modal verbs?

Would, could, and might can be used to express possibility or uncertainty in the present or future (they are the "softer" and more "indirect", or more "polite" forms of ...
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1answer
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Tense simplification: use would, could, might, should to express possibility, uncertainty, etc. in the present

The book Practical English Usage by Michael Swan says: The tense in the subordinate clause tends to be simplified. He gives some examples: (a) If I (would have) had lots of money, I would give some ...
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Is this right to say “It has been 20 years since they have seen each other.”

I saw this sentence below on the internet. It has been 20 years since they have seen each other. Is this right expression? Should I collect like "It has been 20 years since they saw each other.&...
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1answer
27 views

William Shakespeare is known to “have” performed his own plays: with or without “have”?

When talking about people in the past, I've seen many online entries use "is known to" with "have" like: "William Shakespeare is known to have performed his own plays." ...
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1answer
28 views

Can the past continuous be used this way?

1 I missed your call because I was helping fix Jack's car for one hour. I am not sure if it's correct. It is supposed to mean though, "During that hour I was helping fix Jack's car, I missed your ...
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On of the usages of the past continuous

If I say: 1 I was living in America for a year. (it will be a bad sentence on its own) If I say: 2 I lived in America for a year. (it will be OK) If I say: 3 You were eating this sandwich for an hour. ...
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3answers
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Why is it not idiomatic to use the past continuous here?

I have found these sentences which were said to be wrong if used together. This is wrong: They were a happy couple. Their relationship was lasting for life. It should be They were a happy couple. ...
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What tenses to use to speak about two longtime actions in the past happening at the same time?

A woman is speaking to a girl whose life as she knew it ended a month ago speaking about two things a girl was used to during her previous life happening at the same time, not one after the other. ...
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Five months ago, I {decided/have decided} to learn how to play the piano

Five months ago, I {decided/have decided} to learn how to play the piano. Is "Five months ago" a definite time? I have read that when there is a definite time, I should use the simple past ...
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29 views

When I will have

I recently wrote a letter of motivation with this sentence Later on, when I will have more experience as a Salesperson, I plan on gaining responsibilities in... Is this sentence correct ? Or should ...
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Choosing correct tense and article [closed]

Which one is correct? I just sent them an email I just have sent them an email I just sent them the email I just have sent them the email Suppose I need to say this to my colleague, who is also in ...
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What is the differences between using “was” or “is” or even others like “will be” in these conversations?

I found that in discourse, "that" or other pronouns can refer to many things. Sometimes it is an idea or it can involve specific elements in the discourse. But because I am not a native ...
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what's the difference between since + present perfect and since + past simple when since is not used as because

What's the difference between since + present perfect and since + past simple when since is not used as because? I've seen both being used but never really understood what's the difference -between ...
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Do words such as “could have”, “should have”, or “might have” represent the past possibilities of the past?

We know that words such as could have, should have, or might have mean past possibilities. When they are used in a noun clause following a verb, do they represent the past possibilities of the past? ...
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…and is/has gone a second later when

Jack is walking down the hallway when suddenly he hears footsteps just around the corner. He runs for the nearest door and is/has gone a second later when Pete and Toby come around the corner. (The ...
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1answer
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smiles as if it is/was/were a compliment

Ian grabs Lili as she tries to leave. Lili: Let go of me, you sociopath. Ian: You think I'm a sociopath? Ian smiles as if it is/were a compliment. It should be 'were', right? Even though the sentence ...
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1answer
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The Present Simple instead of The Present Progressive in the speech of native speakers of English

I’ve found some examples (provided by native speakers of English) of using The Present Simple where according to all the grammars I’ve read The Present Progressive should have been used. Could you ...

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