Questions tagged [tense]

This tag is for questions about tense, or location in time by grammatical forms and constructions rather than by semantics.

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317 views

meaning of this perfect tense: will have seen the whole show

  The clock now says two fifty-three-just seven minutes to showtime. [The circus show beside the nursing home is to open at three, so if my family gets here now I can get there in time. All ...
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1answer
6k views

Tense and Conditional sentences: If/Once

(a) If it began snowing, the coaches decided to cancel the game. (b) Once it began snowing, the coaches decided to cancel the game. Which one makes sense? I usually use If to express a future ...
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1answer
196 views

Correct tense/time? “She would get you fired before you had sent your complaint”

I am not sure about using past perfect in sentences like this. To be honest, I don't even know what is that - mixed condition, unreal time? "She would get you fired before you had sent your ...
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3answers
3k views

Can a sentence have clauses in two different tenses?

I have the following idea, The first part is written in a present form as it is more general. As I explained what I did in the second part, it is written in past tense. here is my example. The ...
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1answer
1k views

Simple past vs past progressive in as/while-clauses

As/while I was walking along the beach, I saw a UFO. In that sentence, what difference does it make if the past progressive verb is replaced with a simple past? As/while I walked along the beach, ...
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1answer
91 views

Is this a non-deictic past?

Wake up, Mr. Jankowski. You're having a bad dream."    My eyes snap open. Where am I? Oh, hell and damnation.    "I wasn't dreaming," I protest.    "Well, you ...
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1answer
549 views

The nuance of “could have done”

I think I could have failed this time as well. Could the above phrase mean two things? First it means that I could have failed without your help or something. So with help I could have been ...
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2answers
10k views

“Your letter was received last Friday” or “Your letter is received last Friday”?

Are the following sentences correct? If not, what's the correct usage? Your letter was received last Friday. Your letter is received last Friday.
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3answers
46k views

I'd like to know which tense is correct in sentences using “schedule and reschedule”

I have two sentences, using "schedule" and "reschedule" but I don't know which tense to use in each case. The festival is scheduled to take place next Sunday. Is is scheduled ...
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1answer
65 views

Tense: John will prove to the world that Mahari was right

I see a sentence without further context: John will prove to the world that Mahari was right. I don't understand the meaning of that sentence. Why does it say Mahari was right, instead of Mahari ...
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1answer
1k views

If you were to have asked

I came across this English text below. I'm not sure what the bolded phrase exactly means. I think I've got the meaning of the whole text, but I would like to have some information about that tense. ...
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1answer
100 views

Which time is anterior to the other?

She wants [Tm] to have finished it [Tr] when you return [To]. (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) The time order of above sentence is: Tm < Tr < To. But there’s no sequence ...
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1answer
183 views

“I should not be alive, if it wasn't for a reason”- Is the “was” appropriate here?

I should not be alive, if it wasn't for a reason. I think, this "was" should be "is" as the speaker is still quite alive and speaking the sentence. Am I incorrect in this interpretation?
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3answers
10k views

“I have been sent” or “I am sent”?

I was asked to work with my friend's friend whom I don't know. As I enter his room, he asks me: Who is this? I reply: This is James. I have been/am sent here by Ory. Which one is appropriate, ...
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1answer
122 views

Simple Present versus Present Progressive

What is the correct form and why? Do you miss some item that is on the list? Are you missing some item that is on the list? The context in this particular example
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4answers
71k views

Tense when saying “This is the first time” you've been somewhere

I'm very confused about tenses. I have examples in two different situations here. Situation 1: I went to New York two months ago and was talking to someone about it. A. This is the first time I've ...
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1answer
19k views

“Have you worked” vs. “Did you work” in a complex question in which both past, present and future events are involved

Shoe: Kitty, how many hours a day did you work last week and when do you think you'll be exhausted? (1) Shoe: Kitty, how many hours a day have you worked last week and when do you think you'll be ...
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3answers
30k views

For the last Х years - with which tense

As far as I know "For the last Х years" requires the Present Perfect (continuous) and means that the action is still taking place. I have been building a house for the last three years. However, I ...
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2answers
229 views

Preterite perfects with a doubly remote intrepretation

If they had gone tomorrow they would have met her son. I’d rather you had gone tomorrow. -- The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language I have familiarity with temporal anteriority of ...
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1answer
895 views

perfect tense with future time reference

If it came yesterday he will surely have told her. -- The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language When I saw “Call me in the morning and I’ll have selected your living quarters (Invisible Man)”...
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3answers
2k views

Correctness of sentence

I wrote the sentence "I am wishing the best to you and your family", and I would like to know, if it is correct, especially regarding the tense.
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1answer
392 views

Why is it not OK to use the Present Perfect here?

Michael Swan, in his grammar book, says that in this context the Present Perfect tense is not to be used. 1) Why are you crying? – Tony hit me. 2) This picture looks great. Did you paint it ...
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2answers
17k views

“What was I saying” or “What did I say” when you're interrupted?

When I'm in a discussion with someone and then someone interrupts us and then I forgot what I said and want to continue from the point where I stopped, is it correct to say: What was I saying? ...
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3answers
113 views

Is this the correct tense usage?

This is an anecdote made by a poster: I had a female coworker, and she suggested that her husband and I play racquetball after work. My regular partner had bailed. So we meet up, play racquetball, ...
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2answers
174 views

“You will soon envy the one who does”

If you don’t buy it you will soon envy [a] the one who did [b]. If you don’t buy it you will soon envy [c] the one who does [d]. (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) No doubt, [b] is ...
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2answers
11k views

Difference between “continue to” and “are continuing to”

Please tell me is there any fundamental difference between the two sentences: Even today, people continue to use cheques. Even today, people are continuing to use cheques. I mean is there a ...
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1answer
199 views

Can this clause be used with both present and future reference?

I don’t mind what you do. (1) Let me know who wins. (2) -- Cambridge Grammar of the English Language CGEL says the two examples’ subordinate clauses are written as ‘deictic futures’. There would ...
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1answer
90 views

Why is this 'moved' a past form? [duplicate]

"There must be some kind of story or legend behind it[=entrance stone]. Maybe it's famous and on display at a shrine or someplace." "It could be, I suppose." "Or maybe it's just in some house, ...
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2answers
347 views

Continued to vs Continuing [closed]

Here are two examples from the news: In July exports of goods continued to decline Pregnant women continuing to drink alcohol despite warnings from medical experts Whats the difference ...
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2answers
45 views

Which one is anterior to the other?

If she beats (a) him he’ll claim (b) she cheated (c). (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) The time of (c) is certainly earlier than (b). But which one is earlier between (a) and (b)?
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2answers
3k views

to hear or to have heard

“Major Toyama was killed in Tokyo in March 1945, in the line of duty, during an air raid.” “I'm very sorry to hear that.” (Kafka on the Shore, tr. by Philip Gabriel) Logically, to hear precedes I’...
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1answer
96 views

implication of perfect tense

Harry had the best morning he'd had in a long time. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) The prefect tense above makes a range of which the best is selected out. So, in fact, he’d had in long ...
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1answer
132 views

Is the use of past perfect tense here correct? “When I… I had been…”

I encounter this past perfect tense structure very often: When I joined X company, at that time I had been unemployed for the last 3 years. When I started leaning to swim, I had been practicing ...
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1answer
164 views

Can “would have pp” have present as its reference time?

I've been guessing that would have p.p can be used for future and it has present reference time. But I've not met the case before this. I strongly suspect that the example's reference time is present. ...
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1answer
4k views

Suitable tense for specific time

I understand that when we use the past continuous tense, our listener usually understands what time we are talking about. Like, "I was working at 10 pm last night." However, I saw a sentence in a ...
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2answers
125 views

What tenses should I use in clauses joined by “so”?

I'm learning about joining Past Continuous and Simple Past tenses. It's easy to understand when we use while and when. However, for other conjunctions, I don't know which sentences should be Simple ...
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1answer
330 views

Necessity of using “had had” when a single “had” could have sufficed?

If Sir John had had the slightest idea what was going to be the devastating effect of his son's handsome looks upon a certain beautiful courtesan and the tragedy which would ensue, he might have had ...
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2answers
537 views

meaning of past perfect

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit ...
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3answers
563 views

Is the tense-agreement in this question specific to “dare not”, or are there other examples?

He knew she dare not tell her father. Kim daren’t tell them so I had to do it myself. -- The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p109n My mother tongue, Korean, has tense inflectional options: ...
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3answers
81k views

“done” vs “have done”

I think this sentence is correct. I done something. This is also correct. I have done something. What are the involved tense? How are they different?
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4answers
632 views

What tense should I use?

I am trying to translate a sentence about having breakfast from Italian, but I don't know which tense I should use. Facevo colazione alle 9:00. The sentence is about something done in the past; it'...
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1answer
2k views

Is using the Simple Past always considered a more polite way to ask something?

When I use the Simple Past to ask something, is the sentence always considered more polite? I wanted to know if you would accept an invitation for dinner. I wanted to ask you something. I ...
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2answers
307 views

Can a present tense have the meaning of perfect tense?

"But this is important." "Something you have to say is more important than the Ministry of Magic, Potter?" "Look," said Harry, throwing caution to the winds, "Professor—it's about the ...
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3answers
2k views

Present perfect or simple past?

I just came across this question: This tree (be) _____ planted by the settlers who (found) _____ our city over four hundred years ago. I think "over four hundred years ago" is an unspecified ...
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2answers
1k views

“I'm not improving my English knowledge significantly” versus “I have not been improving my English knowledge significantly”

I'm not improving my English knowledge significantly. I have not been improving my English knowledge significantly. I would like to know which is the best choice between the two sentences above. I ...
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2answers
32k views

“I just wanted to check” with before

When you use the phrase "I just wanted to check" with the word "before," do you usually use present tense or past simple? In the example below, I'm trying to say thank you after receiving an answer ...
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1answer
418 views

What should the more appropriate tense to use in this case be?

There is an website that allows users to send 1024-character messages to each other. When the message is longer, trying to send it causes an error message similar to the following to appear: Max ...
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2answers
194 views

“Which would have turned five years next month”

I'm confused with the use of would have here. Steve and Anne have ended their relationship, which would have turned five years next month. Does the relative clause in that sentence mean the same ...
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1answer
153 views

Why are these present perfect? [closed]

From you have I been [A] absent in the spring, When proud-pied April dress'd in all his trim Hath put [A’] a spirit of youth in every thing That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd [B] with him. Yet ...
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1answer
101 views

Is this 'might have p.p' a back-shifted form?

And Andrew shouted that the sea was coming in, so she leapt splashing through the shallow waves on to the shore and ran up the beach and was carried by her own im-petuosity and her desire for ...