46 votes
Accepted

Why does Obi-Wan use 'were' in "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough"?

Let's clear up some grammar points first. Time clauses about the future never include "will", and almost always use a present tense: When I am older, I'll be a doctor. After I win, I'm ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 48.9k
20 votes

I (have) never asked that question before. - Americans sometimes drop the "have"?

At least for these statements, this isn't a matter of using simple past to mean present perfect. Using simple past associates the statements with some sort of scope. For example, "I never said ...
user2357112's user avatar
11 votes

Difference between "is come" and "has come"

The time has come... is standard English, and is the version that's used today. On the other hand, The time is come... sounds weird today and uses the archaic 'to be come' construction. Here is ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 1,051
10 votes

Does "this is the first time I have eaten sushi" mean I have finished eating or I'm still eating sushis?

You can say "This is the first time [that] I have eaten sushi " at any time after you have put a piece of sushi in you mouth and before you leave the table/restaurant. because have eaten ...
user81561's user avatar
  • 2,320
8 votes

It was the best ever vs it is the best ever?

A meal in a restaurant: This is the best ever. [as we enjoy it now.] That was the best ever. [when we refer to the meal in the past]
Lambie's user avatar
  • 41.8k
8 votes

Does "this is the first time I have eaten sushi" mean I have finished eating or I'm still eating sushis?

1: This is the first time I have ever done something that I am still doing1 2: That was the first time I had ever done something (no 'still doing' implications) You can't really start #1 with That is....
FumbleFingers's user avatar
8 votes

I (have) never asked that question before. - Americans sometimes drop the "have"?

English speakers especially Americans sometimes use simple past to mean present perfect, is that true? Yes. Indeed, many Americans don't internally make a significant psychological distinction ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 860
7 votes

Can I use 'was' twice in a sentence?

This is valid. There is a main clause and a subordinate relative clause. They both happen to use the same verb. Your sentence contains a (reduced) relative clause. In English it is possible to form ...
James K's user avatar
  • 204k
7 votes

I don’t know how to word this question

The present tense is not only fine but required for a quotation of the protagonist’s thoughts about a current situation. But to be strictly accurate, it should be in quotation marks rather than ...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 2,066
6 votes

Can we use “had” in present tense

You had better [do something] is a special usage meaning 'you should do it' or 'it would be a good idea to do it'. See this explanation.
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 49.5k
6 votes

Which tense should I use if I want to say that an activity was in progress?

English doesn't have an imperfect. So you must choose one of the past tenses. The best is probably a continuous form, in a past tense "I was doing something". However in specific contexts ...
James K's user avatar
  • 204k
5 votes
Accepted

Why update is in the present after was?

We only inflect one verb for "number" and/or "tense" in such contexts, and that's already been done with was. Note that update here is a "bare infinitive" (without the &...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

stood vs standing

To put it simply, 'stood' is the past participle of the verb 'stand', and in formal English we would use it when someone stood you somewhere - 'the girl stood the doll by the toy basket' If you were ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
5 votes

I (have) never asked that question before. - Americans sometimes drop the "have"?

Yes and No. It's not so much that Americans use the Simple Past to mean the Present Perfect. It's that we often aren't noticing (or focusing on) the connection with the present at all. It indicates ...
David's user avatar
  • 206
5 votes

Why does Obi-Wan use 'were' in "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough"?

I agree with the answer by gotube about "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough." - this is perfectly understandable to me. However, there is context to this particular line that ...
roganjosh's user avatar
  • 271
4 votes

The simple past tense confusion (II) : Old connection, with a working exchange from the 1940s, shows or showed?

I agree with your teacher; I would use shows. The sentence is talking about a museum and what it shows to anyone who visits it now. (The fact that the museum's name, Old Connections, is in the plural ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 49.5k
4 votes

It was the best ever vs it is the best ever?

"Ever" means "of all time", but the exact meaning changes with the tense. When used in the present, "ever" includes up to the present. When used in the past, it may ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 48.9k
4 votes
Accepted

Why would a native speaker use "Could" while asking a question about a situation which she saw already completed?

You're right, but people don't always use more complex verbal expressions in everyday speech. Her "Couldn't you just ..." comes over to me as a general question, rather than referring to the ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 73.7k
3 votes
Accepted

They went to Paris and I went to Rome. / They were going to Paris and I was going to Rome

In this case, we use the past continuous to indicate that both journeys were ongoing at the time of the conversation. They went to Paris would state that the journey was completed, without saying ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 49.5k
3 votes
Accepted

"has risen" and "rose"

'Rose' is the simple past tense. 'Risen' is the past participle. We use 'rose' when the rising has finished. That's why your example that refers to a specific period from 2013 to 2017 uses it. That ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 96.3k
3 votes

Let me know once/when/after you got/get/bought/buy the laptop

"Let me know when you get/buy it" literally means 'at the time you buy it', though it needn't be interpreted literally. "Let me know once/when you have got/have bought it" means '...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 49.5k
3 votes

Should "realized" be used with the past perfect or simple?

I think past perfect would be the better choice for all three sentences. There are are a few other errors in the second sentence. I woke up late and realized that I had overslept. I went to the ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
  • 151
3 votes

What is the difference between "didn't" and "hadn't"

(!A) I was tired because I didn't sleep. (2A) I was hungry because I didn't eat. (1B) I was tired because I hadn't slept (2B) I was hungry because I hadn't eaten All four of the above sentences are ...
David Siegel's user avatar
  • 40.9k
3 votes
Accepted

The past of something routinely done

Used to is not particularly informal. But if you want some more formal expressions, I was in the habit of watching a movie every Monday or (in a narrative) I would watch a movie every Monday. But note ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 73.7k
3 votes

Was used to / used to / got used

Not quite. Assuming you mean that "At some point in the past I played football", of your three sentences "I used to play football" is the only correct one in this case. And to ...
mooproxy's user avatar
3 votes

stood vs standing

If you were stood is not grammatically wrong, but it is almost certainly not what the speaker intended, because stood is the past participle of stand. If you were present-participle: you were ...
stangdon's user avatar
  • 40.8k
3 votes

Why past continuous and not present perfect continuous in this example?

The action is in the past and an explicit time is given for the action (at least an end time is given) So the event is in the past, and the connection to the present is broken "I have been ...
James K's user avatar
  • 204k
3 votes

“She played for a while” vs "She had played for a while"

I'm not sure it needs "explanation", because "had played" would also be reasonable. I suppose you might interpret the (probably unconscious) choice to shift from past perfect to ...
James K's user avatar
  • 204k
3 votes

"could ask" or "could have asked"

"Could ask" is used for opportunities in the present. "Could have asked" is used for opportunities in the past. But it is the time of the opportunity not the conditional event it ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 4,067
3 votes

Simple Past and Past Progressive - both possible in cases with defined period of time - Thomson (1986) says it should be Simple Past

In this case, the fact that the time-frame for playing football is "well-defined" (precisely specified) isn't relevant to the choice of tense - except that #2 would be far less likely if the ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible