27 votes
Accepted

Why is it correct to say "We should go see a movie," but not "We should have gone see a movie"?

Great question. This construction, sometimes called a serial verb construction, mainly works for "go" and "come" (at least in conversational mainstream American English; some other ...
  • 3,403
21 votes

Why is it correct to say "We should go see a movie," but not "We should have gone see a movie"?

The former sounds correct in spoken English, although sounds American to my British ear (i.e., the construction "go see" sounds American). The latter sounds unnatural, although could be ...
19 votes
Accepted

The baby cries this morning

Yes, you are correct. The present tense has (at least) two uses in English: It can refer to something that is happening right now, or, probably more often, to something that happens continually. If ...
  • 57.8k
8 votes

The baby cries this morning

You're correct on the first sentence. It shows a general habit as you say. The second sentence uses the present perfect continuous tense. It's use means that the baby has been crying all morning and ...
  • 2,077
8 votes
Accepted

She told me that she HAS / HAD a gun

Both are perfectly correct. The meanings are not exactly the same, and you would use one or the other in different situations. She told me she has a gun. Use this form if the situation is ongoing ...
  • 12.1k
7 votes
Accepted

Indirect speech - past tense

You're talking about backshifting, which is common in indirect speech, but not required. For events that happened in the past and are complete, it makes more sense to backshift. My sister said ...
  • 87.2k
6 votes

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

A state of completion can be fixed in time by the perfect tenses. He had eaten his breakfast by 9AM. In other words, breakfast was finished by 9AM. To "have" breakfast is to eat it, not to have ...
5 votes

Narrative present

Introductory to Narrative Present: From different sources we know that the Present Simple and Present Progressive can be used in narration to emphasise the recreation of the event or situation and to ...
  • 24.5k
5 votes
Accepted

Narrative present

The short answer is that in good writing, you shouldn't switch tenses the way you did in your examples. Inserting the narrative present into a narrative that is otherwise in past tense has to be ...
  • 4,590
5 votes

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

Michael Swan comments on this issue in Practical English Usage: In clauses with before, we often use present perfect and past perfect tenses to emphasise the idea of completion. You can't go home ...
5 votes

Is it grammatically correct to use two past continuous tenses in a single sentence?

It's correct to use the past continuous 2 times in a single sentence to give background information: It was pouring with rain and she was wondering what to do. You weren’t listening to me when I was ...
  • 5,436
5 votes
Accepted

"If + would" conditional in present perfect tense

"will" and "would" can be used in conditional clauses when a polite request is implied (the examples are taken from here): If you 'll just fill in this form before you go, you can hand it in to ...
  • 4,038
5 votes

"Climbed and tried to" or "climbed and try to"

"I climbed the ladder and tried to grab the fruit." is correct. That sentence is composed of two parts, and each part can be turned into a sentence by itself: "I climbed the ladder." "I ...
  • 11.5k
5 votes
Accepted

Prove that he didn’t/hadn’t

Which tense to use here is a style choice. The two versions technically have different meanings, but the difference is so trivial that it doesn't affect what someone would understand. If he had sued, ...
  • 20.1k
5 votes

Why does the author write "listen" for a thing he is doing?

The word as in the phrase as I listen already sets a framework that is ongoing in present time. There is no need to reinforce that with present continuous.
4 votes

Why "get" is followed by past participle in "get started" and "get lost"

This is sometimes called the "get" passive form. The normal passive is be + p.p. "The apple was eaten". But in casual use, and particularly when speaking of events that are bad we might use "The ...
  • 157k
4 votes
Accepted

'Will' vs. 'would'

It is not so much the wills and woulds as the "solves" that makes it unclear which eventualities are hypothetical. In the context of present-form narrative, the indicative implies an actual ...
4 votes

Tense Agreement: 'hold' vs. 'held'

Both are fine. Held is more natural in that construction, but when it's a property which is likely to continue to the present, hold is perfectly good, and draws attention to the fact that it is still ...
  • 66.7k
4 votes

Which tense do I use when reporting an action that occurred yesterday?

A common trouble with ESL students is using the past perfect to talk about something in the past when sequence of events in the past is not important. The past perfect is used to talk about order of ...
4 votes
Accepted

Differences between past simple + future simple /future in the past

He didn't know that we will soon buy a new house. [buzzer] He didn't know that we would soon buy a new house. [good] He didn't know we were going to buy a new house. [all past: good] He didn't know we ...
  • 36.5k
4 votes

Should I say, The president of the college, together with the deans, 'is' or 'are' planning a conference for the laying down a series of regulations

“Additional” phrases like accompanied by, as well as, in addition to, along with, and together with are not a part of the subject and do not affect the verb. The verb should agree with the subject: ...
3 votes
Accepted

Is "you will give me the photos that you would make" the correct tense for this sentence?

Actually, this is a good case for the future perfect: We will meet in fourteen days and (at that time) you will give me the photos that you will have taken (in the meantime). The verb tells us ...
  • 87.2k
3 votes

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

With Respect to Nicholas I agree with TRomano and Mv Log based on reference to Michael Swan. CGEL, Michael Swan, and Hornby all state that we can use either the Past Simple or the Past Perfect after ...
  • 24.5k
3 votes
Accepted

I have or I have got?

"Have got" isn't an auxiliary verb. If you regard "have got" as have + the past participle got, then the have portion of have got is an auxiliary verb. Structurally and in terms of its history, "...
  • 22.5k
3 votes
Accepted

sequence of tenses in complex sentence

He had seen them hurl themselves at their enemies until the ground was piled high with their corpses … and their opponents had depleted their ammunition. One way to look at it is this: The switch ...
  • 3,078
3 votes
Accepted

Sequence of tenses; repeating verbs

Lemme try to give you some useful answers before this gets closed for having too many questions in one post! You're quite right that this is odd, and you put your finger on why. The when clause ...
3 votes
Accepted

"I am plying violin since I was 5 years old" is it correct sentence grammatically?

The correct grammar I have been playing violin since I was 5 years old. This assumes that the speaker started playing violin at 5 years old and has been playing up to now, continuously. The ...
3 votes
Accepted

Sequence of tenses in indirect speech

Both sentences are correct, although with a slight difference of meaning. When the reported sentence describes something that doesn't pertain to the particular point in time at which the sentence was ...
3 votes
Accepted

I went to a reunion for students who were educated (or had been educated?) in physics department during the 1980s

It is rare that the past perfect is required. It can be used to emphasise the sequence of events. So I went to a reunion of students who had been educated in the 1950s. is fully correct English. ...
  • 157k
3 votes

Past tenses in sequence: former and latter past events

I had to sing a song in front of the other students! It isn't in the past perfect tense, it's also the past simple. You use have to (here, had to) to say that something is required or necessary (...

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