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27 votes
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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 ...
nschneid's user avatar
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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 ...
Tom Sharpe's user avatar
19 votes
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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 ...
Jay's user avatar
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14 votes
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Combining present with past

"Now" can mean "then". Chambers confirms this ... "now: 5. (in narrative) then". This is partly being used as a literary device to draw the reader into that moment. I ...
timchessish's user avatar
  • 1,881
11 votes

Combining present with past

The author is using now to mean something like “at the point in the story where you, dear reader, at this current moment find yourself.” The usage is a bit unusual, but not tremendously so.
Paul Tanenbaum's user avatar
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 ...
Don B.'s user avatar
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8 votes
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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 ...
TypeIA's user avatar
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7 votes
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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 ...
Andrew's user avatar
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7 votes
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Tense Changes In A Story

"That is, everyone except for Stacey." The phrase "that is" is an idiom the refers to the statements just made, not to events in the past. The second question: "Stacey lay... ...
Jack O'Flaherty's user avatar
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 ...
TimR's user avatar
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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 ...
SovereignSun's user avatar
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5 votes
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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 ...
joiedevivre's user avatar
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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 ...
Michael Login's user avatar
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 ...
Enguroo's user avatar
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5 votes
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"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 ...
Gustavson's user avatar
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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 ...
Lorel C.'s user avatar
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5 votes
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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, ...
gotube's user avatar
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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.
Jack O'Flaherty's user avatar
5 votes
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Sequence of tenses (the present perfect and the past simple

Yes, (2) is correct (if the review hasn't been finished yet). (1) doesn't make sense because the past simple doesn't go with now. If the report has already been written you would have to say After a ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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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 ...
James K's user avatar
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4 votes
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'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 ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
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 ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.8k
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 ...
michael_timofeev's user avatar
4 votes
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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 ...
Lambie's user avatar
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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: ...
Tinfoil Hat's user avatar
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 ...
SovereignSun's user avatar
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3 votes
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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 ...
Andrew's user avatar
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3 votes
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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, "...
rjpond's user avatar
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3 votes
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"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 ...
Otomatonium's user avatar
3 votes
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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 ...
Maciej Stachowski's user avatar

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