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What tense better to use?
Hello, there! Could anyone explain me, if I try to describe what I did today, what tense better to use? Can I use Past Continuous? Or should I use Past Simple? Or maybe, even Present Perfect?
May 7, 2020 4:10 PM
Comments · 6
You do realize that this represents many hours of language study, don’t you? If you insist on a simple answer, then here you go: Simply use the simple past (unless it was an activity in progress, then use the past progressive). The simple past is the most common way of talking about the past, and you will rarely go wrong. Even though you’re talking about today, you’re thinking of what you did *earlier* today, aren’t you? This morning, two hours ago, whatever — that’s the past — if you state (or think) the specific past time, you cannot use the present perfect. If however, you are thinking of the events from earlier today as part of a “today” that is still going on, or if there is a connection to the present (“I haven’t eaten today, so I’m hungry now”), then it’s more like the present perfect — but in colloquial American English, we can still get away with using the simple past. Important: For an action (dynamic verb) in the past that you are presenting as ongoing when something else happened, we use the past continuous (also known as the past progressive). This should be easy for you, as the criteria are the same as for when we use the present progressive. If you haven’t mastered the present progressive, then do that now.

By the way, Alex, feel free to share your thoughts on my discussion thread!
May 7, 2020
Thank you, Phil !
May 8, 2020
That depends, Alex. I wrote an article / discussion on the subject that will certainly interest you:

By the way, they’re not so much “tenses”, as “aspects”. You also have aspects in Russian, but you use separate verbs for the different aspects.)

May 7, 2020
Hello, you even used the correct tense to ask your question! Past simple :)
May 7, 2020
Thank you, Phil !
I've read your article. And I agree that all depends from attitude. I understand that any language is for communication. And any language has a powerful abilities for the correct expression of thoughts. But maybe that binary question format will help me step by step achieve more deep understanding foreign language. And over time I will be closer to real understanding and correct using it.
It's only my opinion. Maybe I'm wrong.
Anyway, I really grateful all people who gives me advices, answers to my questions and helps me with learning English.
May 7, 2020
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Language Skills
English, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Spanish