past tense

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English Wikipedia has an article on:

past tense (plural past tenses)

  1. (grammar) A form of language (and, in many languages, of a verb) used to refer to an event, transaction, or occurrence that did happen or had happened, or an object that existed, at a point in time before now.
    Example: "I saw the #5 bus across the street. I won’t make it."
  2. (grammar) A form of language used in a hypothetical expression to refer to a remote possibility.
    Example: "If I spoke Japanese I would be happy to visit Japan."


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