Top Past Tense Quotes

Browse top 49 famous quotes and sayings about Past Tense by most favorite authors.

Favorite Past Tense Quotes

1. "She was--I keep using the past tense; I ought to say she is--one of those people who, at first sight, look plain, are quiet, unassertive, unmemorable even. But who, when they start to talk and you get to know them, become more and more attractive and impressive, and you see that in fact they are beautiful. Not conventionally beautiful, not celebrity beautiful, but beautiful all through."
Author: Aidan Chambers
2. "Everybody has a 'past', some more intense than others. But it's the past. I don't care what you've done. You're not what you've 'done'."
Author: Alysha Speer
3. "He was already looking at their relationship through the lens of the past tense. It puzzled her, the ability of romantic love to mutate, how quickly a loved one could become a stranger. Where did the love go? Perhaps real love was familial, somehow, linked to blood, since love for children did not die as romantic love did."
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4. "Jenny: But surely Lord Blakely could not abandon his estates for so long.Gareth: No. Lord Blakely could not. Not unless he had someone he could trust to run his estates in his absence. And Lord Blakely...Well, Lord Blakely did not trust anyone.Jenny: Lord Blakely is talking about himself in the third person, past tense. Its disturbing."
Author: Courtney Milan
5. "Memory is igneous more than ingenious, igneous, and like granite, intrusive, heaved up within oneself, the whole range of one's life, mountains' forbidding height looming over the plains where one lives, mountains formed by the life already lived, but toward which one is always walking, one's own past ahead of him, seeking the improbable path already forged, this path back through oneself, this path we call the present tense, which becomes the continental divide when the tense shifts and the path is lost, path from which the walker emerges only to turn around and see the peaks pulled up by his feet, and the snowy pass, and alpine heights, where those stranded must sometime feed on themselves to survive, where sometimes, through the icy crust, the crocus blooms."
Author: Dan Beachy Quick
6. "If"If freckles were lovely, and day was night, And measles were nice and a lie warn't a lie, Life would be delight,-- But things couldn't go right For in such a sad plight I wouldn't be I. If earth was heaven and now was hence, And past was present, and false was true, There might be some sense But I'd be in suspense For on such a pretense You wouldn't be you. If fear was plucky, and globes were square, And dirt was cleanly and tears were glee Things would seem fair,-- Yet they'd all despair, For if here was there We wouldn't be we."
Author: E.E. Cummings
7. "It's a sad indication of where Washington has come, where policy differences almost necessarily become questions of integrity. I came to Washington in the late '70s, and people had the ability in the past to have intense policy differences but didn't feel the need to question the other person's character."
Author: Eric Holder
8. "If I speak of Vienna it must be in the past tense, as a man speaks of a woman he has loved and who is dead."
Author: Erich Von Stroheim
9. "It is a sunny fall afternoon and I'm engaged in one of my favorite pastimes—picking chestnuts. I'm playing alone under the spreading, leafy, protective tree. My mother is sitting on a bench nearby, rocking the buggy in which my sister is asleep. The city, beyond the lacy wall of trees, is humming with gentle noises. The sun has just passed its highest point and is warming me with intense, oblique rays. I pick up a reddish brown chestnut, and suddenly, through its warm skin, I feel the beat as if of a heart. But the beat is also in everything around me, and everything pulsates and shimmers as if it were coursing with the blood of life. Stooping under the tree, I'm holding life in my hand, and I am in the center of a harmonious, vibrating transparency. For that moment, I know everything there is to know. I have stumbled into the very center of plenitude, and I hold myself still with fulfillment, before the knowledge of my knowledge escapes me."
Author: Eva Hoffman
10. "Nothing is improbable until it moves into past tense."
Author: George Ade
11. "Her future, she thought, was likely to be worse than her past, for after her years of contented renunciation, she had slipped back into desire and longing; she found joyless days of distasteful occupation harder and harder; she found the image of the intense and varied life she yearned for, and despaired of, becoming more and more importunate."
Author: George Eliot
12. "The terror of being judged sharpens the memory: it sends an inevitable glare over that long-unvisited past which has been habitually recalled only in general phrases. Even without memory, the life is bound into one by a zone of dependence in growth and decay; but intense memory forces a man to own his blameworthy past. With memory set smarting like a reopened wound, a man's past is not simply a dead history, an outworn preparation of the present: it is not a repented error shaken loose from the life: it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavors and the tinglings of a merited shame."
Author: George Eliot
13. "Harold had become, over the past week, a connoisseur of silences. He was an expert at differentiating the particulars; was this a Tranquil Silence, marked by slow sighs and peaceful smiles? Or was it a Tired Silence, marked by ornery chair shifting? Or a Tense Silence, full of tight breaths and cautious glances?"
Author: Graham Moore
14. "An overwhelming curiosity makes me ask myself what their lives might be like. I want to know what they do, where they're from, their names, what they're thinking about at that moment, what they regret, what they hope for, their past loves, their current dreams ... and if they happen to be women (especially the young ones) then the urge becomes intense.How quickly would you want to see her naked, admit it, and naked through to her heart. How you try to learn where she comes from, where she's going, why she's here and not elsewhere!While letting your eyes wander all over her, you imagine love affairs for her, you ascribe her deep feelings. You think of the bedroom she must have, and a thousand things besides ... right down to the battered slippers into which she must slip her feet when she gets out of bed."
Author: Gustave Flaubert
15. "Anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language knows only too dearly that languages can be full of pointless irregularities that increase complexity considerably without contributing much to the ability to express ideas. English, for instance, would have losed none of its expressive power if some of its verbs leaved their irregular past tense behind and becomed regular."
Author: Guy Deutscher
16. "With the refinements that come with maturity the smells faded out, to be replaced by only one other distinctly memorable, distinctly pleasurable smell - the odour of cunt. More particularly the odour that lingers on the fingers after playing with a woman, for, if it has not been noticed before, this smell is even more enjoyable, perhaps because it already carried with it the perfume of the past tense, than the odour of the cunt itself. But this odour, which belongs to maturity, is but a faint odour compared with the odours attaching to childhood. It is an odour which evaporates, almost as quickly in the mind's imagination, as in reality. One can remember many things about the woman one has loved but it is hard to remember the smell of her cunt - with anything like certitude. The smell of wet hair, on the other hand, a woman's wet hair, is much more powerful and lasting - why, I don't know."
Author: Henry Miller
17. "He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a verb in the past tense."
Author: James Joyce
18. "A BlessingJust off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.And the eyes of those two Indian poniesDarken with kindness.They have come gladly out of the willowsTo welcome my friend and me.We step over the barbed wire into the pastureWhere they have been grazing all day, alone.They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happinessThat we have come.They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.There is no loneliness like theirs.At home once more,They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,For she has walked over to meAnd nuzzled my left hand.She is black and white,Her mane falls wild on her forehead,And the light breeze moves me to caress her long earThat is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.Suddenly I realizeThat if I stepped out of my body I would breakInto blossom."
Author: James Wright
19. "There is no past or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water."
Author: Janet Frame
20. "What a present it is to be able to drive past the future. (All these tenses in one sentence makes me tense)."
Author: Jarod Kintz
21. "He fumbled with something in his breeches. She had thought the past few minutes the most intense of her life, but they were nothing compared with the alarm and ashamed delight now rushing through her veins - until she realized he was only bringing out his pocket watch."
Author: Jennifer Echols
22. "It was the English word she used. It was in English that the past was unilateral; in Bengali, the word for yesterday, kal, was also the word for tomorrow. In Bengali one needed an adjective, or relied on the tense of a verb, to distinguish what had already happened from what would be."
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
23. "The past gathered out of the darkness where it stayed, and the dead raised themselves to live before him; and the past and the dead flowed into the present among the alive, so that he had for an intense instant a vision of denseness into which he was compacted and from which he could not escape, and had no wish to escape. Tristan, Iseult the fair, walked before him; Paolo and Francesca whirled in the glowing dark; Helen and bright Paris, their faces bitter with consequence, rose from the gloom. And he was with them in a way that he could never be with his fellows who went from class to class."
Author: John Edward Williams
24. "Oh God, Alaska, I love you. I love you," and the Colonel whispered, "I'm so sorry, Pudge. I know you did," and I said, "No. Not past tense." She wasn't even a person anymore, just flesh rotting, but I loved her present tense."
Author: John Green
25. "Is life like this? Is it a past that goes by, then crumbles away, and a present that runs in the wake of the past, and a future that can only be grasped if one talks of it in the present or past tense?"
Author: Kahlil Gibran
26. "Loved. You can't use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all."
Author: Ken Kesey
27. "In the past, people have looked at photos as a record of memory. The focus has been on the past tense. With Instagram, the focus is on the present tense."
Author: Kevin Systrom
28. "I'd planned to kill them, too." When Néomi glared up at him, he raised his chained hands."Past tense. See? Already I'm improving."
Author: Kresley Cole
29. "…the Lake of Shining Waters was blue — blue — blue; not the changeful blue of spring, nor the pale azure of summer, but a clear, steadfast, serene blue, as if the water were past all modes and tenses of emotion and had settled down to a tranquillity unbroken by fickle dreams."
Author: L.M. Montgomery
30. "Amber was past tense. We were covering her inanimate face in the white sheet of was."
Author: Lorrie Moore
31. "Walking along past the store windows, into which she peers with her usual eagerness, her usual sense that maybe, today, she will discover behind them something that will truly be worth seeing, she feels as if her feet are not on cement at all but on ice. The blade of the skate floats, she knows, on a thin film of water, which it melts by pressure and which freezes behind it. This is the freedom of the present tense, this sliding edge."
Author: Margaret Atwood
32. "They say love is blind...but it isn't. Love is perfect sight. Love is the ability to see a person, I mean really see him-his strengths, his weaknesses, his flaws, all his past triumphs and mistakes-and view that person not as the world says you're supposed to see him, but as you see him-as that special someone you know you will always embrace, body and soul, no matter what anyone else says or thinks I know I can't tell anyone what I've been through. I know they wouldn't understand. They don't see him the way that I see him. All they know is the legend, the darkness. They don't know the inner beauty, the warmth and the joy more intense than anything I ever thought was possible to experience. They don't know the truth behind the name. My angel. My only. Lucifer."
Author: Marlon Pierre Antoine
33. "...I begin with songs. They provide a sort of skeleton grammar for me to flesh out. Songs of longing for future tense, songs of regret for past tense, and songs of love for present tense."
Author: Mary Doria Russell
34. "But why would it matter? We aren't ... or...uh...weren't ..." Which is it, Jess? "Aren't" or "weren't"? Present or past tense? Now or then? "We haven't been talking to each other." Past imperfect tense. How appropriate."
Author: Megan McCafferty
35. "Play me something that makes me feel;This soul inside me is made of steel.Brain is breathing, but heart's not beatingAnd, babe, I need you to make things real.Walk inside me without silence,Kill the past and change the tense.Empty gnawing and the ache is soaring;Take me places that make more sense."
Author: Melina Marchetta
36. "Was. What does was actually mean? The verb to be. Past tense of is. Does it mean that someone is no longer being?"
Author: Melina Marchetta
37. "There's a language, I think it's called Mescalero, in which verbs don't change tenses. There's no future or past tense in that language. I was thinking… if we could learn that language, we could live longer…"
Author: Milan Oklopdžić
38. "They WERE walking alongside the road, they WERE hit by a car, and now they ARE dead. It doesn't work. Are is present tense. Dead is -- well, dead is past, isn't it? Present tense modifying past; being modifying non-being. Language, in this instance" -- and here Miriam makes a garbled noise in her throat-- "fails."
Author: Myla Goldberg
39. "He watched from the boat as they sailed past the sights of London – the thrusting steel spires of Canary Wharf, the domed O2 arena, then Tower Bridge, and finally the London Eye and Westminster. The sky was deep blue and the sun's heat intense, so the cooling river breeze had been heaven. After disembarking, he headed for the tube. The day in the capital had been enjoyable. But now the holiday was over, and the real business was just beginning. It was time. Soon she would know just how bad it felt."
Author: Paul Pilkington
40. "Few fallacies are more dangerous or easier to fall into than that by which, having read a given book, we assume that we will continue to know its contents permanently, or having mastered a discipline in the past, we assume that we control it in the present. Philosophically speaking, "to learn" is a verb with not legitimate tense."
Author: Robert Grudin
41. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It's so easy in the past tense."
Author: Sarah Dessen
42. "The One who lives outside of time invites you into a reality that is informed by His perfect plans to give you hope and a future. God speaks in the past tense about battles you're currently fighting. And He buries the shame of yesterday in order to resurrect the moment you are in and sustain you in the season He is calling you to embrace."
Author: Steven Furtick
43. "She was wearing combat trousers and a wine-colored woollen sweater with sleeves that came down past her wrists, and clunky runners, and I put this down as affectation: Look, I'm too cool for your conventions. The spark of animosity this ignited increased my attraction to her. There is a side of me that is most intensely attracted to women who annoy me."
Author: Tana French
44. "Tea is an act complete in its simplicity.When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea.The rest of the world dissolves.There are no worries about the future.No dwelling on past mistakes.Tea is simple: loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup.I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup.I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me.I am informed by the tea, changed.This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed: all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose.There is only the tea, and me, converging."
Author: Thích Nhất Hạnh
45. "Those three means are Mystery, Miracle, and Prophecy. The first two are incompatible with true religion, and the third ought always to be suspected. As mystery answered all general purposes, miracle followed as an occasional auxiliary. The former served to bewilder the mind, the latter to puzzle the senses. The one was the lingo, the other the legerdemain. As Mystery and Miracle took charge of the past and the present, Prophecy took charge of the future, and rounded the tenses of faith."
Author: Thomas Paine
46. "Still," I said, "I am sorry. But I was desperate to rescue my sister.""I understand," the sagging dragon assured me. He explained, "I, too, had a sister, once."The past tense didn't escape me. "What happened to her?" I asked, feeling we were connected, two of a kind after all, sharing similar personal tragedies."I had to eat her," the dragon said, "to keep her from stealing my gold."
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
47. "But to be a parent is to live in the past-present-future all at once. It is to hug your children and be intensely aware of how much smaller they felt last year ... even as you wonder how much bigger they will feel the next. It is to be a time-shifter, to marvel at the budding of their intellect, their verbal dexterity, their sense of humor ... at the same time rewinding and fast-forwarding ... to when they were younger, to when they'll be older. It is to experience longing for the here and now, which I know sounds flaky - sort of like complaining about being homesick when you're already home - but can happen, trust me, when you live in multiple time zones all at once."
Author: Youngme Moon
48. "...the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect."
Author: Zadie Smith
49. "For he is in a past-tense, future-perfect kind of mood."
Author: Zadie Smith

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At one hundred, surely you learn to overcome loss and grief—or do they hound you till the bitter end?"
Author: André Aciman

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