verb tense


The police arrested a famous actress last night. She (robbed or she was robbing or she had robbed) a diamond from ajewelry store. What is the correct verb tense?

asked Jan 17 '12 at 22:53 ivete New member

1 answer


These are three different forms of the same past tense verb and can all be used. 


Robbed is the simple form.  That means the action happened in the past. 


Was robbing is the progressive form.  The action happened in the past as another action started. 


Had robbed is the perfect form.  The action happened in the past and before another past action.


If the actress was caught in the act, then was robbing would be the correct choice.  If not, then had robbed is more correct than robbed since you are also discussing a second past action.


Take note, though, that the legal definition of robbery is taking property by force or with violence - usually in the presence of the owner.  If she was caught shoplifting or broke in at night to take the diamond (burglary) you'll want to use a form of to steal rather than to rob.  Also, in the US we always must write that a person allegedly committed a crime until they have been convicted.  She had allegedly stolen a diamond. 

link comment answered Jan 18 '12 at 02:11 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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