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i've seen a few sentences like this one:新しいコロナウイルスが広がって,which instead of た , て was used, is it an even more casual way to make the past tense?

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    広がって is just a te-form, which can not show any tense by itself. This sentence can be about something in the future depending on the context.
    – naruto
    Oct 28 '20 at 17:26

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