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Applications send a warning message if the received inputs from the user are invalid.

Is "are invalid" correct or should it be "were invalid"?

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closed as not a real question by Jasper Loy, MετάEd, Daniel, Mahnax, JLG Sep 28 '12 at 4:33

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Why do you think it should be were? –  Matt Эллен Sep 20 '12 at 9:37
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1 Answer 1

It could depend on the rest of the sentence; you need to be careful about matching the tenses between the different clauses. However, in most cases, either "were invalid" or "are invalid" would be OK.

If I were programming this,

  • I would write "are invalid" if the user's inputs are still visible, and the user has the opportunity to change them and submit the inputs a second time;

  • I would write "were invalid" for a batch process, or some other process in which the user input phase has finished, and the inputs can't be revisited.

I hope this is helpful. This is one of those cases where different people would handle it in different ways, and there's really no "wrong" answer.

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Well, the sentence sounds like a description from a manual or something like that. In that case I'd always go with are. –  Em1 May 26 '12 at 8:54
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