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I came across a question in a book. It says:

If any of the following sentences show that something happened in the past, make the italicized verb simple past by adding -d or -ed. If you cannot tell whether the past or present is intended, do not change the verb.

  1. I realize that you are right.
  2. My Mother appear at the door.

What should be the answers? I am a bit confused with those two sentences.

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closed as too localized by RegDwigнt Oct 11 '12 at 10:25

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What is the confusion? I don't like the quoted instructions, which are certainly unclear, but adding -ed or -d to the verb seems to be possible (and in fact they use appear just to make that easy, instead of appears). – Andrew Leach Oct 11 '12 at 10:17
I am confused on what should be the answers. – Fazlan Oct 11 '12 at 10:21
If we take the instructions literally, then the second sentence must be changed because "My Mother appear" is plain ungrammatical. (By the way, does it really capitalize Mother? Then dump the book and run.) The first sentence could work either way, but I suppose the book dictates verb agreement, i.e. either "I realized that you were" or "I realize that you are", so the choice is clear again. – RegDwigнt Oct 11 '12 at 10:25
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The first requires the present tense of realize, because the verb in the dependent clause, are, is in the present tense. Realized would be possible only if the dependent clause was that you were right.

The verb in the second sentence could be either appears or appeared, but the instructions seem to want you to provide the past tense, appeared.

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Excellent. Thank You – Fazlan Oct 11 '12 at 10:32
I'd quibble that "I realized that you are right" is a valid sentence and I say things like that all the time. I might have "realized" at a specific point in the past the you "are right" about an ongoing question. The person could have been right in the past but still is right now. Like, "I noticed when I met you that you are very tall." My noticing occurred in the past, but his "tallness" exists in the present. (But in any case, the question says that if either is valid, leave it alone, so I'd leave it alone.) – Jay Oct 11 '12 at 14:48

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