for questions about the agreement between the tenses of verbs in related clauses or sentences.

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0
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2answers
55 views

What tense should I use in the following case? [closed]

I'm describing something in the past tense. However, that something repeats over and over again. What is more correct? A ball destroyed a vase. It was an infinite loop. The ball bounced up. It hit ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Can we mix tenses in the same paragraph? [duplicate]

From an Indian thriller TV show called Ssshhhh...Koi Hai Ajinkya manages to find his mother but is shocked to know she had never transformed. He managed to kill Vikrant but that wouldn’t be the ...
-1
votes
1answer
50 views

Do I use “were”, “was”, or “is”? [closed]

Sorry for the elementary question, but I am confused. Suppose I am telling someone about a conversation I had with a friend the previous day. Which would be correct? "I asked him if he were well" "I ...
0
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0answers
32 views

Necessity to change certain verb tenses in compound sentences in indirect speech

Could anyone answer whether the PAST SIMPLE in the following sentence must be backshifted in indirect speech despite the fact that the clause in PAST PERFECT will remain unchanged. I am a bit ...
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2answers
85 views

Sudden shift to present perfect in McCarthy's “The Road”

I have a question regarding "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The book is written in past tense and uses past perfect form to tell us of what had happened before, but in this sentence Cormac uses present ...
-1
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2answers
40 views
1
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1answer
45 views

Mixing past and present tense

Today while reading the newspaper I found two sentences with the opposite pattern of tense usage. Sentence 1 (Indirect speech) : A senior police officer said that the cumulative rents paid for some ...
3
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1answer
128 views

Tense problems : present tense or past tense?

Tense problems. Can anyone help me with the following in the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11: Qudditch, page 135: (1) That's where he was going when we saw him (2) he's ...
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3answers
110 views

Tenses when describing two subsequent past events, one of which (kind of) still goes on

If someone had been a teacher from 1975-2000, when he writes about it today, does he say: I was/have been/had been a teacher from when I (can/could/could have/have) barely remember(ed). and a ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

Which tenses when discussing the feelings between people (in the past)?

Let's imagine the following situation: someone was once a soldier on a mission (is not anymore!) and wants to write about that period of time. He wants to talk about the feelings of the locals in the ...
0
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0answers
51 views

“I hit Tom, and then he HIT me back” or “I hit Tom, and then he HITS me back”?

Good day to everyone. I just one to ask which one do you think is correct? "I hit Tom, and then he HIT me back" or "I hit Tom, and then he HITS me back"? First of all, I the pronoun "He" is a ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

“I told you last night, it’s finished.” - “it is” or “it was” finished? [closed]

This is from the educational serial Extra English s01 (Hector’s Arrival). Here's a part of the script. BRIDGET [reading email message] ‘Gigi!! Did you get my message? Please call me. Love, John. P.S:...
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1answer
36 views

present/conditional tense agreement?

Is the following sentence (from a cookbook) grammatically correct? "I am fairly certain that nothing could possibly go wrong when eggs and tomatoes intersect." After this sentence, the author ...
-1
votes
1answer
163 views

Present perfect vs. Past perfect tense used in newspaper story [closed]

I've been asking a lot about backshifting of tenses for quite some time and I have come across many articles/blogs where this so-called rule is not always followed unlike notable grammar books. For ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

tense of verbs in the following phrase [closed]

Please help me with the correct form (tense) of verbs in the following phrase: Some ideas had been previously suggested, but because something else is happening, no idea proved good enough. The ...
0
votes
2answers
130 views

correct usage - using was/am with “said” [duplicate]

Which one is correct: My manager told me that I was not doing great at work. or My manager told me that I am not doing great at work.
1
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2answers
135 views

Felt + present/ past (back shifting ) [duplicate]

A few months back I met a celebrity and seeing his glamour I felt that I have/had no past or future. Which is to be used, had or have ?
-2
votes
1answer
41 views

Present/past or past/past. Sequence of tenses

"When they ask you about the things you thought they had no idea about" OR "When they ask you about the things you thought they have no idea about" ? Present and past, both tenses here, confused ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

Dumbledore's note for Harry or question about sequence of tenses [duplicate]

When I was re-watching the well-known movie about the boy who lived I noticed that the tenses in the note from Dumbledore (spoiler, sorry ><) don't really correspond, or do they? Here's what I ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

present perfect vs past perfect usage [duplicate]

In indirect speech present perfect tense is back shifted to past perfect tense. For example - John said, "I have written a letter." (Direct speech) John said that he had written a letter. (Indirect ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Past perfect tense vs present perfect tense usage [duplicate]

David got a message telling him that he has/had won the prize. Here which is to be used ? Has or had ?
0
votes
1answer
191 views

Past continuous reporting verb in indirect speech [duplicate]

In indirect speech if the reporting verb is in past tense, then the verb in subordinate clause will also be in past tense. Ex- He said that he was going to see movie. What tense will be used in ...
0
votes
1answer
229 views

Tense agreement in a compound sentence [closed]

Which sentence is correct, and can I use such a sentence is narrative reports? Sports have become part of school’s time table, and teachers give time to children for play and sports in school ...
0
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2answers
71 views

future tense in a subordinate clause

The following is an (outdated) article from the Guardian Under the terms set before Tsipras, the Greek parliament has to endorse the entire package on Monday and then pass several pieces of ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

How do you indicate a past from the perspective of a future, when that past is in a “when”-clause?

Question Which of the following is grammatical (maybe more than one), and which colloquial? (a) I won't do it when you tell me not to. (b) I won't do it when you have told me not to. (c)...
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0answers
39 views

optional backshifting [duplicate]

I have been asking a lot about optional back shifting. I understand that if what is said is still true at the time of reporting then back shifting of tense is optional. I just have one doubt. If what ...
0
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0answers
16 views

How is the rule with the ending comma in sequences in a sentence? [duplicate]

Saying an English sentence with a listing or sequence of several terms, there will always be a comma in between each term and it will end with an "and" before the last term. My question is, should ...
1
vote
1answer
455 views

present/past tense in a subordinate clause

A few days back I asked a question about whether a present tense verb in a subordinate clause can be followed by a past tense verb in the main clause. A veteran grammarian (Andrew Leach) says yes, it ...
-1
votes
1answer
81 views

…is/was in debt [closed]

I'm really sorry to put the same question through. Let's say I'm narrating a past incident in which one of the sentence is -- "There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt." I'm aware that here 'is' ...
0
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2answers
94 views

asked + lived/lives

I asked where he lives/lived. I'm confused between lives or lived. Some say only lived can be used while others say both lived and lives can be used.
-1
votes
1answer
125 views

what is time reference of a verb

In indirect speech if the time reference has not changed then the tenses are not back shifted. Randolph Quirk, in A Comprehensive Grammar of The English Language states Backshift is optional when ...
-2
votes
1answer
89 views

optional backshifting criterion in non reported speech [duplicate]

In an indirect speech back shifting of tense is optional if what is said is still true. For example -- Kate said that she is not well. ( Here non change in tense because Kate is still not well at the ...
0
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0answers
75 views

backshifting of tenses (optional back shifting) [duplicate]

Let's first talk about simple present tense. John : "I have a fever." John said that he has a fever. Here no change in tense because John still has a fever. Now take an example of present perfect ...
1
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2answers
149 views

When to use the present or the past perfect tense?

A few days back, I asked a question - why in reported speech is the present perfect tense sometimes not back shifted to the past perfect tense ? For example: He said that he has painted the door. ...
1
vote
1answer
370 views

What tense should be used when present/past perfect is used?

Here is my sentence of which I am having some troubles ascertaining the grammatical correctness: I think that Rachel has told Brady that Bert would admit to the judge what he has taught about ...
-1
votes
1answer
177 views

sentence structure and sequence of tense

In sentence structure of indirect speech like - (He said +........... , He informed +....... , He claimed + .......... ), I am aware that if the situation is still relevant then back shifting of ...
2
votes
1answer
285 views

sequence of tenses (optional and obligatory back shifting )

Consider a sentence: 1) The president learned that the earthquake has caused havoc all across the country. Here present perfect tense is used. First tell me is it correct to use 'has caused' ? ...
1
vote
3answers
264 views

present perfect vs past perfect [closed]

What's the difference between the following examples: I noticed that the clock had stopped. I noticed that the clock has stopped. Some of them say that if the emphasis is laid on the ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

It was unclear that she has/had painted the door

The grammar rule says that if the verb in the main clause is in the past tense then the verbs in the subordinate clauses will also be in the corresponding past tense. According to the grammar rule ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

back shifting of tenses

Today I happen to visit Sarah's home. To my horror I see her lying on bed. I ask : "How are you ?" She replies : "I am not feeling well." After I come back home 3-4 hours later, I write a letter to ...
2
votes
1answer
723 views

I asked if he speaks/spoke English

I asked if he speaks English I asked if he spoke English Speak or spoke? Colloquially, is it correct to say speaks?
1
vote
2answers
671 views

He found + present/past tense

Please advise me on this - Imagine, A and B are two friends. A says to B : "You go to Sam's room and see if Sam's sleeping." B : "Okay"...
3
votes
1answer
421 views

Optional tense back shifting [duplicate]

While changing direct to indirect speech, we generally back shift the tense. Example - "I have finished my work." (Direct speech) He said that he had finished his work. (Indirect speech)...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Optional vs obligatory back shifting [duplicate]

Consider two sentences - 1) I didn't know that X is a Russian. 2) I didn't know that X was a Russian. My question is, under the condition that X is still Russian, can sentence 1) be used ? Thanks.
0
votes
2answers
3k views

should have done vs should had done (sequence of tenses) [closed]

imagine you want to use "should have done" in a subordinate clause when there's some past tense in the main clause. e.g.: "He said I should have(had?) done it." which one is correct? or should i ...
0
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0answers
482 views

“May have been” : sequence of tenses

Let us suppose we have such a sentence: John says Marry may have fallen ill. How should we change the sentence if we talk about the past? Is it correct? John said Marry might have fallen ill....
1
vote
1answer
213 views

sequence of tenses (was/were vs had been/have been)

Which is better? The protocol was signed last week after all punch list items were fixed up. or The protocol was signed last week after all punch list items had been fixed up.
1
vote
1answer
204 views

Dependent clause tense inheritance [duplicate]

Is it right to tell Five years ago he already knew that two plus two equals four. or Five years ago he already knew that two plus two equaled four. ? On English classes (I ...
0
votes
1answer
499 views

Past and Present Perfect tenses in a sentence. Sequence of events [duplicate]

I have a question concerning Past and Present Perfect tenses/the sequence of events. "As my school project, I have written a 44-pages-long research paper in which I had analysed the risk behaviours ...
0
votes
2answers
970 views

Past perfect and using before/after

My friend and I are having a debate about the following sentence and what to slot into the gap: ______ we had finished the course, we received certificates. (Before/After) To me it sounds correct to ...