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
52 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
34 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
49 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
14k views

past/present tense when telling a story in spoken English

I've noticed that, in daily conversations, when people are telling stories in the past, they often shift the tense back and forth between the past and the present - even they're native speakers. For ...
1
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1answer
44 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 ...
0
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2answers
83 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
vote
1answer
365 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
33 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
votes
3answers
106 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 ...
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0answers
46 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
58 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:...
0
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1answer
34 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
157 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
555 views

She may have reasoned that it 'would have been' against her own economic self interest

She may have reasoned that it would have been against her own economic self interest to disclose the worst case scenario Source My question is: In this sentence why are we using "would have been" ...
2
votes
1answer
679 views
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
614 views

Past Perfect - Right or Wrong?

I am in an English course, in Cambridge School, in Lisbon, Portugal, and I am learning Past Perfect. I am also in a Pastry course, and today we had our first English lesson. The teacher wrote some ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

I suggested we go together / I suggested we went together. Which is the correct usage?

I am having trouble with something very specific and I found both in usage but one has to be better than the other. Right? He wanted to go back to Kazakhstan, so I suggested we go together. He ...
1
vote
3answers
260 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
133 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 ?
0
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2answers
124 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.
3
votes
1answer
411 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)...
-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
75 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
57 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
180 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
214 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
votes
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)...
0
votes
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
votes
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
210 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
437 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
votes
2answers
92 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
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1answer
121 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
2answers
226 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 ...
-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
votes
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
vote
2answers
148 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
votes
1answer
175 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
280 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' ? ...
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
700 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
647 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"...
0
votes
2answers
61 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.