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

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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 ...
6
votes
1answer
554 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" ...
3
votes
2answers
396 views

Sequence of tenses missing - not in Reported Speech

SITUATION: A year ago, my friend had some financial problems of which his relatives were aware. Why do we say: They believed he was in debt. but: He was believed to be in debt instead of: He was ...
3
votes
5answers
611 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
225 views

Should “If I ever had a philosophy” be in the past perfect?

Excerpted from The Hills of Triumph: If I ever had a philosophy with which to govern my social life, even long after learning that social is often at the detriment of personal, it would have been ...
3
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
408 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
4answers
537 views

Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
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' ? ...
2
votes
1answer
699 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?
2
votes
2answers
280 views

Sequence of Tense [duplicate]

Which one is correct? Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolved around the sun. Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolve around the sun. In my ...
2
votes
1answer
56 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:...
2
votes
1answer
182 views

Reported speech of future time clauses

How should we report sentences including "future time clause?" We will have dinner when your father gets home. Do we have to change the tense of 'future time clause' or leave it in the original ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
225 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
744 views

Can one use “may” and “might” in the same sentence?

Is it possible to use may and might in the same sentence to describe a potential outcome? For example: While Sara may recognise the car, Paul might not.
2
votes
1answer
671 views

In “Who would have thought he could do it!”, does “could” mean “was able to” or “would be able to”?

In the sentence "Who would have thought he could do it!" Does "could do" mean "was able to do" or "would be able to do"?
1
vote
1answer
433 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
vote
2answers
635 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"...
1
vote
1answer
32 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
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 ?
1
vote
2answers
72 views

Sequnce of tenses in the sentence

Is it okay to use different tenses in this way? Try to find an area where science isn't needed, where experiments weren't perfomed.
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
vote
1answer
172 views

Is the sequence of tenses applied properly in this example?

I found this sentence in some book: When Mom asked Gramma why she hasn't been answering the telephone, Gramma said. . . . My question is about the sequence of tenses: shouldn't the past perfect ...
1
vote
3answers
261 views

Simple past sounds better but past perfect seems more accurate

I think it's grammatically more accurate to say,"The market was closed after a virus had been found." However, it sounds "better" to say,"The market was closed after a virus was found." Grammatically, ...
1
vote
2answers
635 views

Sequence of tenses?

Can you please help me with this thing called "sequence of verbs"? From what I'm understanding, if I use "would," I have to keep "would" throughout the sentence. Example: "I would go visit my cousin ...
1
vote
1answer
180 views

Isn't this against tense agreement?

When I got home yesterday, John called and said he will arrive next week. (Wikipedia) Wikipedia says the sentence above is possible. Does it not break the tense agreement when there’s no quotation ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
130 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 ?
1
vote
2answers
147 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
362 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
vote
1answer
196 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
761 views

Until you have confirmed + past or present?

Which one of these sentences is correct? The contract will not be signed until you have checked the manuscript and confirmed that everything is ok. The contract will not be signed until you ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What is the correct way to construct a conditional sentence with “would”?

I was told several times that a conditional sentence with the following structure is incorrect: If I would do this, then he would do that. Rather it should be: If I do this, then he will do ...
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
3answers
259 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
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
3answers
351 views

“I was to go to America at the end of the week. It would be the first time I had flown to America.” Is the second sentence correct?

I am using exactly the same sentence as the one used in a question already posted by someone else to ask whether one should not say and write "It will be the first time I fly to America." rather than "...
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.
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
3answers
104 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
51 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
122 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.
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
2answers
82 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
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
1answer
210 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
910 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 ...