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

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7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
311 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
3answers
435 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
197 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
494 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
194 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
363 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
267 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
133 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
2answers
164 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
526 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.
1
vote
2answers
185 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 : ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Past perfect tense vs present perfect tense usage

David got a message telling him that he has/had won the prize. Here which is to be used ? Has or had ?
1
vote
3answers
140 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.
1
vote
1answer
164 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
232 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
474 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
161 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Felt + present/ past (back shifting )

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
114 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
129 views

Optional tense back shifting

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
126 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
598 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
31 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
32 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
2answers
55 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
386 views

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

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
146 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
128 views

Although + Past Simple + Present Perfect [closed]

Is the variant "Although the test was easy, I've failed" possible if it's just happened?
1
vote
3answers
255 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
70 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
65 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
127 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
54 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
48 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
1answer
67 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
286 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
379 views

Having or has? What is the best way to say that sentence

I have one question, what is the best way to say that sentence below? Are both grammatically correct? He has been working on mobile development for 4 years and has published more than 15 apps. ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

How do i punctuate sequential uses of “before”

Is this sentence punctuated correctly? I'm wondering if i should instead replace the comma's with semi-colons before each of the "before"'s. Just seconds before dialing 911, and before the sounds ...
0
votes
0answers
37 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
20 views

“We are requesting that all deaths be recorded.” vs 'We are requesting that all deaths will be recorded." [duplicate]

"We are requesting that all deaths be recorded." vs 'We are requesting that all deaths will be recorded." I've corrected this sentence by taking out the 'will' but can't articulate exactly why a want ...
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
71 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
42 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Optional back shifting vs obligatory back shifting [duplicate]

Consider two sentences - 1) I didn't know that X is a tall man. 2) I didn't know that X was a tall man. My question is, under the condition that X is still a tall man, can sentence 1) be used ? ...
0
votes
0answers
124 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
326 views

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

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
1answer
77 views

Sequence of tenses question

What is the right tense of highlighted words in the sentence below? I feel that I'm writing it wrong. Perhaps you've been contacted before by a customer who screams that his site isn't working only ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Past continuous reporting verb in indirect speech

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 ...