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I heard in a talkshow that someone said.

"I wanted to see how you were doing after the operation"

My question is what the difference is to:

"I wanted to see how you are doing after the operation"

Can someone explain that? Thanks

  • @EdwinAshworth Sounds like an answer. – bib Jan 16 '15 at 13:30
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The second sentence here

I wanted to see how you are doing after the operation.

would usually be addressed to someone still in the period expected for recuperation. Hence the '. . . how you are doing . . .' . The 'wanted' may seem illogical if not actually untrue, 'want' appearing more appropriate, but there is a pragmatic, hedging, effect; 'I want' sounds more akin to a demand.

The first sentence

I wanted to see how you were doing after the operation.

is equally acceptable and could mean exactly the same thing, with slightly more cushioning ('how you were doing' being slightly less threatening, distancing possible ongoing illness) – and be used in exactly the same situation – but it could equally refer to a past situation: "I wanted to see how you were doing after the operation, but I was in the middle of Borneo that year, and couldn't contact the British authorities"

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  • A third possibility is how you've been doing since the operation – Barmar Jan 16 '15 at 19:04

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