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.


There is no rule which says that all tenses in a statement have to be the same. Please believe that.

In this latest question, I asked puts your action in the past. The next verb defines when on the timeline its event lies. If you used lived, it puts the timestamp of living at the same point as your question; lives implies that the residence is still going on.

  • I asked where he lives

    When you make that statement, you state that your question was in the past, and that you know or anticipate that "he" is now still living where he was at that time.

  • I asked where he lived

    When you make this statement, you state that your question was in the past, and that your question was about where he lived at that time. You make no assertion or assumption that the answer applies now, even though that might be the case.

This question and its answer is essentially the same as the earthquake/havoc one.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I would define the user as either a help vampire, or a troll. – Mari-Lou A May 24 '15 at 20:18
  • @Andrew Leach -- Thanks, I got it. I'm sorry to ask it again.Let's say I'm narrating a past incident in which a sentence goes like -- There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt. I know that if at the time of narrating, Citibank is still in a debt then it is perfectly right to use 'is' but what if at the time of narrating, Citibank is not in debt then is it possible to use 'is' ? I'm asking again and again because in colloquial English I often hear simple present tense being used especially amongst Indians. So are they using it correctly or are they missing something ? Thanks – iamRR May 29 '15 at 6:42
  • 1
    That's the first time in all of this that you have mentioned Indian English. That makes a BIG difference. Indian English tends to use the present tense more than other dialects, including using the present continuous in preference to simple present. It's almost as though it's one step "nearer". But it's just a variant dialectal usage. The answers in all of your questions so far are for Standard English. – Andrew Leach May 29 '15 at 6:50
  • @AndrewLeach -- Thanks for your reply. So what would you say about the sentence - "There was a rumour that Citibank is in debt." Here can I use 'is' if, at the time of narrating, Citibank is not in debt ? I remember once you said that present tense can be used in a subordinate clause even if there is past tense in the main clause. So by this 'is' usage has to be correct even if Citibank is not in debt. Isn't it ? – iamRR May 29 '15 at 7:16
  • I'm not answering questions in comments. You have been warned before not to ask them. – Andrew Leach May 29 '15 at 7:23

Both are commonly used. "Lives" is better if you want to stress that he still lives there, while "lived" is the only one that can be used if he doesn't live there any more.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.