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I was taught that we have to keep time tenses consistent throughout a sentence in English. I am writing a paper, and I wasn't sure of this.

"I came to realize that information security is becoming much more important as technology has become an indispensable part of our lives, and it would continue to grow along with technology."

Notice that I used "came" in a past tense, but I am using present continuous and perfect present later in the sentence. Does it matter?

or should it be like this:

"I came to realize that information security was becoming much more important as technology had become an indispensable part of our lives, and it would continue to grow along with technology."

I prefer the first one, because I want to point out the fact that the development of technology and security is still in progress, not something that happened in the past.

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In my opinion, you can have either 1. or 2.

  1. "I came to realize that information security is becoming much more important, as technology has become an indispensable part of our lives, and it will continue to grow along with technology."
  2. "I came to realize that information security was becoming much more important, as technology had become an indispensable part of our lives, and it would continue to grow along with technology."

But I would not mix the "would" with the previous present tense forms. However, from the discussion of a very similar example a few weeks ago, I gather that others also accept the "... is ... would ..." combination.

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You choose a reference point in time, then apply past, present, future, etc to events with respect to that reference point. In this context, consistency means that you use the same reference point in each case, not that you use the same tense in each case.

Suppose you chose today as your reference point, and your realisation came yesterday. Then you can use I came to realise. If you chose last week as your reference point (this would be odd, but could work in a story, for example), then you can use I will come to realise.

Likewise with the rest.

  • Quite. the only legitimate way to change the time reference in a sentence… prolly in a paragraph, too… would be to use a direct quotation. 'I met Fred yesterday and he said "I will see you again tomorrow.' – Robbie Goodwin Apr 27 '17 at 14:22
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Mostly, you're trying to put too much into the same sentence. Break each thought out, or your reader is going to become more confused reading it, than you are writing it. But that's not what you asked...

You're mostly correct in your understanding. Tense itself is not what needs to be consistent. Rather, the tense in a given sentence must always refer to the same temporal reference point.

E.g. "I came to realize..." You did a thing in the past.

At that point in the past, contemporary things were a certain way "...security was becoming..." consequently "...technology had become..."

At that point in the past, the future looked a certain way, "...it would continue to grow..."

So, yes, you could make the sentence more technically correct, but the best solution really is to express separate ideas separately: "I came to realize that technology had become indispensable. I then naturally concluded that security was more important. And security would continue to grow alongside technology." Don't quote that. It's terrible. But break things out, in a manner somewhat more elegant than that...

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