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I am really upset now, experts. I said there were two acceptable answers to the following, but my superiors said there was only one. Below is the question.

I really wanted to talk to him in person, but he was not available at that moment. His servant said he was working. She gave me his number, but I (don't/didn't) want the number. I know he doesn't like being called during working hours. *the bracketed one is the question.

closed as off-topic by Cascabel, FumbleFingers, Jason Bassford, Chappo, JJJ May 15 at 23:30

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    You started out in the past tense (what you wanted to do), but finished using present tense (what you know about what he likes). There's nothing inherently wrong with that (your "superiors" are simply mistaken), and it's entirely a stylistic choice whether you make that tense switch within the third sentence, or leave it until the last one. You didn't want the number when it was given you, and you still don't want it at time of speaking about this later, so either tense is fine. – FumbleFingers May 13 at 14:43
  • ...you could of course sidestep the issue by sticking with past tense: ...but I didn't want the number. I knew he didn't like being called during working hours is fine. It's really a matter of what nuance you want to impart. Are you primarily interested in recounting past events, or describing your current circumstances? – FumbleFingers May 13 at 14:47
  • Great FumbleFingers! ur argument is just like mine :) I really hate it when I am forced to teach their way though it is completely wrong. – Fadli Sheikh May 13 at 14:59
  • Well, as I said, you could just use past tense throughout. Then at least there'd be no reason to argue about how / when to switch to present tense. Could it be that your superiors (teachers?) are particularly bothered because you've made the switch within a single sentence? There's nothing wrong with that, but you could just avoid doing it to keep the peace! :) – FumbleFingers May 13 at 15:07
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    Hannah, well, what I said to my superiors was that both answers were right because it was unclear whether the speaker referred only to his not wanting it in the past, or his still not wanting it (till now) – Fadli Sheikh May 13 at 17:58