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Questions tagged [sequence-of-tenses]

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

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Before and tenses

I have learned a rule that normally states- two events occur in the past, the earlier event must be in the past perfect and the later event in the past simple. But some sentences confuse me... ...
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47 views

Won't talk or wouldn't talk [closed]

There has been a debate between me and my colleague about which of the following two constructions is more correct. He says that using 'this' means that it is a recent action that has just happened, ...
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3answers
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What type of if-conditional is: “A shop offered us a reduction if we paid in cash.”?

What type of if-conditional is this sentence? A shop offered us a reduction if we paid in cash. As far as I know, the only right conditional sentences are these four: Zero Conditional: A shop ...
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Tenses That Suggests a Present Effect

Which of the replies can be used correctly? Aska: You look tired. Lara: A- I woke up all night. B- I've woken up all night. C- I've been waking up all night. The suggested answer is C. Why are the ...
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1answer
30 views

As followed by past simple or past continuous

Recently I had to sit a test and one exercise was particularly tricky: all inflected forms of the verb in brackets were removed and I had to fill in with the correct tense.  Personally, I don't think ...
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1answer
21 views

Sequence of tenses in “When they do X, they do Y” structure

I got corrected when I said: When people heard the term "accounting graduate", they usually say "Do you work at a bank?". I was told to use "hear" instead of "heard". In this situation, why is "...
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1answer
32 views

Mixed tenses in a sentence : had to + simple past

So a story that is told primarily in simple past has the following sentence: He had to shake him out of his trance and pointed at the battle. Should 'pointed' follow the same tense as 'shake' and ...
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1answer
47 views

Time frame Past Perfect and Past Simple in 1 sentence

Is it correct to use the sentence 'He knew the answer to the question because he had studied really hard for this test.' as an example to referring to the time indication of Past Perfect and Past ...
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3answers
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Usage of Past Perfect or Past Simple

Is it correct to say: He knew the answer to the question because he studied really hard or should it be: He knew the answer to the question because he had studied really hard? Or maybe both are ...
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1answer
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“Who said we'll have a new champion?” - is this a correct sentence?

The quoted person thinks that the reigning champion will defend her title, and expresses his opinion as if he is arguing with those who has doubts. Is the sentence is question grammatically correct? ...
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1answer
37 views

For reports written in present tense, which time is usually used for “citations”? Present or past tense?

In German reports, most of the time the present tense is used when followed by any kind of citation. E.g. - There is a need for more biocompostable plastics. The XYZ CEO says that... - The CEO ...
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1answer
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Past or present tense in the clause of an -ing structure?

I have a question that, as the title suggests, relates to tense agreement between an -ing phrase and its subordinate clause. I have seen other similar questions, such as present/past tense in a ...
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2answers
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The usage of had been vs would have been

I have already looked at other examples, but am somehow struggling with my own (e.g., here: Would have been... vs. Had been ) The phrase I am concerned with: As we earlier explained, we had expected ...
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1answer
134 views

How do durative sense verbs in simple perfective work with durative adverbial

I am reading the grammar book - A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language - these days. And now I am focusing on the 2 aspects - perfective and progressive - in Chapter 4: The semantics of the ...
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2answers
61 views

What tense is this sentence? [closed]

The room is filled with a lot of junks. What kind of tense is this?
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2answers
195 views

Use of two tenses in one sentence (“That's when I heard his voice…”)

In the book " Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" the author writes the following sentence. "That's when I heard his voice, kind of squeaky(...)" Is it correct to say "that is" ...
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1answer
40 views

Can I say “all you had to do is”?

I know that I can say, "all you have to do is" but may I say, "all you had to do is" when you actually talk to someone at present tense, but you want to refer to the past event specifically?
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2answers
47 views

Mixed conditionals - Future / Future

It is the first time that I ask a question, thanks in advance to whoever is going to reply. I am studying conditional sentences and I cannot find anywhere a structure for a hypotethical future ...
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sequence of tenses in quoting others [duplicate]

Ryan et al. (2005) added that in-depth assessment of the family was important, and this could be best achieved by considering all points of view and by exploring a broad range of family functions, ...
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2answers
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Keeping a sentence in the same tense [duplicate]

What is the general rule behind mixing tenses in sentences such as this: "He said he was hungry" versus "He said he is hungry" My colleague thinks you can't say the latter because "said" and "is" ...
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1answer
48 views

Sentence formation of a past incident

I need help with finding out which of the below sentences is correct: Since she wore glasses, I could not discern whether she was crying. Since she wore glasses, I could not discern whether she cried....
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1answer
65 views

Temporal clause

I can't decide whether these two sentences are both grammatically correct : He will go shopping after he finishes his homework. He will go shopping after he has finished his homework. I ...
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2answers
3k views

“she was gone” vs “she had gone”

I know when Past perfect, and when two past verbs are used in a sentence. according to what I have read, when two actions or events have taken place in rapid succession, we use two verbs in the past ...
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2answers
177 views

Tenses in sentences with more than two verbs

I´ve spent a fortune on swimming lessons. Next month I will have been training for three years and I don´t think I _______________(can) dive successfully when I go to Mexico this summer. If I thought ...
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Sequence of tensese question [duplicate]

I can't decide whether these two sentences are both gramatically correct : He told me that he still feels young. He told me that he still felt young.
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0answers
175 views

“Everyone knew it was…” vs “Everyone knows it was…”

In my exercise book, I've found a quite confusing task. In the text, the 2012 Olympics ceremony is described. One part of the ceremony appeared to show the Queen parachuting into the stadium. This ...
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1answer
108 views

Verb-tense agreement: I thought it had something to do with how you looked that day

I've had trouble with verb-tense agreement since day one of English learning. According to a lot of native speakers who have addressed this subject on several English forums, when the tenses in a ...
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1answer
60 views

“I thought about how this machine works/worked.” (confusion about past vs. present)

I'm not certain about which tense to use in this sentence: "I thought about how this machine _____." (This is coming from a scenario where I had previously used the machine and started to think about ...
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2k views

Someone says vs Someone said in reported speech

Is " someone says something" ( in the present) acceptable, and if yes , when? Let's say I just got off the phone with someone, and they said they wouldn't make it on time. I've got someone in front ...
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1answer
58 views

Sequence of tenses with “told” and “said”

"Who told you that the agreement has already been signed?" I wonder whether we should observe the sequence of tenses rule and make it "Who told you that the agreement had already been signed?"
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2answers
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It has been long time since [closed]

I want to use this sentence, but I am not sure whether or not it is correct. My sentence is: "It has been a long time since we are working on the same topic"
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3answers
181 views

Unsure about sequence of tenses in the following example

Somebody told me about the following sentence: "In 2017, researchers published their specifications for a new e-voting system, which has the potential of being accepted as a nationwide e-voting ...
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0answers
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Sequence of tenses while describing scientific finding [duplicate]

Currently, I am writing a statement of purpose for the graduate program, and I want to describe my research experience. In particular, I want to write the following sentence: I determined that the ...
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2answers
190 views

“Now is the time” followed by past tense verb [duplicate]

This morning I heard Jeremy Corbyn's speech at the Labour Conference. Here is a section of that speech. Can anyone tell me what tense he is using and why? "Now is the time that government took a ...
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1answer
65 views

Can you switch tenses like this mid sentence?

Ray was fluent in American sign language, signing as fluently as he speaks. Does this sentence make any grammatical sense? Does it need fixing? Is it appropriate to use in a formal setting? Thank you ...
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2answers
100 views

Sequence of tenses

When reading Waugh's 'Vile Bodies' I came across the following sentence: "It was the first time that the party was given in an airship". It would seem to me that in the second clause there should ...
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1k views

My best moment in life is when

is the following sentence grammatically correct? My best moment in life is when I first first went to school. I know there is another way to write this sentence like 'going to to school for the ...
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1answer
755 views

When do you use “this is because” in the present tense versus “this was because” in the past tense?

I found this from a blog where the writer used this is because: Through the experience of the DSCE, I felt like my life goal had finally been achieved, but when I desperately pleaded with God to ...
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3answers
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Tense in “One of the requirements was that it must …”

I'm having a slight dispute with a friend who proofreads my paper on the correct tense in this sentence: One of the key requirements for the web app was that it must automatically work with any new ...
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4answers
293 views

What’s the right inflection for the bracketed verb in “He asked what time the train [was/will/be] leaving”? [duplicate]

I was conducting a language assessment test when I was asked to fill out a clause: He asked what time the train [ was / will / be] leaving. I would have chosen be to form a subjunctive clause, had ...
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Tense question - Hypothetical scenario in future

Finally, I believe that high school teenagers might resent the idea of being forced to do this type of work, and this resentment COULD result in not wanting to volunteer in social activities AFTER ...
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1answer
189 views

Regarding the usage of future perfect tense [duplicate]

Can we use "would" instead of "will" in the future perfect tense? Please explain it and give some examples.
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1answer
3k views

What's the difference between “(Had he not made / If he didn't make) a good impression, he wouldn't be a star today”?

How should I complete this sentence? (Only with the options given) He wouldn't be the star he is today ________ a good impression in his early life A. Had he not made B. If he didn't make ...
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2answers
551 views

Series of consecutive actions

Hello I have a question about sequence of tenses. This is my sentence: "I put my keys down before closing the door, head to the the kitchen and grab something to eat" My question is : shall I use ...
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2answers
1k views

The word Government is to be used as singular or plural [duplicate]

Government of Kerala has agreed Government of Kerala have agreed which is the correct usage
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501 views

Can both past and present tense be used in one sentence?

I'm trying to make sure this sentence is correct "I needed to decide what I want for my life" The context this sentence is in is me talking about something I currently want in life and I'm talking ...
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2answers
1k views

Past or present tense in relative clauses in the present

Which one is grammatically correct? Can we use the relative clause in the past tense, when the main clause is in the present? Close relatives and friends who moved to other countries, are no longer ...
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0answers
311 views

Simple past tense agreement in noun clauses: “I heard you are the best…” vs. “I heard you were the best” [duplicate]

Supposing that the subject of the noun clause is, in fact, presently, and intrinsically, the best, would the correct sentence be: I heard [that] you are the best man for the job. or I heard [...
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1answer
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How to apply “sequence of tenses” to “would like”

This is a sentence in direct speech: They asked me: "Which of these books would you like to take". I need to rewrite it in indirect speech. And obviously I have to apply sequence of tenses rule. ...
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1answer
155 views

Dealing with tricky subordinate time clauses in sequence of tenses

Your help would be very much appreciated with the following sentence: "When I first visited Berkeley in spring 2015, I knew immediately that when I attempt an MBA, the school is going to be at the ...