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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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What is the difference between verbs "will" and "would"? [migrated]

What is the difference between verbs "will" and "would"? I have two examples below: I am trying to talk to him, but he won't listen. I was trying to talk to him, but he wouldn't ...
Александр Скворцов's user avatar
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What is difference between these two constructions? [duplicate]

Here are two constructions: I suggested that the dish be cooked exactly before the party. I suggested to cook the dish exactly before the party. What is the difference between them? Does the first ...
Александр Скворцов's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

tense of that-clause in conditional

I was writing a comment under a video about a series which I used to watch ten years ago. I was writing that if I were watching them for the first time today, I would not enjoy as much as I did years ...
RADS's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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If the first half of the sentence is a hypothetical scenario and other half is the postulated outcome, should one use "had been" or "was"?

Apologies for possibly a dumb question. Let's be honest, IF it was the other way around the build would have been blocked and if by any chance it was released, it would have caused some serious ...
Jupiter's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
155 views

How can the preterite in the second clause place its event BEFORE that of the past perfect’s event in the first clause?

Here the chronology seems inverted as regards to the proper use of the past perfect and the preterite to order two different events that both occurred in the past: He had not been[past perfect] happy ...
Delta Yéyé's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
94 views

Sequence of tenses in dialogue: why is "No, can't say I had" used in response to "Perhaps you didn't notice?"?

From the movie "No Time to Die": Nomi: The world's moved on since you retired, Commander Bond. Perhaps you didn't notice? Bond: No, can't say I had." Why did Bond use "had" ...
moskit's user avatar
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Are the following sentences possible to use (and also grammatically correct) and what meaning do they have? [duplicate]

I. I thought he was swimming - I thought he swam for a while but found out it was a lie I thought he is swimming - I thought he was swimming now, but he's not. I thought he swam - I thought he once ...
Bodakh's user avatar
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1 answer
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Meaning of the sentence "The thieves had run away when the police arrived."

This is from the Quirk's CGEL section 4.24 - The past perfective: Adverbials of time position, when used with the past perfective, can identify either T2 or T3. Placed initially, they often identify ...
kevin4fly's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
117 views

Got promoted which is verb here? [closed]

They got promoted. Which word is a verb here, between got & promoted, and why?
Tushar's user avatar
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0 answers
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Is it idiomatic to shift from present progressive to present simple within single sentence? [duplicate]

One of my friends while writing a passage wrote the following sentence that contained both present progressive and present simple tense within a single sentence: Road accidents are happening because ...
Ahmed's user avatar
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1 vote
5 answers
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I am having trouble coördinating two clauses in the past by using the past perfect in one or both of them

I am confused about using had, talking about walking into a building in the past tense: She had been humming when she had walked into the building. She had been humming when she walked into the ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
63 views

Simple Past or Past Perfect - Sequence of Tenses [duplicate]

Could someone help me understand which tense (Simple Past or Past Perfect) would be more appropriate in the following examples, and why? I knew I asked the right person. I knew I had asked the right ...
Minimu's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
168 views

Would rather they WENT by bus than WALK

I would rather you washed it yourself than see your mom do it for you. I would rather you washed the dishes than watched TV. The mom would rather the kids went by bus than walk. I can understand, ...
Svetlana's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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talking about general things - choice of tense to "set the scene"

This is a question that I've been struggling with for quite a long time. I have asked a similar question in the ELL forum already but I didn't get an answer there and it is difficult to find ...
Dome9977's user avatar
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1 answer
120 views

Backshifting in reported speech - thought/knew/promised

This is another question on backshifting. I looked at other such questions at ELU & ELL, it appears that the general consensus is something like 'if the reported situation still hasn't changed, it'...
ledonter's user avatar
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Past simple and pluperfect with “before”

Which of the following is correct? “I had learned to sing before I learned to dance.” “I learned to sing before I had learned to dance.” “I learned to sing before I learned to dance.” I think only ...
Si Chen's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why does the backshifting of tenses rule not apply here? [duplicate]

Why does the backshifting of tenses rule not apply to this sentence?: "I forgot what a liar he is." Because the verb "forgot" in the main clause is past tense, shouldn't the verb ...
JJ_Doogal's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
157 views

What mood is "if I were" in?

Wikipedia says about English subjunctive mood: In Modern English, the subjunctive is realised as a finite but tenseless clause where the main verb occurs in the bare form. Since the bare form is also ...
minseong's user avatar
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1 answer
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Could you please help and explain to me how to correct the seemingly incorrect passive voice sentence pattern?

Could you please help and explain to me how to correct the seemingly incorrect passive voice sentence pattern? I would prefer it if we could be sat next to a window.
elmer's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Past tense sentence containing a habitual action in present tense

I have found a few questions on the site regarding habitual action and tenses, but nothing addresses my specific query. I want to know whether it is acceptable to use the present tense to describe a ...
JJ_Doogal's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
239 views

Why are the "sequence of tenses" rules not observed in some special cases? [closed]

An excerpt from an article on Yahoo: "The disappearances of two top Taliban figures from public view have prompted a spokesperson to deny that one of them had died, multiple outlets reported"...
Eugene's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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There is this sentence in the book "Fight Club" and I don't quite understand the verbs that are used, can you help me?

I'm reading a book called Fight Club and there is this sentence that got me confused: Marla had started going to support groups after she found the first lump. Now, past perfect is used in this ...
c934's user avatar
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1 answer
147 views

Present Perfect in main clause

I cannot determine whether both of these instances are appropriate uses of present perfect. Scenario: We just pull up to a restaurant and notice we are the first/last ones there, and someone utters: &...
Eric1982's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
14k views

"I had fallen asleep" vs "I fell asleep" [duplicate]

Which sentence below is grammatically correct? I didn't answer your questions because I had fallen asleep early last night. I didn't answer your questions because I fell asleep early last night. I'...
Rain Hard's user avatar
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0 answers
192 views

Tenses in dependent clauses with conditionals

From wikipedia: Apart from the special cases referred to in the sections above, many other dependent clauses use a tense that might not logically be expected – in particular the present tense is used ...
I'm a guest's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
544 views

What is a complex/difficult example of English tenses? [closed]

I'm a native English speaker, and while learning other languages, I've learned that English has more complex tenses than other languages. I don't know what all of the English tenses are, but the most ...
Josiah Sprague's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
136 views

Verb tense consistency in a sentence [closed]

I learned that we do not shift tenses between sentences unless there is a time change that must be shown. I have two examples below that I'm not sure whether they're grammatically correct or not. I ...
blackmask's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
49 views

Can you use “if past, then past”?

Is it possible to use the past simple in the result-clause of the 2nd conditional? Is it possible to say: If I had enough money, I bought a car.
Hassan Mukdad's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
136 views

Does "could" always mean something less likely than "can", even in backshifted subordinate clauses?

Does the could version always show more uncertainty/doubt than the can version in each of ⑴, ⑵, and ⑶? You can/could get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. You can/could get into ...
Mr. X's user avatar
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What verb construction would you use?

Imagine you go down to the station at noon to meet your friend Mike there. You sit there and wait and wait for him to show up. Two hours later your friend finally arrives and says to you: Sorry I'm ...
FalaGringo's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
70 views

illogical sequence of tenses

Hello everyone: I was watching a documentary about Scientology when I heard the following sentence, which, I believe, contains an illogical shift in tense. “We have been hoping that someone would have ...
GrammarBoy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
102 views

Past tense and present tense in a same sentense. Tense consistent or logically correct?

I am trying to tell a thing that happened in the past. But that thing has a fact that is still true in the present. Could you tell me which one of the following is true? I had a lesson with a tutor ...
user3482654's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
94 views

Consecutio modorum: Do “that” clauses follow an irreal subjunctive in the parent clause?

Does English have a “sequence of moods” rule? Should the blanks be filled in by was or were? If we knew that it ___ raining, we would also know that the street ___ wet. That is, are the irreal ...
foo's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
306 views

Can “was not ᴠᴇʀʙing” and “will not ᴠᴇʀʙ” ever be exact equivalents in reported speech? [closed]

Do English speakers understand this sentence: I told him I wasn’t playing soccer anymore. Exactly as they would this sentence: I told him I will not play soccer anymore. If so, why would they ...
Lily's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
96 views

What does the sentence "People felt that the cyclist was performing at a surprisingly high level." become in the passive? [closed]

This is a (one more!) question I have had to ask myself when dealing with the passive structure "someone is said to do/be doing/have done something"... which definitely is a tricky structure ...
user58319's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
421 views

First Conditional sentence with would

Grammatically, when we construct a first conditional sentence, the if-clause is followed by a result clause with a "will" in it. However, in many formal texts written by native English ...
C.B's user avatar
  • 113
2 votes
1 answer
254 views

Sequence of Moods (Subjunctive)

I asked a question a while ago ("If I asked, would she say it were/was time?" Past Vs. Subjunctive) about “sequence of moods” whose top answer read, Fowler says the past simple is used in ...
David Marlowe's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
320 views

The sequence of uses tenses in complex or compound Sentence

The head of the audit is so obtuse that he had no inkling that funds were being ingenuously diverted. My first question is, are there any grammatical mistakes in the sentence above, except spelling ...
Habib Khandaker's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
137 views

Will and would modal verbs [closed]

Which of the following sentences is correct? If both are correct, what is the difference in meaning between these two sentences? A majority of voters approved changes to Russia’s Constitution that ...
Ramteja Guthikonda's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
281 views

Tense Inconsistency (Past Simple and Present Perfect) or wrong Sequence of Tenses (Present tense follows Past tense)?

In the following sentence, the Present Perfect in the second clause sounds a little off to me, yet I cannot put my finger on WHY that is. During this time (Subord. Clause 1), I was able to gain/ I ...
Cristina Nott's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
394 views

Modal Verbs and Sequence of Tenses

Should the clause “I would/should think” be followed by another also in the past, according to the rules of tense sequence? I should think he was here [I think he is here now]. I should think the ...
David Marlowe's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
43 views

It was I or it is I (or both since it is just a matter of perspectives)

This confusion has been haunting me since I was fifteen. Please consider the following: A. It was I who killed your mom. B. It is I who killed your mom. Question: As far as I know, we can apply two ...
Fadli Sheikh's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
121 views

Switching from have been to current tense in a sentence

While working on a project with a friend, we stumbled upon a grammatical problem. These use cases have been modeled and help convey the game’s primary gameplay. I'm uncertain whether or not it's ...
Jazerix's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
1 answer
141 views

Problems on the sequence of tenses

I feel really confused with the sequence of tenses sometimes. I am trying to explain where my problem is. Suppose, I have three different sentences which I want to express in two sentences. 1) I ...
techie z's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
64 views

Future perfect/simple future/present perfect

Please consider the following: They will report to me what they will have known/will know/have known. Which one is right if the context is they will report to me after they know it
Fadli Sheikh's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

Why is "were" used in the highlighted relative clause? [closed]

Thank you for taking interest in this question. I have attached below the context of the clause in question to help your understanding. A full version of the question would be: Why were, instead of ...
grammar-in-action's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
252 views

Cloze Passage - Grammar (Sequence of Tenses)

There is this sentence in my Grammar Cloze passage: Though I started off reasonably well, soon I felt my legs ___________(ache) badly. Should I answer "ache" or "aching"? The correct answer is "...
J Muzhen's user avatar
  • 107
0 votes
2 answers
105 views

"How did your life change if you have as much money as Bill Gates?" Is this sentence correct?

I am a teacher of English in Japan. I happened to see a weird sentence from a notebook of my student. It says, "How did your life change if you have as much money as Bill Gates?" And my fellow ...
Kyozy's user avatar
  • 159
0 votes
1 answer
896 views

Wanted to make sure you “had” or “have” what you need to make a start [closed]

Would you be able to explain which one is grammatically correct, or whether both can be grammatically correct depending on the context?
user369084's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

Conditional in the past: using present or preterit?

A person is talking using past tense, because he is talking about events that happened in the past. Which one is correct? They might come after me if they found out that Kudo Shinichi was still alive ...
shadi shtaklef's user avatar

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