Where were you when I needed you?

I used the phrase

Where are you when I needed you?

Is the grammar correct? I don't know if it is.


No. The first statement is right and the second is wrong.

When you say "when I needed you," you are referring to the past. You intend to know where the person was at that time. So the statement

"Where were you when I needed you?"

is grammatically correct.

The question "Where are you?" is at the present tense, so there is a conflict of tenses when you state

"Where are you, when I needed you?"

which doesn't make grammatical sense.

  • You might ask: "Where are you when I need you?" if you felt that someone whom you rely on was forever letting you down. – Ronald Sole Sep 3 '16 at 15:33
  • @RonaldSole True. Notice that the tenses of are and need are in harmony in your example. – Ébe Isaac Sep 4 '16 at 3:06

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