3

I am studying "Sequence of tenses" using English grammar book and get totally confused. When should agreement of tenses be applied and when should it not?

For example in the following cases it is applied partially:

I thought that he would tell her that he intended to go to the cinema.

I was sure he would visit me when he had time.

Did you think he was right?

In contrast in the following cases it is applied completely:

I thought that she knew that he had taken the first place in the tennis tournament.

I thought I knew why they had come.

I thought I had won the race.

1
  • Can you provide a link to the text you are reading on "sequence of tenses?" There are two schools of thought on the subject, and the text you are reading is germane. Sep 19, 2016 at 20:48

1 Answer 1

1

It seems relevant to the actual series of events being described...

I thought that she knew that he had taken the first place in the tennis tournament.

...compared to...

I thought that she knew that he would take the first place in the tennis tournament.

The 'had taken' example is stating that when the speaker's thought (which occurred in the past) happened, that at that point in time the speaker believed that some woman was aware that some man had won first place in a tennis tournament.

The 'would take' example is stating that when the speaker's thought (which occurred in the past) happened, that at that point in time the speaker believed that some woman knew that some man was going to win first place in a tennis tournament.

Each change in tense affects the continuity of the statement.

2
  • Welcome to ELL, Eric. I've edited your question to remove your use of the backtick. This may seem intrusive, but the use of the backtick is highly inappropriate on this site. This is not a coding site. Sep 20, 2016 at 0:47
  • Thanks @AlanCarmack , I'm a software developer and primarily use StackOverflow so I appreciate the feedback. Sep 20, 2016 at 23:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .