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In this clip of an American talk show, the host says at 18 seconds into the video:

At the airport in Los Angeles, there was chaos and confusion. Nobody could get in or out before the protests start -- that was before.

In the second sentence, she talks about what happened in the past. Then, shouldn't it be "started" instead?

  • I think what she says is before the protest start -- that is, before the start of the protest. It's a singular protest, just the one in LA. – StoneyB Feb 7 '17 at 2:38
  • @StoneyB Even if it's singular "protest", somehow I still think "start" sounds more like a verb than a noun. – JK2 Feb 7 '17 at 2:44
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I agree that Ellen (the host) was most likely using the phrase "protest start" as a noun meaning "the beginning of the protest". However, if she simply misspoke, then you are correct about the tense. Speaking proper English, the host would have said "started" because the sentence is in the past tense, and switching to the present tense creates verb tense confusion.

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