I was watching a movie And a cop said to a man "5 years ago you make a smart move" .

I think it should be "5 years ago you made a smart move"

Which one is right ?


Because deolater asking for more context

This conversation is from movie "Gone in 60 seconds"

Cop : Come here, Come here Randall And take those glasses off, Please Do me a favour.

And then cop said

Cop : Six years ago you make a real smart moveenter image description here

  • 2
    I think it's an example of historical present Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 12:32
  • We need more context.
    – Deolater
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 12:45
  • @Deolater I updated my question, please have a look
    – beginner
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:03
  • @beginner is the speaker (the cop) the black man or the white man?
    – Deolater
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:09
  • 1
    @beginner Real people do not speak "correctly" all the time, and movies reflect this. In English (and I would assume other languages as well) there are many ways of speaking that are different from the standard "correct" way taught by books. Watching movies can help you understand how normal people speak, which can be an important part of fluency. Just don't assume that everything in a movie is exactly by-the-book correct. I mean, this is a movie about someone stealing cars--not exactly standard behavior either.
    – Deolater
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:41

3 Answers 3


This is correct because the cop is referring to a past event.

  • It's not clear without more context. "Suppose you're an investment banker in 2007. You see where the market is going, because you're somehow smarter than all your peers, so you make a smart move. You short Lehman Brothers. You make out like a bandit."
    – Deolater
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 12:47
  • Yes, put into that context 'make' works.
    – Chris M
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 22:41

The cop is putting himself into the story, so it's historical present. Make is okay here. But you are quite right it should be made.

  • If the usage is historical present, then it really shouldn't be "made".
    – Deolater
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:43
  • It's a little ambiguous if he is using historical present. It's two lines. If he busted out a monologue all in historical present and then used made, I would agree with you. But since there is only one verb in the entire exchange, both would work. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:49

You're correct. It should be "you made smart move". You'd only use "make" if you were using a different grammatical tense. The tense here is the simple past perfect tense. "Made" is correct.

  • 1
    I think tense is here simple past
    – beginner
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 13:26

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