This is a second conditional
If I were you, I wouldn't bother him while he --------- sleeping.
What goes in the blank space?
My opinion: I've seen people use the present tense and past tense ( maybe it was the past subjunctive)
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Both "is" and "was" are correct. The reason has to do with the fact that past tenses can be used to indicate either a time that has gone by or an impossibility. That can lead to ambiguity, leaving the speaker with a choice between choosing consistent tenses or resolving the ambiguity. In this sentence, the speaker is putting him- or herself into an impossible situation (being someone else). This version:
If I were you, I wouldn't bother him while he was sleeping.
chooses to keep the tenses consistent. The speaker is consistently imagining a world where he or she was the other person, and is focusing (subconsciously) on the unreality of that world. By contrast, in this version:
If I were you, I wouldn't bother him while he is sleeping.
the speaker wants to emphasize the fact that the sleep is ongoing. He or she might have said:
My opinion is that you should not bother him while he is sleeping.
In writing, I would generally choose the first option, especially if you can provide enough context to reduce ambiguity. However, I think the second option is not wrong, even in writing. I am a native speaker, by the way.
I asked this same question in another forum and this the only answer I got . Apparently this person is a native speaker.
"For the past tense, I would probably use "when" in place of "while": If I were you, I wouldn't bother him when he was sleeping.
Please don't ask me to justify those choices. " * Yes, It kind of looks like wandrea's answer. I'd like someone(preferaly a native speaker) to tell which option is correct and if there more than one option. whats the difference between those sentences in which each option is used .