I am wondering about such a case. Imagine you would like to express that something will happen in future that will have to do with something in the past. How would you say that?

For instance, is such a construction correct?

I cannot imagine, how he will be disappointed when he figures out that you haven't bought a present for him?

Is it correct to use Present Perfect in the last part of sentence?

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    It's fine, and it's normal, although your sentence is not idiomatic. Compare to: I can't imagine how upset your parents will be when they find out what time you got home last night!
    – Davo
    Oct 2, 2017 at 17:56
  • @Davo there's an odd comma, and the logic of the sentence is unexpected, but otherwise the sentence it seems perfectly fine to me. Sure, it's not something anyone would actually say but it's something a native speaker might write for fun.
    – Andrew
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:05
  • @Andrew - which is why I used not idiomatic. There is no error, although it sounds unusual. ;)
    – Davo
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:08
  • 1
    @Davo I usually think of "not idiomatic" to mean "not as a native speaker would phrase it". For strange but idiomatic phrasings, I prefer "nonsensical", as with Noam Chomsky's infamous "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously". :)
    – Andrew
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


The last phrase of the sentence is fine.

But the comma is not needed.

The word order in the beginning should be different too. If I hear I cannot imagine how he will be disappointed, I would understand that to mean that you do not think he will be disappointed. "How" would refer to "in what manner?"

I would word the beginning like this:

I cannot imagine how disappointed he will be

"How" in this way would refer to the amount of disappointment.

  • Thank you very much! Didn't notice this at the first glance.
    – newt
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:30

You must log in to answer this question.

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