Someone drives in a car and sees a dog, he keeps on driving passing the dog and then says

I think he had a collar

Why not saying the following sentence?

I think he has a collar

  • @Maryam: Please stop writing useless revision summaries like "minor edit was being made". They are no good in showing the reason for the edit in the revision history, they are no good when reviewing the edit, and personally I am this close to flat-out rejecting, sight-unseen, any and all edits that use that phrase. (If you want to see some better examples for how to phrase summaries, look through my own revisions, or Chenmunka's.) – Nathan Tuggy Oct 16 '17 at 0:04
  • @NathanTuggy You're right. I was not aware of this before. I will try and provide better summaries in the future. – Maryam Oct 16 '17 at 0:13
  • @Maryam: Much appreciated! Good luck with all your future contributions! – Nathan Tuggy Oct 16 '17 at 0:32

It is past tense.

"I think he had a collar (on him, when I saw him in the past)."

I think he has a collar is present tense, implying the dog still has a collar on. However, the driver has no way to see this at the present time, so it is more reasonable to state what the driver is more certain of - the dog had a collar when seen, not now.

What is more impressive is that when driving past the dog, the driver is unsure of whether the dog had a collar, but has no doubt about its sex!

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