In one of the TED talks, if you want to achieve your goals don't focus on them, speaker Reggie tells us that when he was a 6th grader, he loved his beautiful classmate Lasandra but never had the guts to ask her to be his girlfriend. But he was determined to take action the following year. He says:

The next year was 7th grade, and at my school, you had a different class every hour, and lockers between classes. For the first hour I had Woodshop. First hour, Lasandra had Home Economics. At my school, you’re allowed to change one class as long as the class you are moving out of met at the same time as the class you’re moving in to. So, I walked into the principal’s office and said,“I’d like to change from Woodshop to Home Economics.”

2 Answers 2


That's a backshift of tense to reflect a so-called irrealis situation. With as long as he's not describing an actual class that actually met, but a possible scenario, a possible class scheduled for the same time-slot. as long as is a phrase synonymous with if and provided.

  • Still sounds strange with the sentences before and after in present tense
    – mplungjan
    Dec 4, 2017 at 6:32
  • I agree, sandwiched as it between present-tense verbs. Normally you'd see a modal would be allowed if it met or present tense are allowed if it meets or past were allowed if it met. I think the speaker is conflating two patterns. (substitute as long as there for if) or conflating two times, past and present.
    – TimR
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:45

That depends on whether "you’re" means "you are" or "you were".

For "you are" – meets. For "you were" – met.

  • 1
    you are moving out of is also present
    – mplungjan
    Dec 3, 2017 at 21:37

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