I paid 30 dollars for the deposit and pay monthly rent.

What I want to write is "this apartment costs 30 dollar for the deposit, and I pay monthly rent(, which means I don't have lots of money.)"

I know in English we try to keep the tense in the sentence, but here, it's obvious that I paid the deposit in the past, and I still pay monthly rent since the apartment isn't mine.

Is it okay to write like this? I also tried to start the sentence with "the apartment costs...", but I wasn't sure if it's gonna work in English. Or could you tell me a better option?

  • There is no rule that says we try to keep the tense in the sentence; especially compound sentences joined by and. He loved her and he still loves her. For example.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


It's fine to use the present and the past here. After all, that's what happens: as you say, you paid the deposit in the past and pay the rent in the present.

Tenses should agree in the same clause, but it's very common to have multiple tenses in the same sentence.

Although I was sick yesterday, I am fine today.
I’m eating the cookies that I baked this morning.

In your sentence, you are connecting two complete sentences with and, and again it's fine to have different tenses in them.

I paid $30 for the deposit.
I pay monthly rent.

The concern with tense agreement is important, but it doesn't mean that the tenses in a sentence have to be the same. It means that whatever the time relationship is needs to be properly and consistently expressed. This is an example of a typical violation of tense agreement:

Yesterday, I went down to the pool hall. I get on a table and start to play. Some guy asks if I want to play for money, and I say ok. We play for a while, and I win $100. I pretty much took him for all he had.

Here is a fairly detailed set of guidelines, with examples.

  • Hello,Bob! can you help? what about such sentence? " You said that there were some paid lessons you teach/teached". How do you say? teach or teached. I mean that the teacher gives the paid lessons now also.
    – user79871
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 12:11
  • @user79871 Teach is an irregular verb. If I teach the paid lessons now, then "You said that there were some paid lessons [that] you teach" is correct. If I used to teach (meaning "was in the habit of teaching") the paid lessons, but don't any more, that would be "You said that there were some paid lessons that you taught." (Taught is pronounced "tot," with the "o" drawn out longer.) So, teach has an irregular past tense. There are many similar verbs with a "ght" past tense: buy/bought, seek/sought, think/thought, catch/caught come to mind. (...)
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:33
  • (...) If a regular past tense is hard to pronounce, consider looking up the past tense to see if it's irregular. Buyed isn't hard to say, but teached, thinked, seeked and catched are a bit awkward for any of us. (Interestingly, people in the Appalachian area will say "cotched" instead of "caught." It suggests that most of us got rid of the "tch" in the middle for convenience. You might find this fun to have a look at.)
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:46
  • Thank you. Very usefull and interesting for me. Cotched? I'll remember it. :) But then what differences are there between "taught" and "had taught". My teacher (not native speaker) said that it's not allowed to combine the past with the present. Even if we speak about the things that is going on.
    – user79871
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 14:21
  • 1
    @user79871 Taught vs. had taught is a whole new question, with quite a few answers already. If what your teacher said contradicts what I have said here, I disagree with him/her. If, for example, your teacher says that "I was sick yesterday, but I am fine today" is not correct, well, your teacher is wrong. But I suspect it's more like "I went upstairs and as I get to the top I have a strange feeling." That's entirely incorrect. Finally it's "speak about things that are going on." :)
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 0:48

It's more accurate to say tenses apply to individual clauses rather than a sentence as a whole. You could (almost) always use conjunctions to join complete sentences with different tenses.

"I take the bus now" and "I will take the bus in the future".

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