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Hegwood, who taught English at Duncanville High School, was placed on unpaid leave Monday. She apologized in a statement Thursday and submitted her resignation, but the school board rejected a resignation and instead fired her with cause. That doesn't affect a teacher's pension, but it makes him or her ineligible for unemployment benefits, and future employers are told the teacher didn't leave in good standing, school district spokeswoman Lari Barager said.

As a part of sentence is built with present tense “employers are told”. therefore, i think, the sentence should continue in the same tense “didn’t leave” should be converted to “doesn’t leave”

Why did the writer use “didn’t” instead of “doesn’t”?


1 Answer 1


It's reported speech, which can be in any tense. Example:

She will tell them that I went to the movies.

The action of her telling them is in the future, but the action of me going to the movies is in the past. There is no conflict.

In the case of your example, the teacher was dismissed in the past, and new teachers will be told the information in the future. Again, no conflict.

Other examples:

The CEO says that the company had its best quarter ever.

I'm planning to tell the teacher that the dog ate my homework.

Although this sort of thing is called "reported speech" is not time-dependent. You can report speech that is going to happen, that is happening, or that did happen.

She has been saying for years that her house is haunted.

The question why future reported speech uses the simple present probably deserves its own question on ELL, but the short answer is that English speakers often use the simple present for future events, particularly those that consistently repeat:

At this time of year the sun rises at 5 in the morning

In this case the writer could have used "future teachers will be told", but the simple present is a style choice.

  • Thank you I got. But if quotation marks have been used, wouldn’t it seem like this. People are told, “the teacher doesn’t leave”... don’t you think? Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 1:14
  • 2
    It's an indirect quotation
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 1:26
  • @BavyanYaldo - I think you missed one point, which is this: "In the case of your example, the teacher was dismissed in the past, and new teachers will be told the information in the future." It has to be didn't because the action is already in the past: the teacher has already left before the employers are told anything.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 16:28
  • This means “the teacher ” isn’t describing teacher in general but a specific doctor ( Hegwood), is it ? @stangdon Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 16:48

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