I was watching the Golden Globes when Bryan Cranston won the Best Actor award. I then said " there is no one who deserved it more". Should I have said " there WAS no one who deserved it more"? Are matching tenses required within a sentence? I am aware that I could have said "no one deserved it more." But I'd still love to learn the difference. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


What you said was correct. If you are currently watching the Golden Globes, even if the event happened in the recent past, there is, to your mind, at the present moment, no one who deserved it more. However, if you are talking about the Golden Globes from 10 years ago, or even that from one year ago, you would say "was": there was no one who deserved it more at that time. It is related to standard usage of "there is/are":

We use there is and there are to say that something exists.

Bryan Cranston exists in the present moment as someone who did something to deserve the award that he is getting in the present situation.

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    My feeling is that "there is noone who deserves it more" is preferable. However, if one means that at present, nobody exists who deserved the award at the time in the past that it was determined who should receive it, then I can tentatively go along with the usage as stated. I would feel better if it were in the sense of "there is nobody living who deserved that award more when it was awarded last year."
    – BobRodes
    Jan 27, 2014 at 20:56

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