So the background story is that there an 8-month-old-pregnant woman who wrote a caption of a photo:

"My last ice cream before you were born."

Is this grammatically correct? Can we use past tense to state future event? Why not

"My last ice cream before you are born or you will be born."

Which one is correct grammatically?

Why did she use past tense considering that the baby will be born.

  • 2
    Please provide the context. This could easily be a caption for a photograph which will be given to the child after it's born (perhaps some years after). Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 17:36
  • What exactly did this lady write, and whom did she write it to? I’m not understanding what you’re asking.
    – Nathan M.
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 17:38
  • 2
    Looking for impeccable grammar in picture captions, much like in song lyrics, is a fool's errand.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 18:35
  • I'm sorry for the incomplete context. I have edited it. I'm an English learner so I'm just curious whether the sentence in the caption can be grammatically correct. Because it's not like what I have learned so far.
    – Nio
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


Events happen. The time before the event can be referenced. That reference can use the past tense.

Having said that, you're referring to "future action", so presumably she writes "before you were born" before the baby was born. That sounds a little odd at first glance, but writers are free to pick a time-frame from which to write.

She picked her literary "now" to be at a point after the child's birth. That sets the time of her last ice cream (before the baby was born) in the literary past. If she was, for example, writing a journal in anticipation that her then-unborn child would one day read it, this style makes sense.

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