0

A-Could you be spontaneous for once in your life? This could put us on the map.

B-I am not good at spontaneous.

A-Ever since you broke up with Paul, it's like you're scared to do anything different. You plan your life down to the last minute.

B-Well, it is good to have a plan.

Is the bold part OK? Shouldn't it be something like "Ever since you broke up with Paul, it's like you have been scared to do anything different."

Movie: Princess Switch

1 Answer 1

1

Yes, that dialog is fine. The people are discussing things that are happening in the present, and they are mostly using verbs in the present tense:

... it's like you're scared to do anything different. You plan your life down to the last minute.

This is all about the way things are now, but when A specifies when the current situation began (when B broke up with Paul), she needs to use the past tense within the clause, "Ever since you broke up with Paul". Only that one event (breakup) is in the past though, so when A goes back to her main thought (about how B is acting now), she switches back to the present tense ("you're") for the main clause of the sentence.

It would also be OK to say it the way you suggest:

Ever since you broke up with Paul, it's like you have been scared to do anything different.

That would put a little more emphasis on the fact that her friend had already been acting that way for some time before now, starting with the breakup from Paul.

Both are correct, and they really mean the same thing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .