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Jack stopped being a lad for a long time ago, it was amusing to see someone still try to mother him.

Above is an example sentence I made.

Previously, I wrote 'tried' instead of 'try', but I got a suggestion that I should change the verb into 'try', which is present tense. I wonder why since the whole sentence meant to be in the past.

I did some basic research. LearnenglishBritishCouncil.org said that still can be past, present or future tense. So I wonder is there any reason why try is a better choice than tried? Or should I just ignore the suggestion?


I think I figured it out by myself. As Cambridge Dictionary and BBC said that after word such as allow, permit, see, hear, make, let, or other verbs for perception (e.g., feel), the pattern would be subject + verb + object + infinitive (without to) or -ing.

She heard the doorbell ring and went to answer it.

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  • When you use it's is it short of "it is" or "It was"? Is the person talking an action that is on-going, or one that is definitely in the past? – katatahito Jun 27 '19 at 1:59
  • "It was", I made an edit to the post to make it more clear. – Eva Jun 27 '19 at 2:08
  • This is a conflation of two constructions. Either it should be see that someone still tries to mother him (with that) or it should be see someone still try to mother him (without that but with infinitive -- not present tense -- try ). The reason is that that only introduces a tensed clause, never an infinitive or gerund. As for the first sentence, it's a conflation of He hasn't been a lad for a long time and He stopped being a lad a long time ago. – John Lawler Jun 27 '19 at 2:31
  • @JohnLawler Yes, you're correct I made another mistake in that post. 'That' you have mentioned shouldn't be there. So the suggestion is correct? That after 'still' I should use 'try' instead of 'tried'? But the BrithisCouncil.org said I can use past tense. I am really confused, could you explain to me why? Thank you. – Eva Jun 27 '19 at 2:38
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    In ...it was amusing to see someone still try to mother him, try is not the present tense. It may look a bit like it, but it is the infinitive. The only other option there is trying. The other version of the sentence (it was amusing to see THAT someone... is very different. If you use that version, you have lots of options (I think I would say was still trying). This is probably the kind of sentence the British Council is talking about. – user96060 Jun 27 '19 at 5:53

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