1) I will send you the report once my boss approves the report.

2) I will send you the report once my boss approved the report.

3) I will send you the report once my boss has approved the report.

The clause "I will send you the report" is in future simple, but what should be the correct tense for " once my boss ... the report"


Either 1 or 3.

Both are acceptable. The difference is when you are looking at the event from.

In 1. you are looking forward from now to when the boss approves it. In 3. you are looking backwards from the time after he has approved it.

Both are possible, and there is little difference in meaning.

[Note that both "approves" and "has approved" are future in meaning. We don't usually use an explicit future marker such as "will" or "going to" after temporal subordinators like "once", "when", and "after".]

  • How should I reword the sentence? – ilovetolearn Oct 2 '19 at 17:42
  • Why should you want to reword it (apart from using it, as Justin suggests)? – Colin Fine Oct 2 '19 at 17:48
  • I am not sure if there is a better way to express my intention to avoid ambiguous meaning. – ilovetolearn Oct 2 '19 at 18:22
  • @ilovetolearn: there is no practical ambiguity. The difference between the two is very subtle. – Colin Fine Oct 2 '19 at 20:39

(1) or (3) both work, and have the same meaning.

(2) is incorrect.

As an aside, it sounds much more natural to replace the second "the report" with "it."

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