0

Do I use present or past tense after the phrase "If you ever wondered"?

Examples:

If you ever wondered what hell looks like, ...

If you ever wondered what hell looked like, ...

3

Normally, with an embedded question or statement in a past-tense sentence, the verb in the embedded part is also past:

Where is he going? -> I wondered where he was going.

But when the question or statement is timeless, both present and past are possible:

The Greek philosophers knew that the world is/was round.

What does hell look like? -> Have you ever wondered what hell looks/looked like?

I find the past slightly more natural there: using the present puts emphasis on the fact that what is described is timeless or still continuing.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.