1

May I request to clarify the time references for the following subordinate clauses of the sentence :

  1. "He will come to know what I need" or "What I need will be known to him"

  2. "He will come to know that I need something" or "That I need something will be known to him"

The contexts in both the above are that "I need something in the present (now) which will be known to him in future.

What will be the time reference of subordinate clauses "what I need/that I need something"? My instinct tells me present time even though the main clause is in future. Or will these be 'Present in the future time' examples.

1
  • Please see help center rules to know how to correctly format your questions.
    – AIQ
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 7:36

2 Answers 2

0

I think either of those expression could refer to present needs that will become known to someone else, or to future needs that will become known to someone else at a future time.
To make it clear, you should use a different expression, for example,
"I need xyz, and he will come to know that."
In contrast, if you refer to future needs,
"I will be needing xyz, and he will come to know that."

1
  • Dear Jack, Thanks for your reply. The doubt is in the applicable time aspect of the subordinating clause restricted to whether it(the present time of subordinate clause ) gets affected by the future time and tense reference of the main clause"He will come to know" or it remains independent of main clause time and thus can refer to either Present or future time.Thanks
    – Sanjay
    Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 13:25
0

I think most English speakers would interpret, "He will come to know what I need" as, at some future date, he will know what I need at that time. Putting the "to know" in the future shifts the frame of reference to that future date. If what you mean is, at some future date he will come to know what I need right now, you could spell that out, "He will come to know what I need now", or you could put "need" in the past tense, "He will come to know what I needed." Because it's then past from the knowing. (Depending on context, perhaps indicating too late. Like, "I am divorcing George because he does not give what I need. Perhaps in time he will come to know what I needed.")

I'm trying to think of other examples of this. If I said, "When the king arrives, there will be a big parade", the "when ... arrives" is in the future and "will be" is future tense. If I said, "When the king arrives, there is a big parade", a listener would likely interpret that as an eternal present: whenever the king arrives, every time the king arrives, there is a big parade.

You must log in to answer this question.

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