Does sequence of verb tenses also apply to phrasal verbs and multi-word verbs?

Down below, we can see a phrasal verb in bold in each sentence.

According to sequence of verb tenses, the subordinate verb should be shifted into the past if main verb is past tense or past perfect.

But when it comes to phrasal verb or multi-word verbs, should we also apply the rule of sequence of verb tenses?

  1. I broke down what the company (would/will) do in the next few years.

  2. As an experienced artist, yesterday I put up a show that (would/will) be seen as a masterpiece.

  3. I was aware of what she (would/will) do.

  4. I took care of what (would/will) be a disaster.

  • What exactly are you asking? May 25, 2020 at 4:27
  • 3
    Yes, phrasal verbs are the same as other verbs, as far as tenses and aspects are concerned.
    – Cardinal
    May 25, 2020 at 4:40
  • @JasonBassford I have edited my question. Thanks for your concern.
    – vincentlin
    May 25, 2020 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


The question is confusing. If it is about the change of verb phrases, yes, they are subject to the rules of tenses. break down becomes broke down; take care of becomes took care of. If the question is about the changes in the verbs that follow verbs/ verb phrases in the past tense, again there should be agreement of tenses. Thus it should be "I was aware of what she would do. I took care of what would be a disaster. Hope it is what the OP is looking for.

  • 1
    Thank you. I am sorry for the confusing question. I have edited it to clean up the mess.
    – vincentlin
    May 25, 2020 at 4:54
  • 2
    There is nothing wrong with I was aware of what she will do, aside from it being less common. This part of your sentence makes it sound as if that's not acceptable, but it is. May 25, 2020 at 4:59
  • @JasonBassford, Do you think someone who writes a test will score if he/she writes ...will do? I don't think so. It may be acceptable, but the question is what is more acceptable.
    – Ram Pillai
    May 25, 2020 at 5:03
  • 1
    The question isn't asking which is more acceptable. It's only asking if phrasal verbs should follow the same shift as regular verbs. May 25, 2020 at 5:04
  • 1
    "She's going to declare bankruptcy in a month." "Yes, I was aware of what she will do when she hired me." May 25, 2020 at 5:06

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