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If I am trying to explain I saw a future need, which of the following sentences are correct? I provided my interpretation of each sentence as well.

  1. I saw we would need more products for March. -- I saw earlier that more products are needed in March but I no longer see that.

  2. I saw we would need more products in March -- March was when I reviewed inventory and saw that we would need more products but timing of delivery is unspecified.

  3. I saw we could use more products in March. -- March was when I reviewed inventory and saw that we could use more products but timing of delivery is unspecified.

  4. I saw we will need more products for March. -- IS this grammatically correct as "saw" is in past tense and "will" is in present tense?

My understanding is that it's best to keep word tenses consistent.

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To respond directly to the title, here is what I would say:

I saw we would need it.

But that sentence would be clearer to say "I saw that we would need it."

The word "saw" is barely heard when used in that context. For this reason, I find all of those sentences awkward and difficult to understand. Also, it is unclear to me what you want to say.

  1. Has the inventory changed so that you no longer need so many products?
  2. Is the inventory still the same so you still need the same number of products but you want to know how to say that you saw it earlier?

If Number 1, the clearest statement would be:

Back when I did the inventory, I thought we would need more products for March.

That explains that you saw it and had this thought about it.

If Number 2 is what you want to say, the clearest statement would be:

Back when I did the inventory, I saw that we would need more products for March.

This states that when you did the inventory you saw the need for more products for March.

In all these cases, the word tenses are kept consistent.

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  • Thanks for your response! I meant to say I saw more inventory was needed when I reviewed inventory earlier in the week. What about using "for" vs "in" March? We typically say "schedule production for March" to indicate more production is needed come March, but when we say "schedule production in March," I believe this means we are scheduling in March(the act of scheduling) but the actual production timeframe is unknown. What do you think?
    – Student
    Jan 31 at 19:28
  • 1
    I edited my answer now to say "for March," since that is the official way for you to say it in your workplace. Jan 31 at 21:38

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