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English is not my main language, but I'm pretty sure I have a rock solid foundation since I learned it in high school.

If I recall and memory serves, one cannot use past tense verbs twice in the same sentence, for example:

Why didn't you came last night?

This is completely wrong (I do not remember why, I just know it is) and it should be changed to this:

Why didn't you come last night?

That would make it valid.

I have this other sentence:

"well you did this to me, and that's why I did that."

Does the same "rule" apply to the above sentence?

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  • It's all about paying in the same coins. I did it with her, she did it with him and he again did it with me. :-D
    – Maulik V
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:38

1 Answer 1

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The rule doesn't apply for the last sentence, which is made up of two sentences linked together with "and"--the "dids" are independent of each other and therefore don't exhibit this pattern. However, the "didn't" in the second sentence is necessary to connect "why" with "come" to form a negative question in the past tense.

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  • Basically agree. Obfuskater's first sentence would be better as 'The rule doesn't apply for the last sentence, which is made up of two clauses linked together with "and"'. A clause has one finite verb. Your first and second sentences have one clause and one finite verb; your last sentence has two clauses and two finite verbs. (That said, 'Why didn't you came last night?' is a common mistake by English language learners, but most people understand the meaning.)
    – Sydney
    Jul 15, 2014 at 11:30
  • @SydneyAustraliaESLTeacher: Good point about the first sentence. Thanks.
    – Obfuskater
    Jul 15, 2014 at 12:16
  • Certainly it is easier to think about or say 'sentence' rather than 'clause', because the former is a standard word and the latter a technical one. In my classes I probably say 'sentence' more than 'clause'.
    – Sydney
    Jul 15, 2014 at 23:46
  • I do like the precision of using technical terms, but for the sake of simplicity I try to use the same terminology I see most often in other posts.
    – Obfuskater
    Jul 16, 2014 at 0:45

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