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?

  • 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 '14 at 2:38

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.

  • 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 '14 at 11:30
  • @SydneyAustraliaESLTeacher: Good point about the first sentence. Thanks. – Obfuskater Jul 15 '14 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 '14 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 '14 at 0:45

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.