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I want to use the exclamation "thank God" in a narrative written in past tense. Should I use "thanked God" or just "thank God"? For example:

(1) She heard a voice that, thanked God, she recognized.

(2) She heard a voice that, thank God, she recognized.

Which one is correct?

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  • Hi MD P. When asking questions like this it is helpful if you provide some detail about why you are unable to answer the question yourself, and what, if anything, you have done to try to work out the problem before posting. You may get an answer either way (as you have here), but you'll get fewer close votes.
    – fred2
    Jul 30 '21 at 16:16
  • I'd like to add to Toroid's wonderful answer that this is an interjection which doesn't change for tense - it's invariable.
    – CocoPop
    Aug 3 '21 at 0:12
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In your case, the correct sentence is the second one:

She heard a voice that, thank God, she recognized.

The "thank God" part is an aside to say that one should thank God for what happened.

The first sentence isn't grammatically correct, but could be reworked to be in the past tense:

She heard a voice and thanked God that she recognized it.

Any use of "thanked God" like this would be referring to the woman thanking God in the past tense. However, you could modify the subject to refer to yourself as the speaker instead:

She heard a voice, and I thanked God that she recognized it.

This means that you had thanked God in the past for the woman recognizing it.

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