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I'm confused about verb tenses when starting a sentence with 'although'. For example: Although it rained, I went camping. That seems to be the general grammar rule from what I can find online. All the sentences are in the past.

But couldn't I say all of these too: Although it rained, I am camping. Although it rained, I am going camping. Although it rained, I am going to go camping.

But I can't say: Although it rained, I go camping. Why can I not use this tense?

What is the grammar rule? I found this from another question on this site:

It is not a hard-and-fast rule that there needs to be the same prevailing tense throughout an entire article or even in one paragraph. You are allowed to change verb tenses to reflect the temporal relationships between what has happened in the past and the authors commentary that is being made at the present time.

Could this also be applied to the sentences above? .

3 Answers 3

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Items 2-3 below would sound pretty natural in conversation:

  1. Although it rained, I am camping.
  2. Although it rained, I am going camping.
  3. Although it rained, I am going to go camping.

But you are correct that the tenses do not quite match. The present tense of the camping clauses would work best with the present perfect tenses in your rain clauses:

  1. Although it has rained, I am [still] camping.
  2. Although it has rained, I am going camping.
  3. Although it has rained, I am going to go camping.

I recommend these for writing and any conversation where you want to sound polished as well as natural.

Your other sentence is problematic because the aspects are mixed:

Although it rained, I go camping.

Rained indicates a specific event—e.g., It rained this morning. I go indicates a habitual behavior—e.g., I go camping every weekend. This is usually the case when we use the simple present tense. We cannot match a specific event with a habitual behavior.

You could match the aspects like this:

Even when it rains, I go camping.

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You are wrong to say you can use: Although it rained, I am camping. Although it rained, I am going camping. Although it rained, I am going to go camping.

It should be

Although it is raining, I am [still] camping

Although it is raining, I am going [camping/to go camping]

You have to change the tense accordingly in a sentence, in your first example of "Although it rained, I am camping", "camping" is present participle, and "rained" is past tense, so you cannot use these 2 different tenses.

"Although it rained, I go camping." < This is wrong as well, as "go" should be past tense "went", but camping can remain as it is.

For your last question, "Could this also be applied to the sentences above?", No.

The general rule is

Tenses should agree in the same clause

In this case, the entire sentence is one clause, so the tense has to agree throughout.

Example where different tenses are used:

/ I have to get my hair cut / because / I was told / that it is too long by my teacher /.

The / represents the clauses

You can read more on this here

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Mostly because go as in "I go camping" is less common/less useful as a tense of to go than "I am going camping". Raining is specific to a certain time. "I go" is never specific. You can't say "Even though there's been a snowstorm, I go to the office" because it is not a snowstorm every time you go to the office and a snowstorm is therefore not part of the going-to-the-office habit.

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