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The following sentences are given as correct examples regarding Sequence of tense

I miss my dad more than I missed anything.

I miss my dad more than I will miss anything.

I can't really understand the grammer behind these 2 sentences, especially the second sentence sounds completely wrong to me.

And the rule on the web site, which didn't make sense to me, says: Usually, no present form is allowed in the subordinate clause if the principal clause is in past tense. But if the subordinate clause starts with “than”, then the subordinate clause can be in any tense.

So, I am not native speaker and I wanted to ask. Are these sentences grammatically correct? If yes, how can you be so sure about the future? How do you know that you won't miss anyone more than him in the future?

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  • The linked page explains the grammar, pointing out some correct and incorrect sentences. This particular example only tables the tense being used, without saying which is correct. Perhaps you can see from the other examples, that the second one you posted is incorrect. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 16:47
  • On the page, there are rules and then some examples. Regarding some rules, examples are shown and labelled as correct or incorrect, and regarding some other rules, examples are there but no labes as correct or incorrect. And the above sentences are such sentences, but I thougth they must be correct, they did not sound correct to me though. And this is why I am asking about those sentences, because I don't think they could be correct. So, do you mean these sentences put under "THE RULE" are incorrect?
    – Yunus
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:08
  • As Colin wrote, this is more about whether this particular example makes sense, than being grammatical. The page doesn't say: it just tells what tense is used. The second sentence says the speaker won't ever miss anything as much as they miss Dad. It's not incorrect grammatically, but the future might prove it to be wrong. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:32
  • ... here is an example with contrasting tenses: I won more money on the lottery yesterday than I will ever be able to spend. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:48
  • @WeatherVane, So, in your first comment you said "Perhaps you can see from the other examples, that the second one you posted is incorrect." And now you say "It's not incorrect grammatically". So, have you changed your idea that you had in your first comment?
    – Yunus
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:51

3 Answers 3

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The first sentence has good grammar, but I can't think of how it could be meaningful.

It refers to "more than I missed anything", suggesting that the speaker stopped missing things some time in the past, and that part of their life is over. This can't be true since they miss their father right now. A significant improvement would be using present perfect instead:

I miss my dad more than I have missed anything.

This refers to all things the speaker has ever missed up to the present, so it makes sense.

As for the second sentence, it's got good grammar and good semantics, so it's a good sentence. Whether or not we think the sentence is true, the grammar is good and it has a clear semantic value.

The speaker is asserting that never in their life will they ever miss anything more than they currently miss their father. Whether that's a rational thing to say or not is irrelevant to whether the grammar and semantics are good, which they both are.

Tangent: It also doesn't seem unreasonable to me that the one thing a person misses most in their entire life might be their father. Lots of people are closer to their father than to anyone else in their life.

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  • Thanks for the answer. you say "The first sentence has good grammar, but I can't think of how it could be meaningful." I really wonder how can a sentence have good grammer if I can't be meaningful?
    – Yunus
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:19
  • 2
    "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously" is a famous example of a sentence that breaks no grammatical rules, but makes absolutely no sense. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:38
  • "I miss my dad more than I missed anything" is implicitly, "I miss my dad more than I missed anything else." When you said, "this can't be true since they miss their father right now," you were ignoring this implicit "else." If you ignore the implicit "else," then your criticism would equally apply to your supposed improvement, "I miss my dad more than I have missed anything."
    – causative
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 18:11
  • @causative The simple past there means that missing things in general is in the past. Even with "else", it implies that missing things other than their dad is finished forever. This is the same problem. Present perfect fixes this because it means they still miss things, and that can include their father.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 21:05
  • @gotube "The simple past there means that missing things in general is in the past"? No. It means only what it literally says, which is that the speaker missed some things or people in the past. It does not preclude them missing some things or people in the present, or in the future. It doesn't even suggest that.
    – causative
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 2:12
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This isn't about logic, it's about emotion.

Of course the speaker doesn't know how many things they may lose in the future and how much they miss them. In fifty years they may look back and say that the sentence was not factually true: that does not affect the sentence now, which is a statement of a subjective, emotional truth.

And if they look at it objectively they might decide that the first statement is not true even now; but again, it is about emotion.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with grammar.

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    The first sentence needs the word have or needs to be fully shifted to present tense in order to be idiomatic. I miss my dad more than I have missed anything. Or I miss my dad more than I miss anything.
    – EllieK
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:00
  • Yes, I completely agree. So, those sentences are incorrect as they are.
    – Yunus
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:12
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None of them seem correct to me. The first sentence (I miss my dad more than I missed anything) is wrong because it breaks semantic rules. Think about the famous example:

Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously

So the correction would be:
I miss my dad more than I miss anything (Simple Present)
or
I missed my dad more than I missed anything (Simple Past)

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  • What grammar rules does the first one break? Do you mean semantic rules?
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 18:32
  • Yes. I mean semantic rules. I made a mistake about rule type
    – Radson
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 14:45
  • You can use the small "Edit" button to improve your answer if you'd like.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 18:14

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