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For the given sentence

She waited patiently for the rare moment when EVERYONE in the house was out, and went straight for the plastic bag the second she realized she is free

Should it be "she realizes she is free" or "she realized she is free", given the preceding action "went straight for the plastic bag" is already in the past tense?

1 Answer 1

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I think the mismatch here is "she realized she is free". Changing it to "she realized she was free" would make the tense of the sentence uniform. In this case, the sentence could be rewritten either way, depending on the larger context:

Present Tense

She waits patiently for the rare moment when EVERYONE in the house is out, and goes straight for the plastic bag the second she realizes she is free

Past Tense

She waited patiently for the rare moment when EVERYONE in the house was out, and went straight for the plastic bag the second she realized she was free

(boldface text to indicate which words would need to be changed)

It is difficult to recommend which tense is correct without seeing more of the surrounding text.

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  • Thank you! That makes a lot of sense.
    – JCT
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 4:02

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