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Should I write:

  1. He wrote in his last email that he did not find the time to do it yet, but was going to do it pretty soon . In fact he has still not done it.

  2. He wrote in his last email that he had not found the time to do it yet, but was going to do it pretty soon. In fact he has still not done it.

What is the difference?

(I am thinking that #2 is better.)

  • I think yet turns to then as well. – Maulik V Sep 20 '14 at 8:48
  • Perhaps compare to versions that don't use the negative: "He wrote in his last email that he found the time to do it" vs "He wrote in his last email that he had found the time to do it". (Aside: I agree with the poster in preferring "In fact he still has not done it.") – F.E. Sep 20 '14 at 18:22
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He wrote in his last email that he had not found the time to do it yet, but was going to do it pretty soon.

The sentence above would be used more often, although I believe both are technically correct. As for the last sentence, I would say "He still has not done it".

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Grammatically speaking, both the sentences are correct. The only difference is that when the speaker says he did not find (or hasn't found) the time to do it yet, it means that he has not done it so far because he has not had the time (maybe because he is still busy doing other work). On the other hand, when he says he had not found the time to do it yet, it means that he did not do it in the past because he didn't have the time (but now he has got the time to do it). So it is up to the speaker which situation he wants to express in the email.

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Actually, it should be "he has/had not find the time to do it yet". You cannot use past simple because of the adverb "yet". Remember that this is reported speech, so you can used present or past participle according to the context. In my opinion it would be better to write: "He wrote in his last email that he has not found the time to do it yet, but was going to do it pretty soon. however, he still has not done."

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  • Yet can also be used for the past tense, meaning then. – Khan Sep 21 '14 at 10:44

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