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When the main verb is a modal verb such as "could" or "was able to", does the principle of "sequence of tense" still apply?

Example 1

He could feel yesterday that his mother would bombard him with new information.

Example 2

He could feel yesterday that his mother will bombard him with new information.

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    These are extremely awkward/unnatural sentences. I would suggest you don't use could here at all. I also assume you mean that the bombardment is yet to happen, at some future time. If so, then try "Yesterday, he had felt that his mother would bombard him with new information".
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 11:45
  • Thank you. but I still want to know the case with "could." how about this one - The women at the time could sense that something would/will happen. - will or would? Does sequence of tense apply here?
    – vincentlin
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 11:54
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    Your latest sentence, At the time, the women could sense that something would happen is perfectly idiomatic. Note that I fronted your prepositional phrase, which makes the sentence feel more natural. And to be clear, will would sound quite odd here. Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 13:32
  • 1
    I would reword your last sentence. Try "At the time, the women could sense [that] something was going to happen". I think "was going to" expresses the nearness of the event which is about to happen much better than "would". Using "will" would be incorrect here, so that's not really a valid option.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 15:03
  • There is nothing wrong with example 1. I can feel you will bombard me with new info. = Present Tense//I could feel you would bombard me with new info. = Past Tense
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 18:30

1 Answer 1

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Today, they can sense that it will rain soon.

Yesterday, they could sense that it would rain soon.

Today, they can sense that it is about to rain.

Yesterday, they could sense that it was about to rain.

Today, he can sense that his mother is about to bombard him with new information.

Yesterday, he could sense that his mother was about to bombard him with new information.

Today, he can sense that his mother will bombard him with new information.

Yesterday, he could sense that his mother would bombard him with new information.

The jarring semantic issue with will|would bombard him with new information (they are OK grammatically) is that "bombard" and "new information" are a little too specific to be "sensed" or "felt".

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