Can I use "I was wondering" with simple past?

For example, I called my friend's house but his mom answered the phone. I introduced myself and asked her "I was wondering if he was available".

Did I say the wrong thing? Should I have said "I was wondering if he is available", or can I say either?

  • 1
    Both are grammatically correct, but neither is really idiomatic. Did you want to talk to him or use him? If you wanted to talk to him, you should have said, "Hello, my name is Jess. I'm a friend of [his name]'s. I'd like to speak with him if he's available".
    – user264
    Apr 12, 2013 at 2:18

1 Answer 1


As @Bill commented, both are correct. The only difference, that may come to mind is that you do not necessarily need to talk to your friend(probably, planning to pay a visit) when you use past tense.

Therefore, by using

I was wondering if he was available?

you are implying that you may or may not want to talk to the person.

I was wondering if he is available?

Here, you are sure that you'd talk to him if he is available.

Though, these might just be my own implications. In general sense, you can use either of them without anyone doubting it.

Or can I say either and still be grammatically correct?

As mentioned before, you'll be grammatically correct by using either of them.

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