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I would like to know whether I should use "liked," "like," or either one of them in the following sentence:

He wanted a tie that he liked/likes, but he couldn't find any.

I would like to know what is the correct tense to use in these cases because I'm translating from my native language (Spanish), and I'm under the impression that the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish is always translated into English using the simple past tense.

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In this case, use "liked," absolutely. It is generally a good idea to keep your tenses straight, i.e. the past goes with the past. There are some exceptions, but this isn't one of them.

An exception would go something like this, "Martin likes ties that convey confidence without being too flashy, and on that day he turned the entire store upside down looking for such a tie but, to his chagrin, couldn't find any."

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