1

I was wondering if this sentence is grammatically correct:

"Yesterday Ann told me that Nick has a football match today"

Is it ok to put it like this? When is it possible to use both past and present tenses in one sentence?

2
  • The rules of the sequence of tenses in object clauses are sometimes violated. This occurs in present-time contexts after a past form in the principal clause when reference is made to the actual present time. This is found in dialogues (in plays, novels, stories) and also in newspaper and radio reports.
    – Violette
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 10:48
  • @Violette No rule has been violated in the sentence the OP asks about. Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 21:05

2 Answers 2

1

I'm not sure on the technical details, but here's how it feels to a native speaker:

The time that the action took place can be completely separated from the action itself. The action is:

Ann told me that Nick has a football match today

and in your question, the time that the action took place is yesterday.

Try replacing yesterday with any other time that makes sense (i.e. any time not in the future).

This morning Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

A week ago Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

On New Year's Eve Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

You're not mixing tenses, you're placing an action at a specific point in time.

0

In reported speech, the speaker can use the present tense if he or she believes what is being said is still true. If the game has not yet happened, it is perfectly natural to use the present tense here. It would also be correct if the speaker used the simple past. What would be incorrect would be to use the present tense if the speaker thinks the situation is no longer true, for example the football game is already over.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .