Anyone meets situations, in which we don't know how many TENSES (past, present and future) should be used in one sentence?

For example, in this formal conversation:

A: Are you from Asia? I think so though

B: Yes, you are right. What's your stereotype for most Asian people?

A: They eat chicken feet...

......(couple dialogs)

B: By the way, why "did" you think I "am" from Asia?

A: Because....

Is the last one correct? Could we use both [did (for the past)] and [am (for the present)] in one sentence?

Because I was told that in one sentence only one tense could be used and using the present tense to express anything would be correct because I am really from Asia. So it's correct the use of "am" here?

  • 2
    I am not answering your main question. I am providing small corrections. You are from Asia. You are Asian.
    – Em.
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 4:56
  • 4
    There is nothing wrong with having more than one tense in the same sentence. (As an aside, I'm a little disappointed that this question didn't turn out to be a contest to see who could use the most tenses in a single sentence.)
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 6:02
  • 1
    You have 2 sentences here or if we want to be more technical, you have 2 clauses here. Why did you think (1) I am from Asia (2). Your second clause is your first clause's object. I guess your teachers meant in simple sentences and here you have a complex sentence. We have different kinds of sentences and we can use diffetent tenses in them.
    – user33000
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 7:27
  • 2
    @nnnnnn - Hmm, let's see..."I know that I will remember that I had eaten the fish before I ate the chicken" - that's four right there (present, future, past perfect, simple past)
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 14:46

2 Answers 2


In this structure, you did (in the past) think that I was then currently (and still am) Asian.

You can think in the past about something that was currently true then and which continues to be true now.

The sentence is really discussing the past belief, and discusses the Asian-ness in the context of that history of belief (and possibly, subsequent changes).


Yes its true that we can only use one tense in a sentence it can be either past tense, present tense or future tense. You cannot combine all the tense in one sentence which will confuse the person in front of you he/she might not understand what are you talking about... So i think you should only use one tense in each sentence.

  • 5
    Mixing tenses in a sentence is perfectly normal. "I was (past) worried about your visit but now you are (present) here I think that it will (future) be fun."
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:06

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