Here is the sentence:

I lost my wife, she went shopping & hasn't come back yet.

Using present perfect here is right or wrong? And I remember that (or I remember wrong) after 'and', verb must be following with the tense before 'and' (in this case is Past Simple tense) - it's right or wrong? Thanks so much!

1 Answer 1


The sentence is (mostly) fine. There is no rule that says that all the verbs in a sentence have to be in the same tense. Sometimes the sentence makes more sense and reads better if the tenses match, but sometimes, like in your example, that wouldn't make any sense.

She went shopping - this happened entirely in the past, so the simple past is appropriate.
(She) hasn't come back yet - this began in the past and continues until the present, so the present perfect is appropriate.

When you think about it, there are lots of cases in which you would use different tenses in one sentence, e.g. "Yesterday I lost my glasses and tomorrow I will buy new ones" or "I had never seen an elephant until I went to the zoo, but I still haven't seen a tiger."

(The one correction I would make to the sentence is that it's using what's called a comma splice. "I lost my wife" is a completely separate main clause from "She went shopping and hasn't come back yet", and you can't join two independent clauses with a comma. You need to separate them into two sentences with a period, or connect them with a semicolon or a conjunction like "and" or "because".)

  • Thanks so much for your explanation sir! My problem is not "all the verbs in a sentence have to be in the same tense". Just in same period (simple or past). And after and, verb will be following the tense before. Except syntax since or until you provided or present perfect + past simple (was/were + v_2), I didn't see any sentences that had both these tense. So, like your explanation, it can be past simple + present perfect in 1 sentence depending on situation (if right, "separate them into two sentences with a period...")? Another question: "Like you said, it is true" is right or wrong?
    – mmo2112
    Jun 23, 2016 at 16:24
  • 1
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "in the same period". If something happened completely in the past, we use the simple past. If it completed in the past before another event, we use the past perfect. If it started in the past but continues until now, we use the present perfect. So if two things happened over the same time period, we would use the same tense, but that has nothing to do with the word "and". You can use and to join two things that happened at different times, like "He had not eaten all day and he was tired."
    – stangdon
    Jun 23, 2016 at 16:49
  • Same period means you can combine past tense with past tense, not past with simple (except few case such as present perfect + past simple with since, before, until or PP + PS (was/were + v_2). Your sentence (I think) must be: I have never seen an elephant until I went to the zoo, but I still hadn't seen a tiger. And: I have lost my glasses since yesterday, and tomorrow I will buy new ones. Just my thinking, please correct them if you can, thanks for your time very much sir...
    – mmo2112
    Jun 23, 2016 at 17:05
  • No, my original sentences were correct. We say "I had never seen an elephant until I went to the zoo" because the situation of not-seeing-an-elephant began in the past and continued until I went to the zoo, so it is complete. But "I have never seen a tiger" because that began in the past but continues until the present." Also, we say "I lost my glasses" if the losing-of-glasses is a single event that happened entirely in the past. It is possible to say "I have lost my glasses" to indicate that the situation continues to the present, but not with "since yesterday".
    – stangdon
    Jun 23, 2016 at 17:20
  • @standon. Thanks for your time again. I have already read your explanation but I must go to sleep (too late now). I will check and try to find more on tomorrow. If I need your help again, may you accept me to tag you at here? Hm, good night (day) for you sir!
    – mmo2112
    Jun 23, 2016 at 17:29

You must log in to answer this question.

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