Questions tagged [sequence-of-tenses]

for questions about the agreement between the tenses of verbs in related clauses or sentences.

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30 votes
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Why is it correct to say "We should go see a movie," but not "We should have gone see a movie"?

Two sentences: We should go see a movie. (1) *We should have gone see a movie. (2) The first is correct, the second is incorrect. Why can we omit the word 'to' in the first but not the second? A ...
Benjamin Grange's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

The baby cries this morning

The baby cries all morning. The baby has been crying all morning. I think both of these are grammatical but carry different meanings. The first one shows a general habit while the second one ...
Kshitij Singh's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
840 views

Combining present with past

I am currently reading "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson and when describing a sequence of events, the writer constantly forms these sentences: First, he separated the bulbs [...]. Then he ...
João Neves's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

Does the past perfect tense make sense in this sentence? "Sent from an "is" to a "was" before he'd had his breakfast."

From the movie Lucky Number Slevin: (He was) Relegated to the past tense. (He was) Sent from an "is" to a "was" before he'd had his breakfast. The context is Morgan Freeman's character is telling ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
78 views

How to handle con­di­tional clauses where it’s un­known whether the pro­ta­sis’s con­di­tion ac­tu­ally got ful­filled or not?

I have a ques­tion re­gard­ing con­di­tional sen­tences, as far I know the “third con­di­tional” is used when we’re talk­ing about a con­di­tion from the past that never ac­tu­ally hap­pened af­ter ...
user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

"If + would" conditional in present perfect tense

Is it allowed to use the "if + would" conditional when speculating about a polite request that could have taken place in past? I know that the would structure can be used to make a polite request, but ...
Rare's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
5k views

Narrative present

Are there no rules to when you can and can not change tenses, using narrative present? Like, could I say one of these: I was on my way back home by bus. The guy who sat next to me looks at me ...
Soumya Ghosh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
317 views

If clause in a conditional sentence: didn't have vs hadn't

I have a sentence in an exam that says: [1] I WOULD COME if I DIDN'T HAVE other plans. Is it right to say the sentence: [2] I would come if I HADN'T other plans. I am having trouble deciding.
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

sequence of tenses in complex sentence

This is the blockquote from the book that I read They were about as smart as dogs, too. But what they lacked in brainpower, they made up for in sheer tenacity. He had seen them hurl themselves at ...
mr. noobey's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
3k views

She told me that she HAS / HAD a gun [duplicate]

I edited this question, since the original (or current one, revised by ColleenV) post has this sentence. For instance, in “She told me that she has a gun”, I edited this sentence to For ...
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3 votes
3 answers
138 views

Which tense do I use when reporting an action that occurred yesterday?

Today I told my friend that yesterday I had read the book which my father had given me two weeks ago Today (when I told my friend) is 23rd March; I read the book on 22nd March, and my father gave it ...
Alex Shirokiy's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
90 views

Why does the author write "listen" for a thing he is doing?

I'm sitting here with a warm nostalgic feeling as I listen to the final master recordings Peter has sent over Why is it not "am listening" is it because sit is already present continuous so ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
  • 7,379
3 votes
2 answers
92 views

Sequence of tenses: They created a device that is able or was able?

When I'm telling someone about a movie that I watched, is it correct to say, "They created a device that is able to send people into the past", or "They created a device that was able ...
pavel_orekhov's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
144 views

'Will' vs. 'would'

I am writing an essay, and I am confused about some tenses that I have to use: For a while, the situation seems to improve, but Mary decides to finally kill herself (shortly after that). However, ...
Marcin Nowak's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is "you will give me the photos that you would make" the correct tense for this sentence?

We will meet in fourteen days and you will give me the photos that you would make meanwhile. I am not sure what tense is appropriate in the last part of the sentence. It is referred to the future ...
bart-leby's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
210 views

Sequence of tenses and conditionals

This question is about my understanding of the nuances about sequence of tenses and conditionals. I provide some examples and my interpretations down below. If my interpretations are incorrect or ...
vincentlin's user avatar
  • 2,105
3 votes
2 answers
702 views

"I would not X if I didn't Y" vs "I would not X if had not Yed"

What are any differences between these two conditionals in their grammaticality, meaning, connotation, and formality? I would not be writing to you so soon to ask about my interview result if I did ...
Reza 's user avatar
  • 95
3 votes
2 answers
42 views

How should differences in tense, and such, be handled for interrupting clauses?

This is best asked by way of example. Suppose I want to ask someone if they have done some action, or plan to do so. And to be precise, suppose either is acceptable to me. So I might ask: Have you ...
tkp's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
86 views

Betty took two lumps, then saying, 'Well,Happy Birthday again'

Betty took two lumps, then saying, 'Well,Happy Birthday again' This is from the book Desperate Measures by Kitty Neale. I don't understand the usage of then saying. The first part is past tense and ...
user57928's user avatar
  • 157
3 votes
1 answer
226 views

Using would with present tense

Is this correct? I would buy it if it actually does what it is supposed to do? Should we replace this sentence with this? If so, please explain. I would buy it if it actually did what it was ...
Student's user avatar
  • 189
2 votes
1 answer
215 views

Tense Changes In A Story

Why are there tense changes in the following story: It was recess - the best time of the day. Kids ran around the playground shouting and laughing, playing and jumping. That is, everyone except for ...
Orange Zhan's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
377 views

Differences between past simple + future simple /future in the past

Let's consider the following sentences : He didn't know that we will soon buy a new house. He didn't know that we would soon buy a new house. I believe that both of them are gramatically ...
Math Guy's user avatar
  • 125
2 votes
1 answer
48 views

Sequence of tenses (the present perfect and the past simple

1 And now that a month has passed, she decided to write a review. 2 And now that a month has passed, she has decided to write a review. 3 And then that a month had passed, she decided to write a ...
user1425's user avatar
  • 4,238
2 votes
3 answers
35k views

I have read and agree / agreed with the terms and conditions

Which of the following two verb-forms is/are grammatical? Both, I think. I have read and agree / agreed with the terms and conditions. The first verb agrees with the subject I; I have read and (...
Zeeshan Ali's user avatar
  • 1,798
2 votes
2 answers
8k views

Tense Agreement: 'hold' vs. 'held'

Which is correct in the following sentence and why?: I met some people who 'hold' strong views on this issue; I met some people who 'held' strong views on this issue. I think "2" is correct in the ...
홍길동's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Shouldn't "He always knows what I am doing" be "He always knows what I do"?

I saw this sentence on a website "He always knows what I am doing" shouldn't it be like "he always knows what I do" Because what I am doing is in a progressive manner and the sentence means ...
d.alex's user avatar
  • 279
2 votes
2 answers
230 views

Why does this grammar book say there is a tense problem in "No one...wishes that we had...homework each night"?

No one in my history class wishes that we had more homework each night. This is from a 4th grader's grammar book and says it doesn't have a proper verb tense. I don't get it. Can anybody help?
user153288's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
34 views

Any contexts where "if I/you/she/.. would [do something]" would be correct except for future in the past?

I am wondering whether the following sentence is correct English or not: The librarian told him that he had a chance of catching several directors all at once, if he would go to the Barnstable Yacht ...
n1ghtm4n4g3r's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
109 views

Confused about the sequence of tenses in these sentences

I came across these recently: She used to write this shopping list in squiggles, and then come back with only half the stuff that she'd gone for. She might have forgotten something and come to fetch ...
Vincent Y's user avatar
  • 100
2 votes
2 answers
784 views

Sequence of tenses in two independent clauses?

I am sorry that I could not see you before leaving my old place, but I will soon visit the area to deal with the last few things there and I hope to see you then. My question is whether the above ...
Iqbal's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
1 answer
814 views

Sequence of tenses; repeating verbs

Sometimes I find it difficult to set my tenses correctly without sounding awkward. It is caused mostly by the fact that I tend to either not understand the rules for switching tenses or repeat modal ...
Bebop B.'s user avatar
  • 1,145
2 votes
1 answer
52 views

"Most people had come to accept that war <was> <would be> inevitable."

a sentence from extra examples of item #7 on oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com: (1) Most people had come to accept that war was inevitable. Does Past Perfect mean "most people coming to accept" ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 3,755
2 votes
1 answer
92 views

Is "I heard old war drums beat." from the Eric Bogle's song "Welcome Home" grammatical?

In the Eric Bogle's anti-war song "Welcome Home" (about the Vietnam War) there is a line "I heard old war drums beat.". Is it grammatical or is it licentia poetica? I think I ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
48 views

First , we met at a rehearsal in the city. Our team (had) needed a singer, and she (had) agreed to help. - Past Simple or Perfect [duplicate]

Do we need to use Past Simple or Past Perfect in this case if 'needing' and 'agreeing' happened first? First, we met at a rehearsal in the city. Our team (had) needed a singer, and she (had) agreed ...
i_yre_b's user avatar
  • 109
2 votes
1 answer
95 views

surprising verb sequence: “there has never been a line read that I didn't hear”

I came across this quote by Eudora Welty: Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn't hear. Source My question is: Can I say "...
AN24's user avatar
  • 184
2 votes
2 answers
51 views

A problem regarding tenses

A sentence is usually formed in one tense. But in the sentence below So far the United States, China and Russia were the only ones who’ve reported the ability to shoot down space objects from ...
Kshitij Singh's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
177 views

The use of the verb "predict" in the simple present tense with a verb in the past simple tense

It is from this video. It is at the beginning. The Big Bang Theory predicts that all matter, time and space began in an incredibly tiny, compact state about 14 billion years ago. I am confused ...
Dmytro O'Hope's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
6k views

Present simple and perfect tense in the first conditional

I just watched a video on first conditional and it says that we can we use the present simple, continuous or perfect tense in the IF clause. And it has given a few examples: If I play football, I ...
Dennis's user avatar
  • 275
2 votes
1 answer
5k views

Difference between the use of "I am able to .... " And "I have been able to..."

I would like to understand Difference between the use of "I am able to .... " And "I have been able to..." while writing formal/official emails. Do I need to add perfect tense always while writing ...
ziaur25's user avatar
  • 43
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Live vs Living usage in the given example

In Oxfordonlineenglish.com, I found a question in grammar test online as follows, ______ spent time abroad when I was a student, I found it easier to get used to ______ in another country. Options:...
Raj 33's user avatar
  • 825
2 votes
1 answer
74 views

"He thought his sister was/had been playing with his toys when he wasn't there"

Which of (1) and (2) is (or are) “correct”, and when and why? Yesterday Rachel said that she was practicing dancing two days ago. Yesterday Rachel said that she had been practicing dancing two days ...
hwkal's user avatar
  • 165
2 votes
2 answers
26 views

Do you use the past tense in a subordinate clause in past subjunctive?

I wish I had a robot which helps me do my homework. I wish I had a robot which helped me do my homework. Which sentence makes more sense? Does the tense in the subordinate clause need to agree with ...
kuwabara's user avatar
  • 1,430
2 votes
1 answer
82 views

I told him and now he KNOWS or I told him and now he KNEW?

I told him and now he knows. or I told him and now he knew. If I have now in the sentence. Does it mean that the following verb needs to be in a present tense? Or it is not necessary?
Uni123's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
1 answer
245 views

Has understood or had understood?

I'm doing some essays to prepare for the C1 writing test. I wrote this sentence: "after a student had understood a formula, it would be more efficient if he was able to apply it through ...
Olena Igorivna Davydova's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
58 views

Why with the "as..as" construction and the future tense in one part we use the present in the other?

I met such an offer: I'll get back to you as soon as I have the information you need. I wonder why/by what rule in part 2 of the sentence: "as I have the information you need" we don't use ...
Loken's user avatar
  • 205
2 votes
1 answer
140 views

What would the natural tense be here?

A: He tried to hang himself in his basement about a month ago. B: What? A: Yeah. Luckily the pipes ______(1) tied the rope to __________(2) under his weight, so nothing happened. Which of these would ...
bibobabu's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
873 views

Using Past and Present Tense in the Same Sentence

I have always struggled with past/present tense, especially when indicating something I found out that would still apply. Example 1: *This is what I found in the system. vs. This was what I found ...
Student's user avatar
  • 189
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is present simple used in conjunction with "while" instead of present continuous?

I was recently watching this Apple series called For All Mankind and came across the following sentence there: While we sit here, the Soviets are pushing ahead with their plans for a lunar ...
odddirector's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
128 views

Sequence of tenses: The only reason I found out about it [was/is] because

I recently found myself having to write this sentence: The only reason I found out about it [was/is] because... But I'm not sure whether I should use is or was in this sentence. I tried Googling ...
learner58130's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
47 views

Is it not a strange past perfect here?

The rumor we heard at the time was that Chris D had a bunch of Upsetter overstock of this Tooth and Nail vinyl compilations and that he'd recently carried them down to Rhino for beer money. the first ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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