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before + simple present Options
robjen
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:37:22 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/2015
Posts: 315
Neurons: 1,679
My manager is going to be on holiday in two weeks. Yesterday, he talked to me about completing a project. Then, I told my friend what he said to me. I am going to make up a sentence about it.

I say to my friend,"Yesterday, my manager told me to finish my project before he starts his vacation."

I am not sure if it's OK to use the simple past and simple present in the same sentence based on the given context.

My manager did the telling yesterday, and he starts his holidays soon. These two "events" have different time references. That's the reason why I am using the different tenses. Please give me your opinion. Thanks a lot.
sureshot
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:44:09 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2015
Posts: 1,802
Neurons: 336,090
robjen wrote:
My manager is going to be on holiday in two weeks. Yesterday, he talked to me about completing a project. Then, I told my friend what he said to me. I am going to make up a sentence about it.

I say to my friend,"Yesterday, my manager told me to finish my project before he starts his vacation."

I am not sure if it's OK to use the simple past and simple present in the same sentence based on the given context.

My manager did the telling yesterday, and he starts his holidays soon. These two "events" have different time references. That's the reason why I am using the different tenses. Please give me your opinion. Thanks a lot.

______________________________________________

The verb "told" is a reporting verb. You have used simple past tense. It implies that the action of telling you took place in the past time. Normally, the tense in indirect speech is changed from present to past when the verb of reporting is in past tense. We usually change the reported verb in simple present to simple past i.e. "start" is changed to "started". This is correct in theory. However,the tense of the reported verb is often left unchanged,provided this can be done without causing confusion about the relative times of the two actions.If the action of the reported speech is not yet out of date i.e. the action has not yet taken place and is still relevant, there is no change in tense of the reported verb (= start/s)although we can do so. This is common in spoken English.

In the given situation, the decision to use simple present in indirect speech or change it to past is yours. If the indirect speech action is still relevant, you are free to use simple present. However, in theory, you could also use simple past and it would be grammatically correct. It is obvious that your manager has yet to commence his vacation/trip. So, retaining simple present in indirect speech is justified.
NKM
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:46:07 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 3,745
Neurons: 158,218
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
robjen wrote:
My manager is going to be on holiday in two weeks. Yesterday, he talked to me about completing a project. Then, I told my friend what he said to me. I am going to make up a sentence about it.

I say to my friend,"Yesterday, my manager told me to finish my project before he starts his vacation."

I am not sure if it's OK to use the simple past and simple present in the same sentence based on the given context.

My manager did the telling yesterday, and he starts his holidays soon. These two "events" have different time references. That's the reason why I am using the different tenses. Please give me your opinion. Thanks a lot.

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Yes, it's OK. In fact, it's exactly right for this situation.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, August 14, 2017 4:10:56 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,452
Neurons: 141,825
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Exactly.

In reporting (as sureshot says), it's common to change the action verb from present to past.
- He is a teacher.
- "He said he was a teacher."

In the same way, the future can be made present.
- He will start his vacation next week.
- "He says he starts his vacation next week."

In your situation, the manager probably already used the simple present to describe a future action:
"Finish your project before I start my vacation (next week)."
Therefore there is no need to change the verb from future to present.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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