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Can I use both the past and present tenses in my sentences? Options
robjen
Posted: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:35:41 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/2015
Posts: 414
Neurons: 2,355
I am going to make up two sets of sentences below.


all past tense

(1a) I told John yesterday that I would finish my project before I went on vacation next month.

(2a) I wondered why there was a cut in my thumb.

(3a) John said that my paragraph was boring and full of mistakes.

(4a) Did Mary tell John yesterday that her company was on ABC Street?



past tense and present tense combined

(1b) I will have my vacation next month. I'm talking to Mary about what I said to John.

I say to Mary, "I told John yesterday that I will finish my project before I go on vacation next month."

(2b) Suppose that I wondered about the cause of my cut ten minutes ago. I'm talking to my friend about that right now.

I say to Mary, "I wondered why there is a cut in my thumb."

(3b) Suppose that you are showing your friends your paragraph right now.

I say to my friends, "John said that my paragraph is boring and full of mistakes."

(4b) Suppose that I am talking to my friends about John and Mary. I know her company is on ABC Street.

I say to my friends,"Did Mary tell John yesterday that her company is on ABC Street?"



Here, the telling, saying and wondering were done in the past. So, the past tense should be used. The facts - I go on vacation, there is a cut, my paragraphs, and her company is on ABC Street - are still true. So, the present tense should be used.


Do you think I can combine the two tenses in all the b's? Thanks a lot.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 12:02:07 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 27,242
Neurons: 151,090
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
They all (all eight) sound OK to me.

1a and 1b have different 'tones' - emotions - in my mind.

(1a) I told John yesterday that I would finish my project before I went on vacation next month.
This seems to be a simple statement of what happened.

(1b) I told John yesterday that I will finish my project before I go on vacation next month.
This seems to be a re-statement, an insistent answer - as if "I" just received a new message: "John wants to know when you'll finish the project."

**********
The others mean the same - no real differences.
There was a cut, and there still is
the paragraph was boring and still is boring
the company was and still is in the same place - so past tense and present tense both work.

EDITED to correct my last statement.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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