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is or was? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 11:18:29 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
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“I thought Singapore is a safe country where priority is given for safety, but here my plea for help was ignored,” she added. “I hope the Singapore authorities will not take such behavior lightly if there is a commotion in a public transport or at least help to investigate on matters such as this.”

Should it be "I thought Singapore was a safe country" instead?

Thanks!
tautophile
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 12:28:55 PM
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Both "is" or "was" are OK--colloquial--in this sentence. But, since the sentence is (supposed to be) a direct quotation, and the person who's being quoted apparently said "is", that's what should appear. (I would probably have used "was" rather than "is" in this context, because "thought" rather than "think" suggests a past context: Yesterday I thought Singapore was safe; today I think Singapore is not as safe as it used to be.

An apostrophe-s (" -'s") can be a shortening of either "is" or "was"--but almost always the former. That is, "Singapore's a safe country" can be either "Singapore is a safe country" or (rarely) "Singapore was a safe country".
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 12:47:40 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

I agree - I'd always use "was" after "thought".
Bathcoup
Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2021 6:42:26 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/24/2021
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tautophile wrote:

An apostrophe-s (" -'s") can be a shortening of either "is" or "was"--but almost always the former. That is, "Singapore's a safe country" can be either "Singapore is a safe country" or (rarely) "Singapore was a safe country".
----------------------

Are you sure "it's" could occasionally represent "it was"?

it's = it is or it has
Sometimes you can't tell which one, like in "it's gone", but you at least know it's the same tense.
Now if "was" were also included, it'd often cause tense-confusion, I think.

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