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  1. #1
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Okay to use the past tense?

    Situation: We (A and B) are waiting for a friend (C).
    Is the underlined expression okay in the above situation?

    A: We've been waiting for C for a long time.
    B: I don't know what happened to C.
    A: I can't wait any longer. I have to go now.
    B: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.

    C has not arrived yet when the above conversation takes place. The arrival of C and the reason for being late will be known later. Can I use the past tense in that case?

  2. #2
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    Raymott is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Okay to use the past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Situation: We (A and B) are waiting for a friend (C).
    Is the underlined expression okay in the above situation?

    A: We've been waiting for C for a long time.
    B: I don't know what happened to C.
    A: I can't wait any longer. I have to go now.
    B: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.

    C has not arrived yet when the above conversation takes place. The arrival of C and the reason for being late will be known later. Can I use the past tense in that case?
    Yes, this is normal.
    Of course, we are ignoring the possibility that he doesn't turn up at all.

    I'll write to you next year and tell you what happened in December.
    He was going to ring me the next morning to tell me what happened that night.

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Re: Okay to use the past tense?

    Theoretically, yes, but "what time he came here" is not very natural, compared to "showed up" or "arrived."

  4. #4
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: Okay to use the past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Theoretically, yes, but "what time he came here" is not very natural, compared to "showed up" or "arrived."
    "What time he came" or "what time he arrived" would be natural in BrE.

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