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  1. #1
    allthewayanime is offline Member
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    Default timing marks + future in the past

    Is it correct to use after : as long as, when, and other timing marks the future in the past?

    e.g. As long as he would come back to me, I was a happy kid.

    I know that there's a rule regarding which you can't put a future tense after timing marks, but the present...But what about the future in the past, is it correct to use it after timing marks?

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: timing marks + future in the past

    People do say it the way you have it, but the standard English is

    As long as he came back to me, I was a happy kid.

    Indeed, without context the sentence seems more natural if you reverse the clauses:

    I was a happy kid, so [as] long as he came back to me.

  3. #3
    allthewayanime is offline Member
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    Default Re: timing marks + future in the past

    So ,in other words, the future in the past is used only in informal English?

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: timing marks + future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    So ,in other words, the future in the past is used only in informal English?
    Where in his post did bhaisahab mention formal or informal usage?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: timing marks + future in the past

    So ,in other words, the future in the past is used only in informal English?
    No. The future in the past is used in when the verb takes place in the future relative to a verb that is in the past. Some examples and counter-examples:

    He says, "I will do it". He says he will do it. He said, "I will do it". He said he would do it.

    In five hours, he will be writing his final examination. That Tuesday he would be writing his examination five hours after he had lunch with Mary.

    By the time John comes, we will have been playing tennis for an hour. By the time John came, we would have been playing tennis for an hour.

    In your sentence, his return and your happiness are simultaneous, so there is no future in the past. Furthermore, "as long as" is not a timing mark, but a logical condition of necessity, equivalent to "only if".
    Last edited by abaka; 26-Jun-2012 at 08:50. Reason: More careful phrasing, more examples

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