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Thread: Tense Confusion

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    #1

    Tense Confusion

    Hi,

    I wrote a sentence today and my friend told me it not is correct:-

    "They told me how I can found a good place to live."

    She said "found" should be "find" but I don't understand why. I'm talking in the past tense "told". But then "can" is the present. I'm confused.

    Can anyone help me?

    Thanks

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Tense Confusion

    Better to say :"They told me how I could find a good place to live."
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    #3

    Re: Tense Confusion

    The "telling" is in the past, but the "finding" is not.

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    #4

    Re: Tense Confusion

    This looks like an indirect quotation, so what "they" said is "you can find a good place to live by... etc.". It's sort of repeating what they said, and they spoke in the present originally. That's why can is in the present, I think. It is just because of the way "they" originally said it.

    Auxiliary "Can" will remove the conjugation from a verb that it is cooperating with, and leave you with a basic verb.

    Here are some examples:

    She runs on Mondays.
    She does not run on Saturdays.
    They said ,"She does not run on Saturdays." < exact, direct quotation
    They said she doesn't run on Saturdays. < approximate, indirect quotation

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    #5

    Re: Tense Confusion

    After a modal (can, could, would, should)l, use the main form of the verb - the "to X" version but without the "to."
    With the verb "to find" it's just find, and won't change with person either.

    He can find
    She could find
    You would find
    etc.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Tense Confusion

    Thanks everyone!

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