Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Tense Confusion

  1. #1
    crazyaboutenglish is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    99
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    708
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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....

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    8,896
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tense Confusion

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

  4. #4
    a_vee's Avatar
    a_vee is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Costa Rica
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    92
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    16,297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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.

  6. #6
    crazyaboutenglish is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    99
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tense Confusion

    Thanks everyone!

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Confusion in tense
    By heather s in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 31-Aug-2011, 15:29
  2. My confusion about verbs tense
    By rama511 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27-May-2010, 11:02
  3. [Grammar] Tense confusion
    By undeddy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 06-Jan-2009, 07:23
  4. verb tense confusion
    By kiranlegend in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 24-Aug-2008, 13:43
  5. Tense and meaning confusion.
    By DrJ in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-Jun-2007, 15:27

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk