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Thread: tenses

  1. #1
    Hanka is offline Senior Member
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    Default tenses

    Hi,

    could you please tell me which of these sentences is correct? Do I need to change the tenses after "informed" and is it possible to say "might have disclosed" when referring to a situation that has not happened yet? Because it is a contract and all the events mentioned therein are future events. I think that 3) and 4) are not correct because "might" and "may" mean basically the same. Or is it possible to use "might" as past tense of "may"?

    1) The company informed the provider that the list of its customers including contact details of their persons, which the company might have dislosed or may disclose to the provider during the performance of this agreement, is considered a trade secret by the company.

    2) The company informed the provider that the list of its customers including contact details of their persons, which the company might have disclosed or might disclose to the provider during the performance of this agreement, was considered a trade secret by the company.

    3) The company informed the provider that the list of its customers including contact details of their persons, which the company might or may disclose to the provider during the performance of this agreement, is considered a trade secret by the company.

    4) The company informed the provider that the list of its customers including contact details of their persons, which the company might or may disclose to the provider during the performance of this agreement, was considered a trade secret by the company.


    Thanks a lot!

    Hanka
    Last edited by Hanka; 22-Nov-2007 at 15:41.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: tenses

    On what you describe, Option 3 is the best one to go with, though I feel you should use either "might" or "may" but not both.

    You can't use "was a trade secret" as that is clearly putting the status of the information in the past, and the contract is referring to current and future matters. The same applies for "might have disclosed", unless there is a possibility that the company has inadvertently already disclosed this information.

  3. #3
    Hanka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: tenses

    So when the contract refers to present or future events, is it not possible to use past tense? Because I asked this question in another thread and was told that it is possible.

    E.g.:

    The contractor shall be obliged to return any materials which the company provided to him. (but in fact the company has not provided the materials yet. The contract just says that this will happen in the future. Do I have to say "which the company provides him"?)

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: tenses

    This is why lawyers make so much money!

    The contractor shall be obliged to return any materials which the company provided to him.

    (but in fact the company has not provided the materials yet. The contract just says that this will happen in the future. Do I have to say "which the company provides him"?)


    #1 Does "materials" refer to concrete materials [bricks etc] or to information?

    #2 "which the company provide/provided/may have provided/had provided to him" - all could be used.

    The situation of the the materials and their provision is essentially in the past, even though the contract is in terms of future action. Provision has to be made for the effect of actions that take place before the termination of the agreement.

  5. #5
    Hanka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: tenses

    To make it clear, does "The contractor shall be obliged to return any materials which the company provided to him." still refer to a future action?

    And if so, would it be possible to rewrite my original sentence as follows?

    The company informed the provider that the list of its customers including contact details of their persons, which the company disclosed or may disclose to the provider during the performance of this agreement, is considered a trade secret by the company. (meaning that the customer list will be disclosed)

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