can u tell me the difference in usage between the two sentences below? I saw this from the clip of old Johnny Carson's tv show. Maybe some of you might have seen this footage,the host was Johnny Carson and the guest(don't know who he was) throws an axe to the wall which has a human drawing on it,for some reason,the axe ends up in the "private area". Audience laughs and Johnny Carson says,"i don't know you were jewish. "
#1 was exactly what I heard on the show.
1. i don't know you were jewish.
2. i don't know you are jewish.
I didn't know you are Jewish- Here, you will continue to be Jewish, so I use the present tense to show that. I would use this when talking to an acqauitance and had just learned their religion.
I didn't know you were Jewish- In the show, this makes perfect sense because the person may well not be Jewish- it's just a reference to circumcision.