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    #1

    past tense mixed with present tense

    Is there any problem (mixed tenses) with the following sentence?
    "I just knew that he is on leave today."
    When I change it to "I just knew that he was on leave today", it does not sound right as he is still on leave today.

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    #2

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Hello, morning0508.

    I am not a teacher.

    I think you can use mixed tenses in your sentence. What's important is the idea you're trying to convey. As you said, if you use the simple past tense in the second part of you sentence, the meaning will be materially altered.

    I would think the first sentence implies the person in question is on leave all day today. The second sentence suggests that the person in question certainly was on leave earlier today but now it has already finished.

    Thanks

    Richard

  1. Tullia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by morning0508 View Post
    Is there any problem (mixed tenses) with the following sentence?
    "I just knew that he is on leave today."
    When I change it to "I just knew that he was on leave today", it does not sound right as he is still on leave today.

    Try "I just know that he is on leave today" instead. After all, you still know it, so why put that into the past tense?

    Alternatively "I just realised that he is on leave today..." means something slightly different, but is a better example of a mixed tense sentence. You realised in the past (as it's a completed action) but he is on leave in the present.
    Last edited by Tullia; 07-Sep-2010 at 14:58. Reason: clarifying meaning

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    #4

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    Try "I just know that he is on leave today" instead. After all, you still know it, so why put that into the past tense?

    Alternatively "I just realised that he is on leave today" means something slightly different, but is a better example of a mixed tense sentence. You realised in the past (as it's a completed action) but he is on leave in the present.
    "I've just realised..." "I just realised..." is wrong.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by morning0508 View Post
    Is there any problem (mixed tenses) with the following sentence?
    "I just knew that he is on leave today."
    When I change it to "I just knew that he was on leave today", it does not sound right as he is still on leave today.
    "I just knew that he was on leave today", This is correct.

  4. Tullia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "I've just realised..." "I just realised..." is wrong.
    I don't think there's a huge problem with "I just realised".

    I don't think "I have (or I've) just realised" is wrong either, though, it depends on context and the exact reason for saying something.

    "I just realised I was supposed to have brought my passport with me as I walked through the door."
    "I have just realised something! If we feed the cable to the right instead of the left, we will have to use less of it!".

    Or, perhaps more appropriate to the OP's example:

    "I just realised that he is on leave today as I pressed 'send', so I recalled the email and sent it to you instead."

    What do you think? I did say in my first post that the meaning was different to the OPs original example, but I do think it's a better example of a mixed tense sentence.

    EDIT: I've gone back and tried to make my first post clearer.


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    #7

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "I just knew that he was on leave today", This is correct.
    "I just knew that he was on leave today" looks grammatically correct on paper. However, when I use it in a conversation, "he was on leave" sounds like it has been over but I want to convey a message that he is still on leave now.

    Is "I just knew that he was on leave today" used by a native speaker of English in a conversation?

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    #8

    Re: past tense mixed with present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by morning0508 View Post

    Is "I just knew that he was on leave today" used by a native speaker of English in a conversation?
    Yes, it is.

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