Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Indonesian
      • Home Country:
      • Indonesia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 54
    #1

    Past-Present confusion

    Which one is correct?

    Tom turns 18 next year.

    You should have known that Tom is still underage. You shouldn't have offered him a drink last night.

    Or,

    You should have known that Tom was still underage. You shouldn't have offered him a drink last night.

    Thank you
    Last edited by RobertT; 13-Oct-2010 at 05:53.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Oriya
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 2,121
    #2

    Exclamation Re: Past-Present confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertT View Post
    Which one is correct?

    Tom turns 18 next year.

    You should have known that Tom is still underage. You shouldn't have offered him a drink last night.
    Use of the simple present tense (Tom is still underage) to talk about present age of Tom, is perfectly correct.

    Or,

    You should have known that Tom was still underage. You shouldn't have offered him a drink last night.

    Thank you
    Skp

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Indonesian
      • Home Country:
      • Indonesia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 54
    #3

    Re: Past-Present confusion

    Could you explain why it is correct?

    By saying "You should have known" implies a past-tense sense, so why is the sentence perfectly fine?

    Thank you

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Oriya
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 2,121
    #4

    Exclamation Re: Past-Present confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertT View Post
    Could you explain why it is correct?

    By saying "You should have known" implies a past-tense sense, so why is the sentence perfectly fine?

    Thank you
    Yes, should is used to talk about situations seen from the perspective of an earlier time and in conditional form the ‘if clause’ followed by the main clause, must be in past tense, as:
    You should have known if Tom was still underage
    But this is not necessarily so in reported speech, where listeners tend to interpret should in the sense of ought to(Idiomatic use). So when the matter refers to now/present situation, use of present tense is appropriate.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Indonesian
      • Home Country:
      • Indonesia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 54
    #5

    Re: Past-Present confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    Yes, should is used to talk about situations seen from the perspective of an earlier time and in conditional form the ‘if clause’ followed by the main clause, must be in past tense, as:
    You should have known if Tom was still underage
    But this is not necessarily so in reported speech, where listeners tend to interpret should in the sense of ought to(Idiomatic use). So when the matter refers to now/present situation, use of present tense is appropriate.
    From what I have learned the past form of "should" is "should have". So by saying "should have", am I not referring to the past even in reported speech?

    If "should have" were used to refer to the present, then there would be no difference at all between "should" and "should have".

Similar Threads

  1. past and present confusion
    By ongshang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2010, 13:05
  2. Confusion between past simple and past perfect
    By kindaichiXXX in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-Nov-2008, 06:36
  3. present simple confusion
    By diplomacy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-May-2007, 02:52
  4. present perfect confusion
    By diplomacy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-May-2007, 09:35
  5. present perfect confusion again....
    By endeavor6636 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Jul-2006, 10:11

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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