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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Slovak
      • Home Country:
      • Slovak Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Slovak Republic

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
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    past simple question


    I am learning English by myself and I have a question - I was watching the movie Pursuit of Happyness and there was this sentence:

    "I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. And I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children...... my children were gonna know who their father was."

    Here is my question: why is there used just the simple past tense? when he was actually speaking about the future as well?

    I hope you will respond me and answer my question because I donīt know who could me answer better as an english speaking teacher.

    Thank you in advance.

    Best regards


  2. 5jj's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • England
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134

    Re: past simple question

    The normal pattern for future time clauses in English is : When + Present, future form.
    When I have children I am going to [
    or will] spend quality time with them.

    If we report that later, and backshift the tenses, we get:
    He said that when he had children he was going to [or would] spend quality time with them.

    This is what has happened in your example.

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