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  1. rainous's Avatar
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    #1

    consistency in verb tense

    Jenny suddenly confessed her love to me, saying even though it was understandable that I liked meeting girls due to my sexual orientation, she wanted to show me what true love was since I had never had a chance to experience it due to my psychiatric problem.

    Hi,

    I've been wondering, when explaining about things happened in the past, if I absolutely have to maks sure every verb involved is in past voice because when i do, it sounds a bit awkward to me (I don't know why).

    IN the sentence above, regarding the verbs "was" which I underlined,
    It just seems to sound better to me if I put "is" instead. But I am not sure whether it's ok or not.

    Could anyone elucidate on that please?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: consistency in verb tense

    We backshift in reported speech if the situation reported is no longer true. If the situation reported is no longer true, backshifting is not obligatory.

    Mary: "I am going to Rome tomorrow."

    Mary told me last Wednesday that she was going to Rome the next day.
    Mary told me this morning that she is/was going to Rome tomorrow.


    It is important to be consistent - don't backshift some tenses and not others. Your paragraph can be:

    Jenny suddenly confessed her love to me, saying even though it is understandable that I like meeting girls, due to my sexual orientation, she wants to show me what true love is, since I have never had ...

    or:

    Jenny suddenly confessed her love to me, saying even though it was understandable that I liked meeting girls, due to my sexual orientation, she wanted to show me what true love was, since I had never had ...

    The first is more likely if the conversation is reported soon after it took place. The longer the time between the conversation and the reporting, the more likely we are to use the secomd..

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: consistency in verb tense

    This famous "rule" that all the verbs in one sentence have to be in the same tense is a myth. No-one on this forum seems to be quite sure where it came from but learners need to be aware that while the majority of verbs in a relatively short statement will probably be in a consistent tense, the context always dictates the tense and a variety of tenses is possible.

    Look at my piece above, in which I have underlined every verb. Are they all in the same tense?

  4. rainous's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: consistency in verb tense

    By the way, you guys get paid for doing this?

    Because you should!!!

    Thanks tons!

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: consistency in verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by rainous View Post
    By the way, you guys get paid for doing this?
    If only!

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