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    #1

    Tense and relative clauses

    1. I wish the police gave me the address of the woman who found my wallet.

    2. I wish the police had given me the address of the woman who found my wallet.

    3. I wish the police had given me the address of the woman who had found my wallet.

    4. I wish the police gave me the address of the woman who had found my wallet.

    Struggling to explain why we can write this sentence in different ways. In my understanding, example two cannot be accepted since the past perfect use suggests that the police were somehow I possession of the address of the woman who would go to find the speaker's wallet. But with different content, it seems more acceptable:

    5. I wish I had introduced you to the woman who lived next door to me.

    Is it something to do with the relative clause being deemed a complete unit in description of the woman and so is not necessarily affected by tense?

    Any thoughts at all are much appreciated.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Tense and relative clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by gyvermac View Post
    1. I wish the police gave me the address of the woman who found my wallet.

    2. I wish the police had given me the address of the woman who found my wallet.

    3. I wish the police had given me the address of the woman who had found my wallet.

    4. I wish the police gave me the address of the woman who had found my wallet.
    We cannot write the sentence in those different ways. Number 2 is correct and the other three are not.

    But since you are a native speaker and an English teacher, perhaps you should be telling us why that is so.

    Or perhaps we could help you better if you were honest about your native language and current circumstances.

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