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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Here is a grammar error that usually confuses me - Do all verbs in a sentence have to agree in terms of their tenses? I'll give you an example:

    We were trying to find a hotel which is close to the park.

    "were" is past tense, whereas "is" is present tense, so is the "is" incorrect? If so, then what if I did this:

    We were trying to find a hotel which was close to the park.

    Wouldn't this suggest that the hotel used to be close to the park but is no longer there? Because if you separate the clause and make it independent, you get:

    The hotel was close to the park.

    Obviously, I'm trying to say that we were finding a hotel in the past, but the hotel should still be close to the park in the present. Which way is, or how can it be worded correctly to reflect this meaning?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    I would use 'was', and I don't think it suggests the hotel is no longer there because the sentence refers to the past, but I am not a teacher.
    I think 'which was' can simply be omitted, i.e. 'We were trying to find a hotel close to the park'.

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    #3

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    I think there are cases where the present tense (is) works together with the simple past tense but this is not one of them.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quasar View Post
    We were trying to find a hotel which is close to the park.

    We were trying to find a hotel which was close to the park.
    Both are possible. If we say 'The hotel was close to the park' we understand from the context that the speaker is thinking of the whole past-time situation. We would not assume that the hotel is no longer there.
    Last edited by Piscean; 10-Sep-2015 at 12:54. Reason: typo corrected

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    the hotel is longer there.
    I think Piscean should pay more attention to typos, but I am not a teacher.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    To answer the first question: No, a sentence does not have to have the same tense throughout. This was never a rule, is not a rule, and (probably) never will be a rule.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think Piscean should pay more attention to typos, but I am not a teacher.
    I will not say what I think Matthew should do, perhaps because I am a teacher..

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    #8

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    OP's sentence was "'to find a hotel which is/was..", not "to find the hotel..".
    I am not a teacher.

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, a sentence does not have to have the same tense throughout.
    I think the following can be an example, but I am not a teacher.
    'We were trying to find a hotel close to the park that will be changed to a parking lot next month.'

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I will not say what I think Matthew should do, perhaps because I am a teacher..
    I had to think hard for a long time before I could discover it was meant to be sarcastic, perhaps because I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Multiple tenses in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I had to think hard for a long time before I could discover it was meant to be sarcastic, perhaps because I am not a teacher.

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