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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Singapore
      • Current Location:
      • Singapore

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 7
    #1

    Can I use a past and a present tense in the same sentence?

    Dear,

    I would like to know whether I could use a past tense "were" and a present tense "are" in the same sentence. The following describes a past situation on last month when the staff could not use other printers when their own one broke down. The other printers are no longer in the common utility room from the past occurrence until today. When I construct a sentence about the past occurrence today, which of the following sentence must I use? Or, both sentences can be used, depending on how I look at it.

    1. The staff were left with no choice as other printers were no longer in the common utility area.
    2. T
    he staff were left with no choice as other printers are no longer in the common utility area.

    Thank you.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #2

    Re: Can I use a past and a present tense in the same sentence?

    I would use only #1.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Jul 2015
    • Posts: 9,980
    #3

    Re: Can I use a past and a present tense in the same sentence?

    I agree with Mike about your sentence. However, there is no general restriction on the mixing of tenses in a sentence as long as they make sense:

    My boss knows that I left work early yesterday.
    I have lived on my own since my wife died.
    George is hoping he will be able to retire soon.

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