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      • Philippines
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    • Join Date: Nov 2014
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    trouble with grammar

    Good day everyone!

    I've been really troubled lately. There are times when I get confused as to whether I should use the present or past tense of something especially when my sentences get longer.

    For example,
    If I use this coupon, it will save me 10% of the things I bought/buy.

    I think I use should use "buy" because I used the present tense "use."
    That's what I always think. It needs to be parallel, right?

    But sometimes I remember there are times when the latter part (of the sentence) doesn't need to follow the tense of the former (of the sentence). Sorry I don't know the proper term for that.

    Like for instance,
    She said that she would buy flowers.

    Could you give me the specific keywords to search on Google so I could learn more about this?
    I'm a little confused as to whether to use the present, past or past participle in this case.

    If it's in the past tense, should it always be followed by a past tense too?

    When I try to describe something in the picture. Should it be in the present or past tense?
    Same when i'm narrating something I've seen from a movie. Should I use the past tense?

    I'm sorry for asking a lot of questions. Any help is appreciated.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • Malaysia
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      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Apr 2014
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    Re: trouble with grammar

    Those are common questions which learners would ask.
    You are right about the first sentence.

    As for the second: She said she would buy flowers.
    That is under "reported/indirect" speech. The tense that follows is usually the simple past but the present tense could be used if you are talking about facts.
    There is no hard and fast rule to say you cannot mix tenses in a sentence.
    Narratives could be in the past tense or present tense which convey a sense of immediacy. It is also common for news reporting to be in the present tense.

    It is best that you post specific sentences and ask questions. Do not forget to number the sentences.
    Last edited by tedmc; 19-Apr-2016 at 10:33.
    I am not a teacher.

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