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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    sequence of tense

    On my grammar book, it says: When the verb in the main clause is in the past or past perfect tense, the verb in the subordinate cluase must also be past or past perfect. Here is the example: The researchers discovered that people varied widely in their knowledge of public events. The first verb in its past form is in the main clause, and the second verb in the subordinate clause is also changed to past form. But what if people still vary widely in their knowledge nowadays. It is still true. Then, should we keep its present tense or changed to past tense. Will the readers think people only varied in the past? Same problem here: If I want to say a sentence: I was going to say that when I went/go(?) to school every day, ……. Here should i say 'go to school' or 'went to school'? because I mean I go to school every day, which is present tense, and it implies it is still true and still happening, but since I used past tense in the main clause, then what can I do? If I use past tense, will the people that I am talking to think I am talking about going to school in the past?
    I mean according to rules, maybe I should change verbs to past tense, but if according to the definition of 'tense', it means time change. When you talk about present, it happens in present; when it happened in the past, then the action only happened in the past; in future, it is going to happen in the future. It gives the idea to people the relations between action and time. Someone said the 'backshift' is correct but required. (btw, here I am not talking about indirect quotation which includes 'said') Hopefully you can help me out. Thanks a lot.

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Re: sequence of tense

    Is that a tough question? No one answered.

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