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    #1

    sequence of tense

    Hi! teachers.
    The question is as follows.

    A:My friend will arrive here tomorrow.
    B:I thought she ( ) today.
    1. has been coming 2. will come
    3. has come 4. was coming

    The book says the answer is 2.
    But I think 2 should be "would come" because of sequence of tense like "I thought he would go with us".
    please give me your explanation.

    thanks!
    Last edited by Grinkl; 17-Jan-2008 at 19:09.

  1. Grablevskij's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: sequence of tense

    Today is not finished yet, therefore we can use present of future.

    But I would say 'is coming'.

    Michael

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    #3

    Re: sequence of tense

    I think your book is wrong.

    I would say: "I thought she would come today," or "I thought she was coming today."

    I can't imagine hearing a native English speaker say, "I thought she will come today."


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    #4

    Re: sequence of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I think your book is wrong.

    I would say: "I thought she would come today," or "I thought she was coming today."

    I can't imagine hearing a native English speaker say, "I thought she will come today."
    I am much obliged to you for your kind explanation.^^
    Last edited by Grinkl; 18-Jan-2008 at 17:26.


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    #5

    Re: sequence of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Grablevskij View Post
    Today is not finished yet, therefore we can use present of future.

    But I would say 'is coming'.

    Michael
    Thank you so much for your expanation. but I think it is grammatically wrong,
    and conversationally right(?).

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    #6

    Re: sequence of tense

    "I thought she will come today."

    Sorry, but if English speakers never say it, it is, by definition, not correct or grammatical.

    A language cannot have a "rule" that no one obeys. There may be English speakers who use these combination of tenses, but I've never heard them speak or read their writings.


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    #7

    Re: sequence of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinkl View Post
    Thank you so much for your expanation. but I think it is grammatically wrong,
    and conversationally right(?).
    You may be confused, Grinkl, because you are under the impression that there actually is a set of rules called "the sequence of tenses". Those were false prescriptions that do not describe how English works.


    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

    Converting into indirect reported speech, however, is not a matter of applying rules of grammar that are specific to this purpose.

    [page 154-155]

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    #8

    Re: sequence of tense

    We do not see any problem when we say ‘He knew that the earth is round.’ The reason for that is ‘the earth is round’ expresses an eternal or universal truth or something that’s true at all times (Fowler et. al., 2007; MacFadyen, 2007; Feigenbaum, 1985; Wren et. al., 1966; Penn et. al., 1963). This sentence demonstrates clearly one of the 2 or 3 exceptions (Feigenbaum, 1985; Wren et. al., 1966) in the sequence of tenses that the verb in a subordinate clause generally follows the same sense, tense or mood as the main clause (Eastwood, 1994; Wren et. al., 1966).

    There’s an additional rule that says we should suspense the sequence of tenses & retain the original tense in reported speech when it’s clear the circumstances or content have not changed & still apply since the original statement/question or reporting situation (Greenbaum, 2000; Parrott, 2000). This somehow unfortunately leads to the belief that sequence of tenses doesn’t exist or is a ‘myth’.

    In many cases, we recognize that both tenses can be used with no difference or a slight difference in meaning. In the sequence of tenses, we can have ‘normal’ vs ‘vivid’ sequence of tenses (Burchfield), ‘natural’ & ‘attracted’ sequence (Penn). We could stress the continued validity of the idea by maintaining the original verb tense or we could backshift it to emphasize its narrative quality (Perelman et. al., 2007).

    The value of properly sequencing verb tenses can’t be over stressed; it shouldn’t be dismissed altogether (Perelman; Troyka, 1999).

    I think most of us, as Mykwyner mentioned, wouldn’t have any problem with ‘I thought she would come today.’ But when it comes to sentence like ‘I thought she will come today.’ (Book answer as Grinkl indicated) I like to quote, “The waters are deep and muddy, however.” (Burchfield, 2000). Ordinarily I would prefer to see the past time in the sub clause in this case and I believe most will. But the rule of ‘unchanging circumstances’ to emphasize the continuing validity (The day is not over and B’s belief is still valid) does allow ‘I thought she will come today.’ to stand and be acceptable, as Grablevskij suggested.
    .


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    #9

    Re: sequence of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    You may be confused, Grinkl, because you are under the impression that there actually is a set of rules called "the sequence of tenses". Those were false prescriptions that do not describe how English works.
    Thank you for your advice.


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    #10

    Re: sequence of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    "I thought she will come today."

    Sorry, but if English speakers never say it, it is, by definition, not correct or grammatical.

    A language cannot have a "rule" that no one obeys. There may be English speakers who use these combination of tenses, but I've never heard them speak or read their writings.
    Thank you again.^.^

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