The time sequence in English (Sequence of Tenses) is very closely related to the indirect speech in English (Reported Speech). And proceeded to the study of one necessarily need knowledge of a second. After approval of the time needed, when we pass to the source, that is, transform direct speech into indirect. For more information on indirect speech can be read in the article «Reported speech in English» in the «Grammar». Terms of tenses in English language will take effect if the verb in the main clause expressed in one of the forms of the past tense. In this case, since the matching rules are observed almost always, with a few exceptions, which will be discussed below.
When abide by the rules of tenses in English?
For example, we need to pass in the form of direct speech indirect, and the verb in the main clause expressed in the past tense. Observe the sequence of tenses in the indirect speech is necessary in the event that the action of the subordinate clause is considered from the perspective of the past.
- If the action in the main and subordinate clauses occur simultaneously, then the predicate in the subordinate clause is necessary form the past simple (Past Simple) or last long (Past Continuous) times. Type the past tense in the main clause in this case is irrelevant.
- If the action in the subordinate clause precedes the action in the main clause, the subordinate clause, we use the past perfect (Past Perfect) or past-quite a long time (Past Perfect Continuous).
- If the action in the subordinate clause refers to a future time, then we use the verb in the same sentence in the form of a simple or the continuation of the future in the past, so-called Future in the Past, or in another form of expression future time.
We saw that he was dancing with this girl. — We have seen that he is dancing with this girl.
I knew that he worked in a foreign company. — I knew that he was working for a foreign company.
Mother said that uncle Tom had come to visit us several days before. — Mom said Uncle Tom came to see us a few days ago.
He asked me if I had been winning more games lately. — He asked me if I did not win the other games recently.
He knew that she would marry this man undoubtedly. — He knew without a doubt that she will marry the man.
She said she was going to do some shopping. — She said she was going to go shopping.
In some cases, do not follow the rules of tenses in English?
If you encounter the following environments, you can not follow the rules of tenses in English.
- The subordinate clause refers to the world-famous truth or fact:
- The subordinate clause has a modal verb must, should, ought to:
- If the speaker refers to the words that have just been told:
- The subordinate clause introduced by the unions when / since, the simple past tense (Past Simple) does not change its shape:
- If the subordinate clause has passed a long time (Past Continuous), it also does not change:
The pupils were told that the Earht moves around the Sun. — Students are told that the Earth revolves around the sun.
I said that I must meet her. — I said that I had to meet her.
Kate: Stay with me, Mark. I will cook something delicious. — Kate: Stay with me, Mark. I’ll make something delicious.
Mark to Elza: Kate said she will cook something delicious. — Mark Elsa: Kate said she will cook something delicious.
I answered that I had not met her since we moved. — I said that I had not seen her since we moved.
Steve said that when he came home his father was watching TV. — Steve said that when he came home, his father was watching TV.
The time sequence in English (sequence of tenses) is a very important feature of the language. And if you want to properly own this foreign language, you need to learn the laws of grammar. Now, test your knowledge by answering the questions following test: