Which is the correct tense: “earth was/is round”?

Maybe it’s very simple but I’m wondering which one is correct. Google search has showed me both forms are used. “He said the earth was round.” “He said the earth is round.” Answer Both the sentences are correct. It depends on what context and which tense you are using it. For example: Past tense: Aristotle … Read more

Conditional clause

Yo, is this sentence correct? It’s hard to find a guide that speaks directly to this use of the subjunctive: I realized that this issue needed more active contemplation, were I to find any closure. More simply it’d be: I realized that, were I to find any closure, active contemplation was needed. Answer Only backshifting, … Read more

Should go/will go/will be going?

This question was in a test so please choose one of the answers given in the question. The coach said that they _________ to the gym every day next week to get in shape for the tournament game. 1) should go 2) will go 3) will be going According to the answer key, the answer … Read more

Tenses – Reported speech WITHIN a conditional clause

If we would like to express a conditional statement about a present fact as in "Can you go outside today? – I don’t know yet, I need my parents’ approval first" Are these sentences correct? If James asked his friend if she could go outside, she would tell him she needs her parents’ approval first. … Read more

Does “could” always mean something less likely than “can”, even in backshifted subordinate clauses?

Does the could version always show more uncertainty/doubt than the can version in each of ⑴, ⑵, and ⑶? You can/could get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. You can/could get into even worse trouble if you’re not careful. Bobby Reynolds did not win at Wimbledon on Thursday, or did he? The … Read more

Persisting tense backshifting in the “i’d rather” hypothetical

Today I was discussing something with my boss and I said the following sentence: I’d rather we experimented with things we haven’t tried yet I said that as a response to an idea of reusing an old piece of tech for our next project. I’m wondering whether this is correct considering the past tense in … Read more

Present perfect vs. Past perfect tense used in newspaper story

I’ve been asking a lot about backshifting of tenses for quite some time and I have come across many articles/blogs where this so-called rule is not always followed unlike notable grammar books. For example : Asked about an update on the condition of three Indians including two teachers, abducted near war-torn Libya and held hostage … Read more

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

I have a basic grammar question about the past tense. If I met a guy yesterday, which tense should I use about his name today? For example, “Yesterday I met a guy, his name is/was John.” Answer Either is possible. In my personal opinion it comes down to context. Was this a fleeting acquaintance or … Read more

Grammar: Did Jim ask you whether you are a virgin? VS Did Jim ask you whether you were a virgin?

How do I form a question based on the following details: At 1pm on Sunday Jim: Are you a virgin? Jane: Yes nothing happened from 1pm to 9pm At 9pm on Sunday: Did Jim ask you whether you were a virgin? or At 9pm on Sunday: Did Jim ask you whether you are a virgin? … Read more