Using both past and present tenses in one sentence

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I was wondering if this sentence is grammatically correct:

"Yesterday Ann told me that Nick has a football match today"

Is it ok to put it like this? When is it possible to use both past and present tenses in one sentence?

Mike L.

Posted 2016-04-13T10:12:36.110

Reputation: 31

The rules of the sequence of tenses in object clauses are sometimes violated. This occurs in present-time contexts after a past form in the principal clause when reference is made to the actual present time. This is found in dialogues (in plays, novels, stories) and also in newspaper and radio reports. – Violette – 2016-04-13T10:48:35.653

@Violette No rule has been violated in the sentence the OP asks about. – Alan Carmack – 2016-06-12T21:05:18.780

Answers

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I'm not sure on the technical details, but here's how it feels to a native speaker:

The time that the action took place can be completely separated from the action itself. The action is:

Ann told me that Nick has a football match today

and in your question, the time that the action took place is yesterday.

Try replacing yesterday with any other time that makes sense (i.e. any time not in the future).

This morning Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

A week ago Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

On New Year's Eve Ann told me that Nick has a football match today.

You're not mixing tenses, you're placing an action at a specific point in time.

tjp

Posted 2016-04-13T10:12:36.110

Reputation: 441

0

In reported speech, the speaker can use the present tense if he or she believes what is being said is still true. If the game has not yet happened, it is perfectly natural to use the present tense here. It would also be correct if the speaker used the simple past. What would be incorrect would be to use the present tense if the speaker thinks the situation is no longer true, for example the football game is already over.

Alan Carmack

Posted 2016-04-13T10:12:36.110

Reputation: 11 630