Sequence of tenses
The verb tense used in a subordinate clause changes depending on the tense used in the main clause. Here are the basic rules to follow.
|Main clause||Subordinate clause||Example|
|Present or future tense||Any tense; it depends on what is being expressed.||
I think he will be ok.
I think he is ok.
I think he was ok.
|Past tense||Past tense.||
I thought he was ok.
She was there when he arrived.
|Paste tense when expressing general knowledge.||Present tense.||My father told me that honesty is the best policy.|
|Future tense||Present or present perfect tense.||
She will come after you call her.
I’ll clean up after we eat dinner.
I will finish my work after I’ve taken a break.
|Expressions that begin with: if only, wish, it is time||Past or past perfect tense (usually).||
If only I remembered earlier.
I wish she had stayed for dinner.