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.