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correct verb

 
 
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:58 am
You should have asked him if he is/was coming tomorrow.

Which is the correct verb?

Many thanks.
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Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 1,495 • Replies: 26
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 11:16 am
I think English-speakers might say either one--i would probably use "is" in preference.
tanguatlay
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 11:29 am
@Setanta,
Thanks, Setanta.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 12:21 pm
I'd agree with Set, either one, tho I think I'd probably say "was" so that it agrees with "have asked" timewise .
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 04:48 pm
@MontereyJack,
Quote:
... tho I think I'd probably say "was" so that it agrees with "have asked" timewise.


"have asked" denotes no time, MJ. It's connected with 'should' and it's irrealis.
Does 'was' agree with 'tomorrow'?

0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 09:02 pm
The sentence has a lot of elision. "should hav e asked" is some form of a past tense, and the "was" is essentially a short form of something like "was planning to come tomorrow" and everyone would understand it as such. If you're going to be pedantic about it, "is" wouldn't work either, since we're talkingh abojut future action, and so you'd have to say something like "You should have asked if he will come tomorrow". But the way English she is spoke, tense usage is much more flexible than that.
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:31 pm
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
The sentence has a lot of elision.


I don't see any in that sentence, MJ.

You should have asked him if he is/was coming tomorrow.

Quote:
"should have asked" is some form of a past tense, and the "was" is essentially a short form of something like "was planning to come tomorrow" and everyone would understand it as such.


There is no past tense in the sentence at all. "should have asked" is an unrealized action, sort of a wish that the speaker wishes the listener had done.

There's a strong theme that runs thru Strunk & White type grammar and that is that "tenses" have to match, but that is/was simply more arrant nonsense from those two grammatical incompetents. English does not have any specific rules relating to Concord of Tenses.

Quote:
If you're going to be pedantic about it, "is" wouldn't work either, since we're talking about future action, and so you'd have to say something like "You should have asked if he will come tomorrow". But the way English she is spoke, tense usage is much more flexible than that.


It isn't 'is' alone, it's 'is + verb + ing' which is frequently used for describing the future. That's another bit of nonsense from the S&W era, that 'will' is the future tense of English.

English has no future tense but it has a multitude of ways to describe future events.

need to
be going to
will
would
may
might
shall
should
can
could
want to
have to must
be + verb[ing]
be about to
[more I can't recall now]



JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:40 pm
@JTT,
We even use the past tense FORM for a future, MJ.

Did you want something to eat?

I was wondering if you could ...

These are uses of the past tense FORM to effect a more distant, and therefore more indirect manner of speaking.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 11:58 pm
I do have to differ. "Should have asked" definitely refers to an uncompleted action that the listener should have done BEFORE the time of speaking--circumstances might make it impossible now, for example, say if the "him" was no longer around to be asked. In other words, the listener had an opportunity to ask sometime before now, but didn't take it. It certainly contrasts with "you should ask", which covers the present and the future, but not the past. "Should have asked definitely is a form of a past tense, therefore.
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 12:02 am
Certainly there are future tenses in English--they are just often not formed by conjugating the verb, but by employing a helper word, like "will". Doesn't mean it's not future, just means we don't do it like Latin
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 11:06 am
@MontereyJack,
Quote:
Doesn't mean it's not future, ...


I agreed and I agree with this point, MJ. It's definitely the future, it's just that it's not constructive to call a few limited forms the future tense when there are so many ways of signaling the future.



0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 11:13 am
@MontereyJack,
Quote:
that the listener should have done BEFORE the time of speaking-


That 'should' is but one person's opinion. Modals are highly personal, they are a reflection of individual preferences, opinions on social issues and on conceptions of certainty.

Quote:
In other words, the listener had an opportunity to ask sometime before now, but didn't take it.


That's right, "didn't take it". Had they taken it, there would have been a past action, ie. "I asked him/her".

Quote:
It certainly contrasts with "you should ask", which covers the present and the future, but not the past.


"You should ask, you know that" which entails "you should always ask", which envelops past, present and future.


JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 01:25 pm
@JTT,
I said;

Quote:
"You should ask, you know that" which entails "you should always ask", which envelops past, present and future.


To be clear,

"You should ask, you know that" which can entail "you should always ask", which does, in those situations, envelope past, present and future.

0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 05:38 pm
Ah, JTT, but there is a past INACTION, which is, linguistically speaking, the same as a past action. It is a past event, even if it is a non-event. "Should have asked" is definitely a past tense verb form describing something not done in the past. It would seem by your criterion that "Nelson did not lose the Battle of Trafalgar" is not a past tense form because it refers to something that never happened. I don't believe that's linguistically supportable. One could then say, "if he was going tomorrow", OR "if he is going tomorrow", OR "if he will be going tomorrow" OR "if he will go tomorrow". Set and I both agreed that either of the first two forms worked. It also, in the interim, occurredto me that the future will also work. To the extent they are different, "if he was going tomorrow" has a tinge of a question about what his plans were yesterday (or whenever the person addressed was speaking to him), (and his plans could change), whereas the other forms have more the assumption that his plans, once made, are not going to change. But that difference in possible implication is very slight.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:19 am
@MontereyJack,
Interesting points, MJ.

When did it become a past tense, when it wasn't asked or when the person was slightly admonished for not asking?
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:35 am
When does any verb become a past tense? When it is spoken or written and refers to events before its utterance/writing (and an event does not have to have actually hapened, or you would seriously impede the uses of language if you were to maintain that it actually did have to happen, ).
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:37 am
And your "it" is not the subject of the verb in Tan's sentence, incidentally
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:41 am
@MontereyJack,
MontereyJack, leaving aside the question of why you are named for a cheese variety, why do you cling so obstinately to the belief that idiomatic English should be logical and regular?
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:51 am
Why do you think a screen name has any relevance to the discussion? What makes you think I cling obstinately to the belief that idiomatic English is rational or regular? And what relevance do you think that has to the discussion?
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:53 am
Do try and tell me that "You should have asked" means the same thing as "You should ask" if you maintain there is no tense structure involved.
0 Replies
 
 

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