English

Tenses used in a sentence follow each other in accordance with some rules and principles. The sequence of tenses is the principle in accordance with which the tense of the verb in the subordinate clause follows the tense of the verb in the principal clause.

This means that the tense in the subordinate clause is suited to the tense of the principal clause.

Rules for the usage of tenses of the verbs of subordinate clause:-

1. If the verb in the principal clause is in the present or the future tense, the verb in the subordinate clause may be in any tense - present, past or future, according to the sense to be expressed.

Exceptions: If the subordinate clause is an adjective clause, any tense required by the sense may be used.

2. A past tense in the principal clause is followed by a past tense in the subordinate clause.

Exceptions:

a) A past tense in the principal clause may be followed by a present tense in the subordinate clause expressing a universal truth or some habitual fact.

b) When the subordinate clause is introduced by then, even if there is a past tense in the principal clause, it may be followed by any tense required by the sense in the subordinate clause

3. When the subordinate clause is an adverb clause expressing place, reason or comparison, even if there is a past tense in the principal clause, it may be followed by any tense required by sense in the subordinate clause.

4. If the subordinate clause is an adjective clause, any tense required by the sense may be used.

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