This decision is / was what I made.


1) This present is / was what I wanted to give you.

2) This decision is / was what I made.


This question is about tense agreement and I think that was here is natural, but I am not sure about it, so I need your help. Is there a meaning difference between the two sentence?


What do you native English speakers think?


Thank you so much as usual and have a good day.

asked Sep 02 '13 at 18:14 Hans Contributor

2 answers


Posting here as well in case they delete the other post for double-posting:


If you are only asking about is/was, then it has to be "was" because your subject complement is past tense--made.


Correctly put, your question is actually a matter of preference, not requirement:

"The decision is/was what I am making/made."


When you chose the past-tense subject complement, you were required to choose a past-tense verb.

"The decision is/(was) what I am making/(made)."

link comment edited Sep 02 '13 at 18:19 Aaron Prejean Expert

I believe that you can mix the tenses, depending on when things are occuring (or did occur.)  Let's say that your birthday was last week.  I wanted to get you a certain present but could not for some reason.  I didn't want to go to your birthday party without a gift, so I got something else.  Now, a week later, I was able to purchase the gift and I am presenting to you at this moment.  I might say, "This present IS what I WANTED to give you last week." 

link answered Sep 02 '13 at 19:14 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Very true! The demonstrative pronoun "this" in sentence two allows for a gift being presently given with past intent to give in the subject complement!I am not sure why I changed "this" to "the" in my analysis--was the question changed?Nice catch!

Aaron PrejeanSep 02 '13 at 19:49

Thank you both and I got your point and then, "This present WAS what I WANTED to give you last week." is wrong because of the this or it does not matter and what matters is speakers' views?

HansSep 03 '13 at 13:01

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