Past tense and present tense mixed into one statement--an exception that makes it right?
I know that we should always strive to maintain consistency in the usage of tense when writing. However, I have to believe there must be an exception, here and there. Here's what I mean: "What you wrote is wrong." Of course, someone will say it should say, "What you wrote was wrong." However, can I make the argument that "What you wrote is wrong" is acceptable (even for the scholarly audience bent on grammar correctness) because I want to make the point of highlighting the wrong? I mean, hypothetically, the only reason I'd write, "What you wrote is wrong," is discuss the very contention of the erroneous matter. Please tell me that there exists this exception. I know that generally there are exceptions to such tense-consistency writing--even backshifting--when discussing a universal truth. I want to know that there is an exception to make "What you wrote is wrong" grammtically correct--even to the most pendatic writer. So, please, help--I need experts to instill my confidence in grammatical statements like "What you wrote is wrong." Thanks in advance!
'What you wrote is wrong.' is perfectly acceptable. It was written in the past (wrote), but it 'is' still wrong in the present. You want to be consistent in tense when all of the action occurred at the same time. 'He dived into the water and swims.' is obviously wrong because both actions happened sequentially in the past. 'He dived into the water and is swimming laps.' can be correct because he dived in the past, but he is still swimming.
The mistake I made yesterday will affect me tomorrow.
In this sentence, I did something yesterday, but the result won't happen until the future.
|link||edited Sep 17 '13 at 19:40 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow|
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