Things that are going to happen in the past

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Hello, I wonder if someone could help me.

 

How do you write about things that could or are going to happen in the past?

 

For example: "It crossed his mind that he might push him out of the tree."

 

"push" seems out of place because it isn't past tense.

 

I used to think putting "have" in somewhere would fix the sentence, but that makes it sound like it has already happened.

 

For example: "It crossed his mind that he might have pushed him out of the tree."

 

Please help! I'm really confused.

asked Mar 17 at 20:02 Cassie New member

1 answer


1

Yes, this is tricky and seemingly a bit illogical.

I think your original sentence is find: "It crossed his mind that he might push him out of the tree."  You mention using a form of "have," and if you do, then it belongs on the other verb, as in "It had crossed his mind that he might push him out of the tree."  Using "had" changes the verb tense from simple past ("crossed") to past perfect ("had crossed"), and past perfect indicates an action that was completed in the past.  This implies that the idea had crossed his mind but dismissed the idea.

link comment answered Mar 18 at 01:06 Dr. G Contributor

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