Mixed Tenses

Hypothetical situations in mixed time frames

hungry dog
 

 

Past Events Affect Present Situations

REAL SITUATION

When a cause-effect situation occurs in different time frames, it can be stated as a fact.  past ⇒ present.

You did not feed the dog, so the dog is hungry now.  

You fed the dog, so the dog isn't hungry now.  (She is content.)

The dog couldn't go outside, so the dog peed on the floor.

The dog went outside, so the dog didn't pee on the floor.

The dog didn't go outside, so the dog is peeing on the floor now.

HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

The same situation can be stated hypothetically with an implied meaning of regret or praise.

If you had fed the dog, she wouldn't be hungry now.  (regret)

If you hadn't fed the dog, she would be hungry now. Thank you!  (praise) 

If the dog had gone outside, she wouldn't have peed on the floor.  (regret)

If the dog hadn't gone outside, she would have peed on the floor.  (praise)

If the dog had gone outside, she would wouldn't be peeing on the floor now.  (regret)
 

 

pee (informal) –urinate

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Tense Hypothetical Statements

General Truth

 

 

 

General Truth

EXISTING TRUTH

The present or past tense can be used when adding a clause that expresses something that is still true.  (Keeping all tenses in the past time frame is more formal.)

If I had known (that) your dog is aggressive,  I wouldn't have offered to feed it. (noun clause – existing truth – The dog was aggressive then and still is now.)

If we had gone to the cafe (that) is outdoors, we would have gotten wet in the rain.   (modifying clause – existing truth – The cafe was and still is outdoors.)

If I had known the size (that) you wear, I would have bought you a coat.   (modifying clause – existing truth then and now)

If I had known (that) your brother is / was so competitive, I wouldn't have offered to race him.  (noun clause – existing truth then and now)

PAST / EARLIER TRUTH

The past or past perfect is used when adding a clause with a statement that is in a temporary-past or earlier-past time frame.

If I had known (that) your dog was ill,  I would have offered to help it. (noun clause – past truth – The dog was ill at that time.)

If we had gone to the concert (that) was outdoors, we would have gotten wet in the rain.   (modifying clause – past truth – The concert was there, but is not now.)

If I had known the size (that) you wore, I would have bought you a coat.   (modifying clause – past truth – You used to wear that size, but do not now.)

If I had known (that) your brother had been an Olympic runner, I wouldn't have offered to race him.  (noun clause – earlier past truth – He was an Olympic runner.)

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Pet Problems

 

 

 

Mixed Tense Hypothetical Sentences

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the answer by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-8" button.

 

1.
dog pushing chairYour office chair has wheels, so the dog is pushing the chair around the room.



2.
dog on counterThe dog learned how to push the chair next to the kitchen counter. As a result, the dog is walking on the kitchen counter now! 



3.
cats everywhereYou did not neuter your cat, so now there are too many kittens.


so many kittens here now.

neuter (v.) – to remove an animal's ability to reproduce

4.
waiting dogsYou left your dogs at home alone all day, so they are begging you for a walk now.



5.
goats looseSomeone left the gate open, so now the goats are loose!  (outside of their pen)



6.
goat and kidThere was a sufficient amount of rain this spring, so now there is enough grass for the farm animals to eat.



7.
kittenYou didn't play with your cat earlier today.
Your cat is sulking.
(upset)



8.
naughty dogYou didn't socialize your dog at an early age, so now your dog barks at all the other dogs on the beach.




socialize (v.) – accustom it to other animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Animal Conditions

 

 

 

Verb Tense in Conditional Sentences with Clauses

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the answer by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 9-15" button.

 

9.
sea lion

on board - on the boat

10.
selecting a dog

11.
giant tortoise

12.
hungry dog


whine - make high-pitch, complaining sounds


13.
penguin on rocks

14.
pelican at fish market

15.
sea lions on beach