Friday, April 28, 2017

can't → couldn't

The university in China told me that it can't......(dependent clause)
can't → couldn't

It appears that the verb can't in the dependent clause uses the wrong tense. Consider changing it to the past or past perfect tense.

When the main verb of a sentence is in the past tense (told), the verb in a dependent clause is usually in the past tense (when the two events happen at the same time) or in the past perfect tense (when the dependent clause action happened first).

The present tense may be used in the dependent clause if it is describing a universal truth.

Incorrect:
I knew what she has said.

Correct:
I knew what she had said.

Incorrect:
We thought he will be happy about the news.

Correct:
We thought he would be happy about the news.

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