Definition of sequence of tenses in US English:

sequence of tenses


  • The dependence of the tense of a subordinate verb on the tense of the verb in the main clause (e.g. I think that you are wrong; I thought that you were wrong).

    • ‘One might argue that Strabo's loose grammar allows us to ignore a strict translation of the sequence of tenses and consider alternatives.’
    • ‘You missed out on the sequence of tenses here, since a future can't be a secondary tense when the main verb is perfect.’
    • ‘The theme of repetition recurs, but this time it is the repetition of the sequence of tenses throughout the text.’
    • ‘The past tense does nothing but continue the sequence of tenses, and so the unfolding of events.’


sequence of tenses