Tense Concord?

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The following is what I uploaded to an online forum. I was asking if there might be an adjective for the noun 'limp.'

Anyhow ... I'm not asking the same question in this message, but rather about my use of verbs. I couldn't decide whether I should use the past tense here, or the present tense, because I was just to exemplify a type of person, rather than describe someone that I actually met, but the tense concord theory was hanging over me. Eventually I was swayed a lot by the theory here, and used the past tense. How different is one set (ran, had, had permanently damaged) from the other (run, has, has permanently damaged)?

... At the back of my mind, I think I was thinking of someone I ran into dragging one leg either because he had a light gout attack (which only lasts a short time), or because he had permanently damaged it, for instance. I guess I wanted to inquire for an adjective that might fit in 'What happened? You look a bit ___. Are you okay?', which I might ask, having genuine sympathies, and, if asking that might hurt his feelings, purely ignorant of his ailment/disorder. It would be dangerous, I know, because this sort of thing involves a politically correct choice of words. ...

Hiro
Regular Member770
HSSAt the back of my mind, I think I was thinking of someone I ran into dragging one leg either because he had a light gout attack (which only lasts a short time), or because he had permanently damaged it, for instance.

Just as an aside, I think it should be 'because he had had a light gout attack'
Senior Member2,871
Yes, I totally agree. Sorry, I can't edit my first message any more. It's a bit too late.

Could someone please help me see if I should use one or the other set of verbs?

Hiro
Past tense seems natural to me.
Veteran Member92,262
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Thanks, Mister Mcawber. Is that even if I was merely talking about an exmaple, not a fact?

Hiro
I'm talking about the context you supplied. Whether or not the verb of the dependent clause regresses with the main verb depends on register and style as well as the meta-temporal truth of the clause, so I cannot give you a simple rule-like answer to your question.
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Oh, okay, Mister MicawberEmotion: smile. How about ... Do you think the present tense is possible at all, under a certain limited condition, considering all the possibilities (no explanation needed about the rules)? Ooops, sorry, I'm starting to try to pick out an unlikely small possibility, as usual. I think I should kick the habit.
Do you mean in your text here at the beginning of this thread? I tried reading it over in present tense, and it just sounds odd-- the situation you have set up is so peculiar that it is difficult to think of it as a generic one.
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Thanks, again, Mister Micawber.

I meant run/ has had/ has permanently damaged/ by 'the present tense' (I must have simplified it too much to 'the present tense'). I guess this sounds odd .... Doesn't it?

I think I was thinking of someone I run into dragging one leg either because he has had a light gout attack (which only lasts a short time), or because he has permanently damaged it, for instance.

Hiro
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