Hello, all.

He told me that he believed/believes
She called me because someone destroyed/destroy her garden.

I often saw sentences like these, which the first verb is past tense, then the following verb are present tense, why it can't be a past tense ?

I just saw it on the news

"Obama told reporters on Saturday he believes Muslims have just as much..."

Please advice me, Thanks for all help.
Full Member137
In reported speech, it's never incorrect to backshift.

He told me he liked modern music.

What he actually said was, "I like modern music."

So there's nothing wrong with saying, "He told me he likes modern music."

The tricky thing is that liking or believing something is not an event.

"I just ripped my pants." There's no way you can express this in the present tense.

He told me he just ripped his pants.

She called me because someone destroyed/destroy her garden.

The only reason you can't use "destroy" is that it's not 3rd person singular.

The neighbor's dog destroys my garden every day.

She called me because someone is destroying her garden.

She called me because the maid destroys / destroyed her garden by over watering it.
In this sentence, the present tense describes habitual behavior.
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lokonHe told me that he believed/believes ...
...

I just saw it this on the news:

"Obama told reporters on Saturday he believes Muslims have just as much..."He believes it as an unchanging part of his character. That makes it something like "a timeless truth", so the present is fine. What people believe is generally fairly unchanging, so when the verb believe is in a subordinate clause, you can often use the present even if the introductory clause is in the past.

Jake told me that he believes his wife is cheating on him.
Sandra said that Laura believes everything she reads on the internet.
George told us that he believes that Mozart was the greatest composer of the 18th century.
____________

If the subject of the belief is historical, you can't do this, of course.

During the 19th century many Americans said that they believed that slavery was a good thing.

CJ
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lokonShe called me because someone destroyed/destroy her garden.
destroy is not correct here. I don't see any easy way of putting the subordinate clause in the present.

CJ

Edit: On the other hand, I see that Avangi used "is destoying", which works fine. I would assume in that case that the destroying process is still continuing, if only sporadically, at the time the statement is uttered.

CJ
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