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For the following question, I did ask my friend who is native speaker once and his answer confuse me.

I asked him:
Can the sentence 'I was wondering maybe you want to go to beach with me while the beach is stilll shine?' Be use because 'was wondering' is past tense and 'want' and 'is' present tense?

He said we could as long as what you speak match up with the context on your mind. Then I asked him:
Can the sentence 'I thought mabe you want to come along with us because the place we go is quite close to your destination.'

And he replied we couldn't because 'I thought is in the past'. And that's what confuses me. Could anyone tell me if we can use present tense words like 'want', 'have', 'are', after the 'was wondering'? If they can be used, why they can't be used in 'I thought' case? What is the difference between using 'I thought' and 'I was wondering'? For me, they are they same because they are both past tense. Was my friend wrong or there was something I had missed?
Comments  
Hi Munchun

"I wonder (if) X", "I'm wondering (if) X", "I wondered (if) X" and "I was wondering (if) X" are all the same. They all means "I hope X" in the present tense. Their difference is the degree of politeness. "I was wondering (if) X" is the politest form.

paco
Paco has it right. This is a special case we may call the 'past of politeness'. You are making a suggestion to your friend about going to the beach. You are trying to influence your friend. With "thought" you are just stating what you thought. No influence over another is implied.
The rules of the sequence of tenses are often relaxed when the tense is used to be polite rather than to show that something really happened in the past.

Usually we say "if" after "wonder". You can say it in any of these ways:

I was wondering if you wanted to go to the beach ...
I was wondering if you want to go to the beach ...
I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go to the beach ...
I was wondering if maybe you want to go to the beach ...

In all four, "whether" may replace "if".

Personally, I use the first in my own conversations.

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Thanks for your reply Paco and CalifJim.Emotion: big smile
Greetings. Your answers have clear some of my doubts but could you tell me are they any past tense special case like 'was wondering' to show politeness insted of what happened?

The second question is, I often hear
a) I thought this is a nude beach.
b) I thought you guys are a team.
c) I thought this church is suppose to be closed on Monday.
instead of:
aii) I thought this was a nude beach.
bii) I thought you guys were a team.
cii) I thought this church was suppose to be closed on Monday.

In order to seek the answer, I went to ask my friend and he told me that both can be used depends on situation. He said he would use sentence a,b, and c if the situation is instantaneous or in short, what is happening. For example, I go to the beach and I see everyone is wearing swim suit so I might use sentence a, if I play football so often and see that two partner who are always in the same team are playing against each other now in opposite team then I might use b, and if I just find out that this church I am seeing is open on Monday which is different from what I know I might use sentence c.

He told me that the ii cases can only be used for remote past like after the event has happened and has finished. Not for the first time you realize there are some different from what you know than from what you see. Taking sentence b for example if the first time you see the partner plays againt each other, b should be used. If after a while other people ask you the same question, you might replay 'I thought they were a team first not before I found out that today they are not.'

Is my explanation correct? I think 'I thought case' is a tricky case to use.
Munchun

The past tense of "wish" is the only one that I know for the politeness past tense other than that "wonder". Some times English speakers use it in a sense of the present tense. An example is "Did you wish me to dance with you? If you like it, I'll do"

The question you newly raised is the problem of tense agreement in sentences using reporting verbs (admit, agree, announce, argue, believe, claim, complain, confirm, consider, decide, deny, doubt, estimate, expect, explain, feel, hope, imply, insist, mean, mention, persuade, predict, promise, remark, repeat, reply, report, say, state, suggest, suppose, tell, think, threaten, warn and others)
____Reporting Construction ; (S+V) that (S'+ V'), here V=a reporting verb.
When they use this kind of 'reporting that construction' English speakers usually change the tense of the that-clause verb to accord with that of the main reporting verb. A typical example is an indirect speech using "say".
____ Last Monday John said to me "I am fine". ---> Last Monday he told me that he was fine.
But this is merely a general rule and every rule has exceptions. You can use sometimes a present form for the verb in the that-clause even the main clause is in the past tense. I think what your learned from friend is partly true, but exactly speaking, your choice depends not on the physical length between the time points but on whether you think the statement in the that-clause is true even now.
____ Last Monday I met a pretty girl. She told me that she is an American.(She said to me; "I'm an American")

paco
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Thank you Paco2004 for your detail explanation. What great sample you have given in your reply. I think I got it now.Emotion: big smile [Emotion: party] (y)