+0
Situation: We (A and B) are waiting for a friend (C).
Is the underlined expression okay in the above situation?
A: We've been waiting for C for a long time.
B: I don't know what happened to C.
A: I can't wait any longer. I have to go now.
B: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.
C has not arrived yet when the above conversation takes place. The arrival of C and the reason for being late will be known later. Can I use the past tense in that case?
+0
Hi,

Situation: We (A and B) are waiting for a friend (C).
Is the underlined I see no underlining expression okay in the above situation?

A: We've been waiting for C for a long time. OK
B: I don't know what has happened to C. keeps the focus on the present
A: I can't wait any longer. I have to go now. OK
B: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.

. . . tell you what time he came got here and why he was late.

C has not arrived yet when the above conversation takes place. The arrival of C and the reason for being late will be known later. Can I use the past tense in that case? See above

Best wishes, Clive
Comments  
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Since there is no direct time frame specified, one can only assume that this conversation has come to past. Based on the logic process going in my head, as far as C's reason for being late is concerned, I would say this:

"The reason and time of C's late arriving shall be discussed later."
Clive and dimsumexpress, thank you.

I wanted to underline as follows;

A: We've been waiting for C for a long time.
B: I don't know what happened to C.
A: I can't wait any longer. I have to go now.
B: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.
SnappyB: Okay. I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he came here and why he was late.

After some chewing on this, I would not personally use "he came" and "was late". But I will say:

I'll call you tonight and tell you what time he shows up and why he is late.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Snappy Can I use the past tense in that case?
Yes.

Strange, isn't it?! English has no grammatical machinery -- no separate tense -- to express time relationships within a true future point of view, so the will earlier in the sentence (I'll call) is the device that is used to propel your listener into the future. Once there, because of the context your listener will correctly consider the past forms (came, was) as the past of this new (artificially created) future point of view -- even though they are future events from the present point of view.

Emotion: smile

CJ
Hi CJ,

Based on your remarks, am I correct to assume that my approach with the present tense was considered faulty with regards to the specific context? Thanks in advance for your insight.
dimsumexpressHi CJ,
Based on your remarks, am I correct to assume that my approach with the present tense was considered faulty with regards to the specific context? Thanks in advance for your insight.

No, not faulty. That is an alternate solution. I hadn't yet read your post when I answered, so I didn't mention that the speaker (or writer) could have ignored the establishment of the future point of view and just used the present tense. I think I somewhat prefer the past there, though. It implies a more intriguing relationship between the various times! Emotion: smile

CJ
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.