Any feedback you give/gave me would be...

dcx97

Banned
Hindi - India
Hello,

I was writing an e-mail to one of my professors. I described my goals and ended with "Any feedback you give me would be highly appreciated."
A friend, however, insisted that "gave" was the correct word: Any feedback you gave me would be highly appreciated.

What do you guys think?

Thanks!
 
  • Jim in Phila

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Gave" would not work here because it's a past action. The feedback will come in the future. "Give" is the correct tense in this case.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Any feedback you gave me" is either polite (because it's less direct than "any feedback you give me") or an indication that you believe feedback may not be forthcoming.

    I agree with lingobingo's assertion that "Gave (meaning 'were to give') is correct with would. Give is correct with will."

    I'm not sure that the impersonal "will/would be highly appreciated" is suitable for an email to one of your professors: it's language that's typically used with people we don't know.
     
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    keenel

    Banned
    Portuguese - Brazil
    "Gave" would not work here because it's a past action. The feedback will come in the future. "Give" is the correct tense in this case.
    Just because it's in the past tense doesn't mean it has to refer to the past. Observe:

    It's about time you asked yourself what you wanted to do in life.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Gave" looks like the past tense of "give", but "gave" is also used in subjunctive phrases, and it is not "past tense" there.

    Post #3 is correct, and this is the same in AE and BE.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I'm not sure that the impersonal "will/would be highly appreciated" is suitable for an email to one of your professors: it's language that's typically used with people we don't know.
    I agree. If you want feedback, ask for it. This is not asking. Do you have any suggestions? is asking.

    But much better is a specific question: "Do you think I should change majors, or wait until grad school to pursue entomology?"

    Your professor probably does not have time to write you an essay, and does not know enough about you to plan your career. Just asking for "feedback" and hoping he will "guess what you need to know" is not a good strategy. He may be very nice and want to help, but give you advice on areas where you don't need advice.

    Instead, figure out what your real questions are: what decisions will you need to make, that this professor can help you make? Then ask him about those specific topics.
     

    al-Ghareeb

    Banned
    Arabic - Saudi Arabia
    "Gave" looks like the past tense of "give", but "gave" is also used in subjunctive phrases, and it is not "past tense" there.

    Post #3 is correct, and this is the same in AE and BE.
    I may be mistaken but I believe all of Modern English's past tenses do double duty as subjunctives, with the sole exception of "was", whose subjunctive is "were", e.g. "If you were here it would be highly appreciated."
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "Gave" looks like the past tense of "give", but "gave" is also used in subjunctive phrases, and it is not "past tense" there.

    Post #3 is correct, and this is the same in AE and BE.
    Then what is this all about? "second conditional (also called the would-condition): involves a past tense verb form in the conditional clause, and would in the main clause, e.g. If I saw them, I would tell them" (Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar)

    I have never seen a grammar book which claims that gave is not the past tense of give. The past tense (which includes was) is often used in what are called remote conditionals.

    Needless to say, the use of the past tense does not necessarily mean that the reference is to the past.
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I may be mistaken but I believe all of Modern English's past tenses do double duty as subjunctives, with the sole exception of "was", whose subjunctive is "were", e.g. "If you were here it would be highly appreciated."
    What you are saying is that a past tense has either an indicative meaning or a subjunctive interpretation. But the same applies to was (If she was here I would tell her the news). The only verb forms that are subjunctive in English are the verb forms I//he/she/it were and the present subjunctive be (e.g. be that as it may). There is no were-subjunctive in you were.
     
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