I forgot to tell you that the cleaner <was><is> in the flat.

Goldenboy25

Senior Member
Krio
The cleaner is still in the flat, but I had the conversation with the person an hour ago. Would you say that the (was) is correct in the sentence below? If so, why is it correct?

I forgot to tell you that the cleaner was in the flat.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    When you said this, did you think that the cleaner was still in in the flat or that, when you said, this the cleaner had left the flat?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    If the cleaner is still in the flat you use “is”.
    Some people might say “was” but it’s clearer for the person you are talking to if you use “is”.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “I forgot to tell you [that] the cleaner is in the flat”
    — a warning given before the person you’re speaking to discovers that for himself

    “I forgot to tell you [that] the cleaner was in the flat”
    — an apology for having failed to warn him before he discovered it for himself
     

    Goldenboy25

    Senior Member
    Krio
    “I forgot to tell you [that] the cleaner is in the flat”
    — a warning given before the person you’re speaking to discovers that for himself

    “I forgot to tell you [that] the cleaner was in the flat”
    — an apology for having failed to warn him before he discovered it for himself
    Would you say (I forgot to tell you that the cleaner was in the flat) is correct after speaking to the person?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Would you say (I forgot to tell you that the cleaner was in the flat) is correct after speaking to the person?
    Possibly, however the main point is still the whereabouts of the cleaner, not how many conversations you’ve had with the other person.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Because we’ve been told the cleaner is still in the flat, in this case we can use “is” with impunity.

    But “was” can be used whether he/she is still there or not, matching the tense of the main verb (forgot).
     
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