I realized that I should be the one who chooses/chose my career.

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all, "sequence of tenses" has always been something I'm struggling with. I have the following situation in mind.

When I was young, I realized one thing: I should be the one who chooses my career.

Now, as I relate to this past realization, should I say "chooses" or "chose"?

I realized then that I should be the one who chooses/chose my career.

Many thanks!
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I agree with Parla. You are flashing back to a moment in the past (in both sentences), and speaking from that moment. Only "chooses" makes sense to me.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When I was young, I realized one thing: I should be the one who chooses my career.

    Now, as I relate to this past realization, should I say "chooses" or "chose"?

    I realized then that I should be the one who chooses/chose my career.
    The classic advice in this sort of case is that one can say either.

    Chooses emphasizes the present nature of the choice.

    Chose is the natural version using the normal principles of tense shifting:

    I realize one thing: I should be the one who chooses my career.

    I realized one thing: I should be the one who chose my career.

    The situation is altered by the colon and the presentation of this idea as a direct thought - this makes the choice of the present more likely than usual.

    Had we been dealing with I realized that I should be etc., the tense-shifted version would be made more likely than it is here, but it remains distinctly possible, in my view.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That sound very odd and borderline incorrect, for American English, in my opinion.
    Here's an example from an American writer, lest anyone think that the version with the past tense isn't used in American English:

    Three days into his involuntary vacation, Kane Travers realized one thing: he wasn't a vacation type of guy. Your mouth drives me crazy: HelenKay Dimon.

    I wonder if someone is going to say that I should be the one who chose my career is not correct American English.

    I wonder also if someone doesn't know that I should can be the simple past of I shall.
     
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