tense in the statement of a past event

sevengem

Senior Member
Chinese
The reason why I failed in the exam is that I was too nervous in the exam. What
I worried is that it can affect my study . I would appreciate it if you can help me.

Could you please tell me whether the underlined "is" is right? Or should it be "was"? And does the underlined "can" need to be replaced with "could"? Thanks a lot!
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Sevengem,

    Could you rephrase "What I worried is that it can affect my study"? It is very difficult to understand what you mean.

    The reason why I failed in the exam is that I was too nervous in the exam. - the reason still is that I was too nervous
    The reason why I failed in the exam was that I was too nervous. -> the reason, at that time, was that I was too nervous.

    (Do not use "reason why" -> reasons always answer the question "Why..?")

    I would appreciate it if you can help me. -> this is correct but not common, it is usually said in order to thank someone who has already offered to help you.

    I would appreciate it if you could help me. -> this is correct and very common, it is a polite request for help. "you could" = if you were able (subjunctive.)
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Sorry. My fault. I intended to say "What I worry about is that it may affect my study."
    May is merely a modal verb and is grammatically the same as "can", etc. and the same advice applies.

    However, your title "tense in the statement of a past event" makes me think that you believe that there is an easy "rule" for this and the choice of modal - there is not. There is no fixed tense in a statement about a past event in the example you give.

    In the following, "it" = "the fact the I failed the exam" and all of them are possible

    1. "What I worry about is that it affects/affected/has affected/had affected my study."
    2. "What I worry about is that it will affect my study."
    3. "What I worry about is that it will have affected my study."
    4. "What I worry about is that it would affect my study."
    5. "What I worry about is that it would have affected my study."
    6. "What I worry about is that it is going to affect my study."
    7. "What I worry about is that it was going to affect my study."
    8. "What I worry about is that it may affect my study."
    9. "What I worry about is that it might affect my study."
    10. "What I worry about is that it may have affected my study."
    11. "What I worry about is that it might have affected my study."
    12. "What I worry about is that it can affect my study."
    13. "What I worry about is that it could affect my study."
    14. "What I worry about is that it is able to affect my study."
    15. "What I worry about is that it was able to affect my study."
    16. "What I worry about is that it has been able to affect my study."
    17. "What I worry about is that it had been able to affect my study."
    18. "What I worry about is that it will have been able to affect my study."
    19. "What I worry about is that it would have been able to affect my study."
    20. "What I worry about is that it could have affected my study."
    21. "What I worry about is that it does affect my study."
    22. "What I worry about is that it did affect my study."
    23. etc.
    and then there is the continuous form of the verb.

    All have a slight variation in meaning.
     
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