that is/was the rationale

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EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all, let's say I decided to repaint my car last month. Today, when someone asked me why I did that, I explained, and ended by saying:

That is/was the rationale behind my decision.

Should I use "is" or "was" here? To me, both make sense.

Is: The rationale remains unchanged through time, it's a fact.
Was: The rationale relates to a past reasoning, so past tense.

Are both "is" and "was" correct in this context? Thank you!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    They are both correct, EB, but I see no real need to use the present in this remark about the past.

    It doesn't matter to me that the rationale is the same now as it was when you used it to make the decision. If I spoke that sentence, I'd probably use "was" rather than "is". If the decision took place in the past, I'm generally content to allow the verb to express that: That was the rationale behind my decision.
     
    Last edited:

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    They are both correct, EB, but I see no real need to use the present in this remark about the past.

    It doesn't matter to me that the rationale is the same now as it was when you used it to make the decision. If I spoke that sentence, I'd probably use "was" rather than "is". If the decision took place in the past, I'm generally content to allow the verb to express that: That was the rationale behind my decision.
    Thanks a lot, Owlman. Being able to see how native speakers think in different situations is very valuable to us learners. :)
     
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