when you're at your most vulnerable, somehow they could...


English - Canadian
This is a quote from the movie Zombieland:

"It wasn't long before the zombies began to get clever. When you're at your most vulnerable, somehow they could just smell it."

This doesn't sound right to me since it begins in the past tense, and then shifts to the present tense only for it to shift back to the past tense after the comma. To me "you're" should become "you were"​.

Am I missing something here?

I will provide more context if you guys need any.
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    You're right, but it is my experience that people who think zombies are real, rarely reach the standard of English we expect. :D


    Senior Member
    English - UK and US
    Are we sure the line wasn't mistranscribed? Is it possible that it was really "When you were at your most vulnerable, somehow they could just smell it"? "You were" said quickly can sound a lot like "you're".


    French & English
    My two bits: I think this is typical spoken language. Not grammatically sound but with its own logic that seems to make sense in the moment:

    When you're at your most vulnerable... > General "you" - present tense because it's a generality. Also sounds a bit like a generic sentence, usually used in the present tense, explaining maybe why it comes more easily that way.
    ...somehow they could just smell it >
    Switches back to past tense because the speaker refers to a specific time and place.
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