Mixed Verb Tenses in one sentence

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Mixed Verb Tenses in one sentence

Postby eggtimer » Wed, 25 Jun 2008 12:02:57 -0500


I want to say something like this:

The results of the study led the researchers to conclude that the type of treatment administered is suitable for the group.

My issue is with the word "is". Should it be "was"?

1) Please answer the question.
2) If you could point me to authoritative reference material on the internet that speak particularly about this issue, I would appreciate it.
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Re: Mixed Verb Tenses in one sentence

Postby barlee119 » Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:04:00 -0500

Your construction is correct. The verb is “is.”
As a general rule, actions created by “researchers” (or other agents) may be in the past-tense. Evaluate how “she” is in this fragment:
She concluded that…

But the conclusion itself, the “treatment administered,” should always be in the present tense. Review a simplified version of your sentence:
She concluded that treatment is suitable…

Why? The answer is that the conclusion (the idea or result of the action) always exists. The conclusion persists even if “she,” the researcher, vanishes. Think of it this way: when the researcher dies, the conclusion still exists—the [treatment [/i]will always be suitable.

This is not a strict grammatical explanation, but I think it could help you in mastering your stage of learning English. I am sure others will provide academic references if you need them.

Clearly, you sense a problem with your writing; I would suggest that grammar is not your major challenge, and that style and usage are.

Consider omitting words and clauses that are confusing to you. Remember, if you get lost in a sentence, chances are that your reader will too.
For revising your writing (especially technical writing), imagine how your sentence would read if you omitted two prepositions? Could you revise this sentence without the word “of?”

I want to give some simple options in a difficult process. Please remember that your sentence issues are the same ones that all writers negotiate, even those who speak English as a first language.

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