Grammar Question: Do/Did

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 10 months ago.

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  • #346609


    So, I’m reading a book that’s written in past tense. And the author has this line,

    “I don’t know when the boats would come.”

    Isn’t “don’t” present tense?

    I wondered if the rule slightly changes when it comes to knowledge, because “didn’t know” isn’t kind a weird thing to read.

    Or did the author just break the rule and it didn’t quite matter?

  • #655048


    I’d have to see it in context, I guess. You’re correct that “don’t/do not” is present tense; then again, if the character is reflecting on something that happened earlier as if it were happening ‘now’, it would be correct.

  • #655049


    Old commercial: “Ya doesn’t have to call me Ray…”

    I think context matters. It *could* be a colloquialism. Slang.

    Or it could be describing thoughts in present tense. Like a recollection.

    Can’t tell what intent was from this.

  • #655050


    Why did you place quotation marks around the sentence? Were they there in the original, signifying that this is dialogue? If so, “don’t” would be correct.

    If the quotation marks were not there, then “didn’t” would be correct. But again, we would have to know the context.


  • #655051


    Agreed. Would have to see the paragraph and put it in context. I don’t know if your example is a conversation, which might make it correct grammar, or part of the past tense narrative which might be clumsy or not grammatically correct. And it doesn’t sound like the book is very good if you can take yourself out of it and fixate on its grammar.

  • #655052


    Well, it’s shadow and bone, which is the first book in the popular Grisha series.

    That said, it isn’t dialogue. xD I’m not THAT far behind. It’s just in the middle of traditional narrative, with her going through the events of an action scene.

    But I got my answer from someone else, so we good 😛

  • #655053


    RobTheThird wrote:

    > I think context matters.

    Completely agree.

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