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Besides all the types of clauses mentioned above, there is a special type of clause called the parenthetical clause, as in the following examples:
You are, I am afraid, far more urgently in need of medical advice than your
The next and last step in the investigation brought matters, as they say, to a
Her singing is something quite exceptional, I think. (Eliot)
THE SEQUENCE OF TENSES
§ 1. The sequence of tenses is a certain dependence of the tense of the verb in a subordinate clause on that of the verb in the principal clause: if the verb in the principal clause is in one of the past tenses, a past tense (or future in the past) must be used in the subordinate clause. The rule is generally observed in object clauses (a more detailed treatment of the question will be found in § 7, 9, 10).
I thought you had better sense. (Dreiser)
I always thought it would come to this.
N o t e. — It is implied in the rule of the sequence of tenses that if a present or
future tense is used in the principal clause, any tense required by the sense can
be used in the subordinate clause:
I’ve seenwhich way the wind is blowing. (Dreiser)
§ 2. If the past action expressed in the subordinate clause is simultaneous with that expressed in the principal clause, the Past Indefinite or the Past Continuous is used in the subordinate clause:
I thought you had more courage than this. (Dreiser)
Я думал, что у вас больше мужества.
Не looked at Cowperwood and saw at once... that the latter was preparing a
big fight of some sort. (Dreiser)
Он посмотрел на Каупервуда и сразу понял, что тот замышляет какой-то
If the past action expressed in the subordinate clause is prior to that expressed in the principal clause, the Past Perfect is used in the subordinate clause:
He knew that she (Hetty) had not had time to read the letter. (Eliot)
Он знал, что она еще не успела прочесть письмо.
If the action expressed in the subordinate clause lasted a certain time before the action expressed in the principal clause, the Past Perfect Continuous or the Past Perfect Inclusive is used in the subordinate clause.
He realized that the old life he had lived in that city since boyhood was
Он понял, что та жизнь, которой он жил в этом городе с детства,
If the action expressed in the subordinate clause is posterior to that of the principal clause the Future in the Past is used.
He knew they would read the book the following year. (FUTURE
INDEFINITE IN THE PAST)
He knew they would be reading when she came. (FUTURE CONTINUOUS
IN THE PAST)
He knew they would have read the book by the 1st of June. (FUTURE
PERFECT IN THE PAST)
Occasionally we find examples of should being used with the 3rd person and would with the 1st. This generally occurs when the speaker wants to preserve the same verb that was used by the original speaker.
See! Here’s his writing; I made him put it down this morning when he told me
he shouldn’t be back before I came here. (Dickens)
He asked me if there wasn’tany hope that I would change. (Webster)
§ 3. If there are several subordinate clauses in a sentence, the rule of the sequence of tenses is observed in all of them.
As the weeks went by... he began to believe that she had been able to think
of her girlish fancy that Arthur was in love with her and would marry her as
a folly of which she was timely cured. (Eliot)
§ 4. The rule of the sequence of tenses also holds good when a past tense is used in a subordinate clause to which other clauses are subordinated.
She says he knew they would never return. (Bennett)
He said he was sure you were in.
§ 5. It should be noted that the rule of the sequence of tenses is observed after verbals if they depend on a finite verb in the past tense:
Cowperwood stood by his desk... wondering where he should get one
hundred thousand dollars. (Dreiser)