I'm wondering whether consistency of tenses should apply in the following sentence:

I've attended festivals like Coachella and I always felt physically awful.

Should "I've" be replaced with "I" to be consistent with "I always felt"? I read that using "I have" means emphasizing the life experience itself (attending festivals) which should be the case for the sentence.

But if "I always" would be replaced with "I've always", it would mean that the subject still feels that way until now, which wouldn't make sense since the attending of festivals already happened in the past.

Thank you!

Original Post

In my opinion, the real issue here is the coordinating conjunction 'and'.  By selecting a coordinating conjunction to join these two independent clauses, you've created no logical relationship between them.

I've attended festivals like Coachella.  I always felt physically awful.

Nothing joins these two concepts.  Your past physical difficulty has nothing to do with the festival.  To fix this, you need to select an appropriate subordinating conjunction or reword the sentence in a way that makes the relationship clear:

I've attended festivals like Coachella where I always felt physically awful.

I've attended festivals like Coachella, but I always felt physically awful there.

I always felt physically awful while attending festivals like Coachella.

Now it is clear that being at a festival was the cause of your physical distress.

Last edited by cwm9
@Clem posted:

I'm wondering whether consistency of tenses should apply in the following sentence:

I've attended festivals like Coachella and I always felt physically awful.

Should "I've" be replaced with "I" to be consistent with "I always felt"? I read that using "I have" means emphasizing the life experience itself (attending festivals) which should be the case for the sentence.

But if "I always" would be replaced with "I've always", it would mean that the subject still feels that way until now, which wouldn't make sense since the attending of festivals already happened in the past.

Hello, Clem, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

The example you have asked about is correct; however, it would be good to add a comma before the second independent clause and place "physically" (which clarifies the respect in which you felt awful) at the end with a comma:

(1) I've attended festivals like Coachella, and I always felt awful, physically.

It is actually the change in tense that does create a logical relationship between the two independent clauses. The sentence has the same meaning as the following, in which the parentheses indicate that the phrase is unnecessary.

(2) I've attended festivals like Coachella, and I always felt awful, physically (, when doing so).

As you observe, Clem, if you changed "I always felt awful, physically" to "I've always felt awful, physically," the meaning would shift such that you would be making a separate assertion about how you've always felt, physically.

Thus, if you use the present perfect, you will need the "when"-element to make your meaning clear, i.e., to clarify how the second independent clause relates to the first. That addition will no longer be unnecessary.

(3) I've attended festivals like Coachella, and I've always felt awful, physically, when doing so.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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