Question in "past tense" and answer and explanation in "present tense"

Hi there, I have a question. Suppose someone asks me a question in past tense. I also answers in past tense but in explanation can I mix the tenses?

Here is the context:

John: Subha, did you sign the petition last night saying you want death penalty of the murder of a little child? Me: Yes, I did. I want the parents of the murdered child get justice so I have signed that/signed that.


Which tense should I use in the last part?

Original Post
When did you decide to get married? I took the decision last year. I am doing the needful to make the wedding a memorable event. I will tie the knot next year. And I hope that you would have been dead for a year by then because you just took the last sip from the poisoned tea that I had gotten prepared for you.
subhajit123 posted:

 can I mix the tenses?

Hi, Subha,

Mr Y: When did you decide to get married?

Mr X: I took the decision last year. I am doing the needful to make the wedding a memorable event. I will tie the knot next year. And I hope that you would have been dead for a year by then because you just took the last sip from the poisoned tea that I had gotten prepared for you.

Thanks.

subhajit123 posted:

Hi there, I have a question. Suppose someone asks me a question in past tense. I also answers answer in the past tense but in the explanation can I mix the tenses?

Here is the context:

John: Subha, did you sign the petition last night saying you want the death penalty of for the murder murderer of a little child? Me: Yes, I did. I want the parents of the murdered child to get justice so I have signed that/signed that.

Which tense should I use in the last part?

Hi, Subhajit: You have made a number of mistakes in your writing. Please see my corrections. I recommend using different phrasing in the final sentence: "That is why I signed the petition." Your final sentence doesn't really work well with either choice, though I prefer the present perfect in it.

Ahmad,

I think that what Mr X really wants to say is this:

I made the decision last year. I am doing (the necessary things/what's necessary) to make the wedding a memorable event. I will tie the knot next year. And I hope that you will have been dead for a year by then because you just took the last sip of the poisoned tea that I (prepared/had prepared) for you.

"Needful" is not incorrect, but it's much less common and less precise, as it can also mean "needy".

He should say "prepared" if he prepared the tea himself, or "had prepared" if someone else prepared the tea at his request.

DocV

Ahmad,

Sometimes the only answer is that it's not idiomatic.  It's not really an answer; it just means that we say things this way in English and not that way.  "Take" (past tense "took") usually means physically removing something from its current location ("Hey!  That man took my money!"), but it has many other definitions as well.  I believe that every language has such versatile words, and they can be the most difficult element of learning a second language.  We "take a notion" to do something, but we "make a decision" to do it, and, to use another idiomatic expression, that's all she wrote.

Actually, I hope that David or Gustavo can provide a better answer, but I doubt it.  I think that's all she wrote.

At the risk of testing the bounds of propriety for this forum, it is common in the United States to refer colloquially to the act of defecation as "taking a crap".  This is extremely informal, and I am not recommending it.  I bring it up only to illustrate the complexity of the myriad, often paradoxical, meanings of "take".

Imagine that we are on a road trip.  We stop at a gas station and I am absent for a while.  You ask me:

What took you so long?

(Ah, yet another meaning of "take".)

I answer, crudely:

I had to take a crap.

This does not mean that it was necessary for me to remove some pre-existing crap from the premises.  It actually means that I had to make some crap, and we should all be happier if it were left in the rest room at the gas station.  I do not wish to take the crap away.

So why don't we say "make a crap" instead of "take a crap"?  I have no idea.  But that's the idiom.  I didn't invent this silly language.  I just teach it.

DocV

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