Dear all,

Please take a look at the following sentence :

"The article reported that Britain's most famous museums and art galleries might lose their government grants unless they MANAGED to attract more visitors from ethnic minorities and low-income families."

Question : Is it 'managed'( past tense ) because the writer is following the "tense sequence" or because it is "conditional" ( in that the museums and galleries have not attracted more visitors from the ethnic minorities and low-income families ie an unreal present situation)?

Thank you very much.

Ricky

Original Post
The article reported that Britain's most famous museums and art galleries might lose their government grants unless they MANAGE to attract more visitors from ethnic minorities and low-income families

The clause beginning with unless is hypothetical, but not factual. One may wonder whether manage in until-clause is factual, but that verb functions as a neutral modal, even though it is a present tense in form.
The writer is following the sequence-of-tenses-rule.

Try this: Change the reporting verb to the present tense. Start the sentence with "The article REPORTS. Then the sentence naturally flows like this:

The article REPORTS that Britain's most famous museums and art galleries might lose their government grants unless they MANAGE to attract more visitors from ethnic minorities and low-income families."
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"Unless" is used in conditional sentences to mean "if not." According to Michael Swan,* "In clauses with unless, we usually use present tenses to refer to the future."

The example sentence is: I'll be in all day unless the office phones."

Putting that sentence into reported speech with a past tense main verb, the sentence would be:

Michael said that he WOULD be in all day unless the office PHONED.

This sentence is constructed like your sentence:

The article REPORTED that Britain's most famous museums and art galleries might lose their government grants unless they MANAGED to attract more visitors from ethnic minorities and low-income families."


Rachel
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*Practical English Usage, Second Edition, by Michael Swan. Oxford University Press. 1995

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