Hello,

Please take a look at the following sentence :

For more than a year, Canadians have known that 69-year-old Mr Chretien was planning to resign in February 2004.

Question - Mr.Chretien is still planning to resign in February 2004, so why not 'is planning' instead of 'was planning'?
Or, is the past tense here used to suggest Mr Chretien's reluctance to resign as 'was planning ' suggests to me that he might change his mind?

Many thanks.
Ricky

Last edited {1}
Original Post
It's impossible to tell from the sentence what the writer thinks Mr. Chretien's intentions are. The present perfect in the main verb, 'have known" allows either the present tense or the past tense in the dependent clause.

A quick Google search turns up examples of each, with the past tense in the dependent clause outnumbering the present.

Present tense in the dependent clause:

I've always known that he's a good salesman because he's charming and persistent.

I've always known that he's a big old teddybear inside, but then I've been working for him for years.

Past tense in the dependent clause:

I've always known that he was extremely intelligent, and I've taught him things at home that his preschool teacher couldn't

One thing I should say about Kyle... I've always known that he was a special kind of guy.

I've always known that he was attracted to her. Maybe, he feels that if she's around, the nightmares don't bother him.

There seems to be no particular reason for the choice of verb tense in the dependent clause.

It may very well be that the writer thinks that there may be a change in the prime minister's intentions, but I would not read too much into the use of the past tense.

Marilyn Martin

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