conditional clause


There is a worker in the office where I am now who swears like a mariner, but creates a bit unreliable code. He’s just asking for this phrase:

I’m a bit confused as to what tense should I put the verb “swear” - the past simple or the present simple.
From the grammatical point of view it should be “the present simple”, but would it sound natural if I put the verb swear into the past simple.

PS: In my native language, I should choose the present simple too, but my native feelings tell me that the past simple would be better (of course in my native language).

So, how would you say it?


Hi LS,

I would plump for the Present Simple because I presume that the person you are referring to still ‘swears’ on a regular basis.


I’d use the present simple of ‘swear’ in your sentence. Personally, I might say something like: ‘It would be great if you could programme half as well as you can swear’.


A lot of English guys would say; It´d be great if ´d progamme half as well as ya swore.

Note the removal of “can” and that the above indicates spoken forms.

Thanks to all !

I see that in colloquial speech ya’d use the past simple !