Tenses (From Seinfeld)

JERRY: Yeah, well…not exactly. I mean, she said, you know, she [color=red]called this morning and [color=red]said she [color=red]had to come in for a seminar and maybe [color=red]we’ll get together.

Why “we’ll” instead of “we’d?”

The fact is “she” has not come in New York yet. So I thought if you choose to use “had to”, then it should be “we’d”, if you choose “we’ll”, then “have to” might be better, right?


You’re right that grammatically it would be far better to continue in the same tense, though ‘have to’ wouldn’t work there. instead, the options would be: ‘had to’ and ‘we’d’ or ‘has to’ and ‘we’ll’.
In this informal conversation the change of tense indicates Jerry’s mind shift between the two events: her coming to NY for a seminar and the subsequent consequence of that – the two of them meeting.

Just to add some worthless trivia to Bees’ clearest explanation, I’d say why ‘have to’ doesn’t work here but ‘had to’ does is because the short distance between ‘she said’ and ‘she had to’ does not allow a conspicuous inconsistency. In this sense, ‘we’ll get together’ is far away from ‘she said’, and thus given a little ‘allowance’, or she just forgot about the tense set up earlier by herself.

Of course, ‘the subsequent consequence’ is most convincing.

LOL… and there was me thinking that ‘have to’ wouldn’t work because it matched the 1st person singular and not the 3rd person singular, which is what is required.
I think you’re a bit of a wind-up merchant, James.

What is [color=red]a wind-up merchant? :stuck_out_tongue:

And what do you mean “there was me thinking…”?

I asked myself the very same question. Hehe.
Here’s an explanation: forum.wordreference.com/showpost … ostcount=3

What confused me most was: why not, then, ‘has not’ - much more 3rd person singular than ‘had to’? lol.

And I am tired of 3rd rate baa from a 3rd rate place.

“A wind-up” is British slang for an act of teasing. So a ‘wind-up merchant’ is someone who teases others, especially more gullible people. It’s meant more as a joke and in fun than as a means of causing hurt, though of course, as with all teases, it can backfire.

By the way ‘wind’ is pronounced as in ‘wind a watch’ not ‘gusty wind’.

An often-used colloquial pattern which is equivalent to the more standard ‘there I was, thinking that…’ and the even more correct "I thought that…’

Got it. :stuck_out_tongue: