Sequence of tenses

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When the principal clause is in the past tense

When the principal (main) clause is in the past tense, the verb in the subordinating clause also should be in the past tense.

Exceptions

There are two exceptions to this rule.

Read the following sentences.

The subordinate clauses in the examples given above indicate a universal truth - something that is true for all time. When the subordinate clause expresses a universal truth, it may be put in the present tense, even if the principal clause is in the past tense.

Now consider the sentences given below.

The subordinate clauses in the sentences given above come after the comparative conjunction than. When the subordinate clause comes after than, it may be put in any tense required by the context.

When the principal clause is in the present or future tense

When the verb in the principal clause is in the present or future tense, the verb in the subordinate clause may be in any tense that the context requires.

See also

Sequence of Tenses
Sequence of Tenses in Subordinate Clauses
Sequence of Tenses - Exercise I