Past and Present Subjunctive
 
 
The past subjunctive is governed by all the situations and expressions governing the present subjunctive (see Usage of the Subjunctive). The sole nuance consists of knowing when to choose between the past and present subjunctive. The rules for use are fairly straightforward:

1. When the time frame of the subjunctive clause is contemporaneous with the time frame of the introductory clause, the present subjunctive is used:

2. When the time frame of the subjunctive clause precedes the time frame of the introductory clause, the past subjunctive is used:  

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