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Time-Travel Tense Trouble

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Lister: We don't exist here anymore!
Kryten: Actually sir, we don't ever have existed here anymore, but this is hardly the time to be conjugating temporal verbs in the past impossible never tense!

(Try saying that ten times fast.)

Most Indo-European languages have multiple tenses, to differentiate things that have happened from things that are happening right now from things that will happen, plus some to define what had happened before that, not to mention some that are a bit less identifiable in their everyday uses (we doubt that most people have understood the Pluperfect Subjunctive). It mostly works fine when your timeline is a strict progression from cause to effect.

Unfortunately, when you are watching the San Dimas Time, winding through the threads of the Timey-Wimey Ball, chasing another time traveler who is always one step ahead of you, it can become awkward. As a result, time travelers will often stumble over their wording, leading to use of tenses that can be torturous to understand.

Usually this is an experienced traveler explaining in eloquent yet incomprehensible terms that they didn't "just succeed", when you return from an adventure in the future. Alternatively, a less experienced character will attempt to explain what's going on, and struggle with their terms.

If your Future Me shows up, there may be pronoun trouble on a similar style, especially if there's several versions of future characters knocking around.

This is related to Meanwhile, in the Future…, Anachronic Order, Non-Linear Character.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Mikuru is aware of the tense trouble, but she keeps flubbing it anyway. Considering that Mikuru is spacey and Moe, this leads to Adult Mikuru showing Kyon a mole on her breasts while saying something like "But you were the one who told me about it... wait, has that not happened yet? oops...". Later in that episode Kyon casually asks Mikuru if she has a mole "right about here" and points to the location on his own chest. She turns around, checks, and starts trying to beat the information out of him. That would be where Kyon "told her about it" — it's a bootstrap paradox.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman/Superman: World's Finest: When trying to explain his adventures as stranded in the year 1892, Robin tries to find the right tense before giving up in frustration.
    Robin: "How do I know all this? Because I was born in the circus and raised on its history. And also because...I was there. Am there. Here. Right now. Back then. Forget it."
  • Cable: There's often no telling from which point in his life the Cable you're dealing with is actually from. It would be completely possible for him to be Killed Off for Real, and still continue to appear in comics simply because he hasn't died yet. The best you have is a few markers, like whether or not he's currently infected with the T-O virus, or if he has Belle (a sentient A.I. who helps manage his time-travel abilities). However, even that isn't a given.
  • A frequent out-of-universe problem when trying to describe events crossing Crisis on Infinite Earths, due to the major differences in how the retcon affected different characters and different past events. A few characters were rebooted as completely new characters (Wonder Woman), some were made so that they had been around before the Crisis, but their personalities and histories suddenly had always been very different from what all previous comics portrayed (Superman), some were erased from history (Supergirl), and some had basically the same history and memory that they had had before the Crisis (The Flash, Green Lantern). Therefore, there's both the reader's perception of what "Pre-Crisis" and "Post-Crisis" means (Pre-Crisis: Golden, Silver and the Bronze Age, Post-Crisis: Dark and Modern Age), and there's the characters' perception of what "Pre Crisis" and "Post Crisis" means (basically: Pre Crisis: Before Barry and Kara died, Post Crisis: after Barry and Kara died). This leads to descriptions like "After the Crisis, Batman changed so that he had been dark and brooding both before and after Barry died."

    Also, Barry's life, career and friendship with other characters, as well as the vague event note  that caused his death, are all perfectly compatible (as far as their memories are concerned) with their personal histories and timelines that had been established after the Crisis was written. So basically, the characters can all recall and talk about events that as far as they are concerned, occurred when Barry Allen was still alive, but most of those events are significantly different from how they were reported by comic books written before the Crisis was published.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In an Uncle Scrooge story, the evil witch, Magica has this problem
    Magica: This is like all the times in the past that Scrooge himself has chased me in the future. I mean... what am I talking about?
  • Justice League Odyssey reintroduces the time traveler Epoch who uses entirely new tenses of words to communicate niche timeframes relative to his current one. Everyone else is confused when he uses them, to which he just responds they aren't familiar with "fourth dimensional grammar".
  • Supergirl:
    • In Supergirl (2005) issue #22, Supergirl runs into this trouble when she remembers that she travelled to the far future and fought/will fight alongside the Legion of Super-Heroes.
      Supergirl: Well, um, thank you for unblocking my memory. You were... will be... very good friends to me.
    • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade issue #5, Supergirl tries to have a talk with her time-travelling alternate self.
      Supragirl: Anyway, when the asteroid destroyed the school and gave everyone super powers, and Lena and Belinda were making everything crazy, I had to use the asteroid fragments to get time travel powers!
      Supergirl: None of that ever happened!
      Supragirl: That's because I'm on my way back in time to stop it from ever happening!
      Supergirl: But... Why are you here?
      Supragirl: I don't really know. All I know is what you told me...
      Supergirl: What? I didn't...
      Supragirl: Oh... You don't tell me about it until we meet in the 30th century. That's when I got this cool belt!
      Supergirl: Right. And is that where you got the horse?
      Supragirl: Comet? Oh yeah, he belongs to you in the future. You loaned him to me.
  • Superman:
    • In A Mind-Switch in Time, Superboy runs into this trouble when he tells his parents he is going to the future for, ahem, this month Legion of Super-Heroes' meeting.
      Superboy: So long, Ma and Pa. I'm off to the [31st] century for... this month's... regular Legion meeting.
    • In Superman's Return to Krypton, Superman gets stranded into pre-explosion Krypton, and even he has trouble deciding what verb tense to use when he reminisces about how he will be sent to Earth thirty years ago.
      Superman: My father is observing Jonathan and Martha who will become my foster parents when I... er... am flown to Earth as a baby!
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan, who is able to perceive the past, present and future, says "Yes, yes, he killed Blake and half of New York. Excuse me, Rorschach, I'm informing Laurie 90 seconds ago," to Laurie "Silk Spectre" Juspeczyk, being confused by tachyon interference, before saying the same thing to Rorschach 90 seconds later. He's even in the exact same pose and position (relative to the walls of the panel) both times he says it. Also, the whole flashback (flashnow?) scene on Mars.

    Fan Works 
  • Brother on Brother, Daughter on Mother has this line from Eleya's time-traveling future daughter:
    "I was — will be born in 2421."
  • In Child of the Storm, any attempt to discuss the Stable Time Loop surrounding Harry's future self leaving a letter with Xavier fifty years in the past to give to him in the present tends to result in confusion and headaches.
  • A Crown of Stars: It is liable to show up whenever Daniel or his wife use time-travel.
    • In the first chapter Shinji and Asuka are visited by their future selves.
      Shinji: You were right, this is really strange from the other side.
      Daniel: You get used to it, Shinji. And technically, I will be right. I haven't said that yet. This is six months in my past, too.
    • Amusingly, Avaloni has verbal tenses for discussing time-travelling:
      Ching: 20th Century German can't handle discussing time loops very well. Avaloni has tenses for that, if you get a chance to learn it.
  • Doing It Right This Time: In the initial draft Asuka ran into this trouble while talking to Shinji about the events of the original timeline:
    "Months of treating you like crap... and you still wanted me." She sat down on the bench beside him. "And I wanted you. Couldn't admit it to myself, but I did. Do. Whatever fucking tense I should be using."
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, the narrator's confusing take on time travel and method for dealing with the Starswirl inconsistency tends to invoke this trope more than a few times.
  • During the first story of the Facing the Future Series, Danny runs into this when describing his bad future self fighting his good future self.
    Valerie: [confused] Uh, Danny? What are you talking about?
    [Danny sighs]
    Danny: You know what? I really don't know anymore.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has this gem, which is more to do with Time-Travel Pronoun Trouble:
    "If I and my future self interact, we'll still see the same thing as both of me, even though, on my first run through, my future self is already acting in full knowledge of things that, from my own perspective, haven't happened yet..." Harry's voice trailed off into the inadequacy of English.
  • Simultaneously played straight and lampshaded by the narrator in the first chapter of Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy.
    Ten centuries in the future, this will happen. Let us say that it did happen, to make our story easier to relate.
  • In Here Be Dragons:
    Syaoran: Please don't get too upset at my past self for the things he is going to do, he's going to be going through a very hard time just then.
  • In Worm Peggy Sue fanfic Hey Missy, Vista becomes frustrated when she tries to decide on a time tense:
    Vista: Ever gallant, wasn't he? No wonder I'd crushed at him. Was crushing? Had been currently crushing? I hated time travel tenses.
  • In Hogyoku ex Machina:
    Ichigo: Hinamori? They were pretty close, right?
    Matsumoto: Were?
    Ichigo: Are. Sorry. She got... will get better.
  • A minor gag in The Infinite Loops is Twilight Sparkle inventing a whole set of new tenses specifically to counter this problem... and nobody else ever memorizing them.
  • The Thirteen Generals of Dawn's Gate figure out quickly what Barid Bel Medar is proposing when he suggests using balefire on Paaren Disen, but he still has to say he has a plan "to have won" the War of Power in Lost Violent Souls, a The Wheel of Time prequel.
  • In Mirror Image Harry talks with Voldemort about having seen their possible future in the Mirror of Erised.
    Harry: That’s the ritual you used in the mirror, and it was not pretty. I saw diary you, so pretty much what you looked like when you were 16. As a man with a healthy appreciation for the male form... Ok, as a boy who will one day have a healthy appreciation for the male form, damn these tenses, I have no problem acknowledging that 16 year old you was smoking hot.
  • The Second Try: As soon as the first scene of the first chapter Asuka has trouble keeping the tenses straight in her head:
    She still had problems to play this charade in front of everyone, and it seemed to only grow harder. She wasn't sure if she would be able to keep it up much longer at all. Not while these thoughts disturbed her mind; thoughts of all the things that happened... or will happen soon.
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us:
    Brokosh: Wait, back up. Are you saying we went back in time and caused a historical event that was going to happen anyway? Had already happened?
    Brokosh: But what I know is, you just caused me one hell of a headache when we get back to the future. The present. Whatever the fuck noun I'm supposed to use.
  • 'Til You Feel It All Around You sees three of the Straw Hat Pirates being deaged, leading to their crewmates struggling with how to phrase things.
    Sanji: Hell if I know. Maybe Robin does. Did. Would... Will? Damn.
  • A Trio of Tricksters: Eclipse the Past, Usurp the Present:
    Hermione: That's why we did it. Will do it. Have done it. Whatever. If the ministry doesn't have dementors, the dementors can't kiss Sirius or Peter. We know we did it safely with no serious harm. So we'll do it. Did it. Have done it. Gods time travel is hard.
  • The Twilight Child: Comes up during one chapter, when there's two different Twilight Sparkles, one from "now", and one from next Tuesday, who are being watched from a character for whom they are both Past-Twilight. The character's attempt to keep everything straight in her head fails, and on more than one occasion the narration just gives up trying to make sense of it.
  • Ward Peggy Sue fanfiction Warp gives us the next exchange:
    Antares: I talked to you and your wife yesterday.
    Number Man: I'm a bachelor.
    Antares: Not in four years, you aren't.

    Films — Animation 
  • Light Years:
    • The tagliney prophecy which drives the action of this animated Science-Fiction film makes use of it: "In a thousand years, Gandahar was destroyed. A thousand years ago, Gandahar will be saved."
    • The telepathic mutants who recall this prophecy are acutely aware of the past and the future, to the point where their language has no present-tense verbs, and instead use past- and future-tense verbs simultaneously. Example; instead of telling the hero "I am your friend," a mutant says "I was/will be your friend."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future:
    • Back to the Future Part II has this exchange:
      Marty: It's my fault — the whole thing is my fault. If I hadn't bought that damn book, then none of this would've happened.
      Doc: Well, it's all in the past.
      Marty: You mean the future.
      Doc: Whatever!
    • Back to the Future Part III has a Call-Back as the 1955 Doc sends Marty to 1885:
      1955 Doc: Well, good luck for both our sakes. See you in the future.
      Marty: You mean the past?
      1955 Doc: Exactly!
  • Déjà Vu (2006):
    Denny: See you yesterday.
  • Inverted in Flight of the Navigator, when David gets asked by the police what year he thinks it is, unaware he's gone 8 years into the future.
  • In Groundhog Day, Phil never really has to worry about his tenses because he's the only one who realizes he's in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, but that just makes some of what he says funnier for the audience.
    Phil: [after being told something will be handled tomorrow] Well what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!
  • Jumanji: After the game is won, Alan and Sarah find themselves as their preteen selves in 1969 again, with time having been completely reset. While he reconciles with his father, Alan also explains what actually happened in the shoe factory earlier that day, starting off saying "Back in 1969..." before fixing that to "earlier today...".
  • Mostly avoided in Looper, but there are a few phrases here and there that cause tense trouble.
    Joe: In seventy years, time travel will have been invented.
  • The first thing Agatha says after being pulled from the pre-crime unit in Minority Report is "Is it now?"
  • One of the best known Narms of Plan 9 from Outer Space is that the narrator, a fortune teller, switches frequently between the past, present and future tense while describing his prophecy:
    Criswell: Future events such as these will affect you in the future... And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of what happened on that fateful day.
  • Primer. "I haven't eaten since later this afternoon."
  • This forms the basis of an entire conversation in Spaceballs, when the villains watch Spaceballs on VHS (which has been released before they finished filming the movie) and reach the part of the movie that's happening right now.
    Dark Helmet: What happened to Then?
    Colonel Sandurz: We passed Then.
    Dark Helmet: When?
    Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We're at Now, now.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Gillian catches Spock referring to the extinction of whales in the past tense.
    • From Star Trek: First Contact, when our heroes go back in time and meet the inventor of warp drive:
      Will Riker: Someone once said, "Don't try to be a great man; just be a man, and let history make its own judgement."
      Zephram Cochrane: Rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?
      Riker: You did, ten years from now.
  • Terminator:
    • A consistent element of the series (although rarely lampshaded), going back Sarah's quote from the first movie: "You're talking about things I haven't done yet in the past tense."
    • Similarly, Terminator Genisys, once Kyle Reese tries to sum up something in the past tense, and then attempts to correct with present and future, he goes "[John Connor is] the man our son was... is... will be — Jesus! Time travel makes my head hurt!"
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: "A long time ago, actually, a long time from now..."

  • In the 1632 series, about a 20th century West Virginia coal mining town sent back in time to the middle of the Thirty Years' War, both "uptimers" and locals of the 17th century are often found groping for a way to describe what for the West Virginians would be settled history but hasn't yet happened (or, more likely, will never happen thanks to the Butterfly Effect) for those living during the Thirty Years' War.
  • The protagonist of "...And it Comes Out Here" by Lester del Rey has a bit of trouble talking to his younger self:
    You will, you know, so why quibble about it? At least, you always have... or do... or will. I don't know, verbs get all mixed up. We don't have the right attitude toward tenses for a situation like this.
  • The Bible:
    • In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" This is a statement of divinity — "I am" is connected to the "name" Yahweh or Jehovah, as God told Moses ("I am that I am") — instead of evidence for a time-travelling Jesusmobile, but tenses for the omnipresent seem to run into the same problems with language.
    • The Bible also tends to record prophecies as though the future events they describe have already happened. There's actually a special word tense for this.
  • Dracula and Bathory suffer from this as children in Count and Countess.
  • Discworld:
    • The Discworld Companion entry for a character existing in a Stable Time Loop says "Dios was (or is, or will be — certain temporal uncertainties make the choice of tense very difficult)".
    • When Vimes goes back thirty years in Night Watch, he is told to "just imagine things happening one after another" and sticks with that as less confusing.
    • In Equal Rites, when it is explained that the dead are unbound from all dimensions, the narrator describes the fact that a cat appears to simultaneously be its own age, a newborn kitten, and a decrepit moggy, as resembling a kind of white, cat-shaped carrot, "which will have to suffice until someone is able to devise effective fourth-dimensional adjectives".
    • Reaper Man:
      And at the end of all stories Azrael, who knew the secret, thought:
    • In The Last Continent, Scrappy tries to explain to Rincewind that he knows Rinso can save FourEcks because he's already done it, but he can't just go home because he hasn't already done it yet.
    • From the same book, a magically aged Ponder Stibbons thinks "You should've seen the temporal disturbances we will have been used to be going to get in my day."
    • In The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, the wizards get into a bit of a tangle when trying to work out why, if they're about to go back in time and stop themselves from trying to change the past, they don't already remember doing so. Ponder uses the "it hasn't already happened yet" line, and Rincewind, who's already tried something similar, says he thinks there was a version of him that didn't go back, but there isn't any more.
      Lecturer in Recent Runes: You know, it's a good job we're wizards, otherwise this time travel business could really be confusing.
  • The Door into Summer:
    Then I caught hold of myself and realized that, out of all the persons living in 1970, [Dr. Twitchell] was the one I had least need to worry about. Nothing could go wrong because nothing had ... I meant "nothing would." No—- Then I quit trying to phrase it, realizing that if time travel ever became widespread, English grammar was going to have to add a whole new set of tenses to describe reflexive situations— conjugations that would make the French literary tenses and the Latin historical tenses look simple.
  • Larry Niven's stories involving Hanville Svetz love to play with this trope. Svetz's solution to a time paradox involving the destruction of Ford's Model-T demonstrates very well how bad English is with time travel:
    Svetz: Maybe we can go around you. Zeera, try this. Send me back to an hour before the earlier Zeera arrives. Ford's automobile won't have disappeared yet. I'll duplicate it, duplicate the duplicate, take the reversed duplicate and the original past you in the big extension cage. That leaves you to destroy the duplicate instead of the original. I reappear after you've gone, leave the original automobile for Ford, and come back here with the reversed duplicate. How's that?
    Zeera: It sounded great. Would you mind going through it again?
    Svetz: "Let's see. I go back to—
  • In Harry Potter, Hermione insists on the correct tense when she travels back in time. Hermione likes things just right!
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on how time travel changes how one refers to things:
    • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the Guide discusses this problem at some length. It states that the best resource on how to get your tenses right is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations, which teaches you how to change "is" to such bizarre constructions as "wioll haven be" and has tenses for even very specific situations (like how to describe something you would have experienced in the future, but which you avoided by traveling through time). The problem is that the book is described as "an exceptionally dull read," and so many readers give up at the same spot (the section on Future Semi-Conditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional tense, to be specific) that later copies of the book have blank pages after that point to save on printing costs. The only useful thing to come out of the book is the discovery that the future perfect tense is actually invalid, because it was "discovered not to be."
    • An excerpt from Mostly Harmless describes causality thus:
      Anything that happens, happens. Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again. It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
  • Due to the non-linear narrative structure of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, this happens with the narrator, who is aware of the non-linearity. As the book goes on, several of the characters fall victim to this trope after becoming effectively Unstuck in Time.
  • Etsugoya and Tsubakihara in The Impossible Stairwell both have some trouble with tenses before deciding to "just pick one tense and stick to it".
  • Johnny and the Bomb has a few instances of this when everyone's back in 1941.
    "There's an old windmill up there. It was some kind of look-out post during the war. Is, I mean."
  • Land of Oz: In Paradox in Oz by Edward Einhorn (1999), Ozma travels in time with the assistance of a Parrot-Ox, and finds out that there are two kinds of time she can travel in: "Oz time" and "Ozma time", the former being travel through the timeline of the entire land of Oz, while the latter is travel within her own personal timeline (letting her undo things she did, including other time-traveling).
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's Norby's Other Secret: Norby and Jeff get mixed up on "before" and "after" when it comes to personal history versus objective history, but both times it gets handwaved away with the other people in the conversation saying that they understood the intent and to get on with the explanation.
  • In Oracle of Tao there are at least two examples:
    • Ambrosia gets stuck in a town that is trapped in the present. As people have memories, past tense is used, but at some point it seems like the author gave up in frustration.
    • Yazim sends his current girlfriend back in time to drop off a gift to Ambrosia. We get this passage...
      I don't remember making it for her, but obviously some point in the near future this will happen in her past.
  • The Narnia Time in effect between the territories in The Pendragon Adventure occasionally causes this sort of trouble. Usually involving rookie Travelers (we're looking at you, Spader and Siry).
  • Referenced in a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel about the Department of Temporal Investigations, which deals heavily with the logic and philosophy behind this trope. It concludes that the simplest solution is to look at things from the perspective of someone outside time and pretend everything is happening at once, and as such simply use present tense for everything. Instead of subjective and loosely-defined words like past, present, and future, Time Cops use "uptime" (forward) and "downtime" (backward) to describe relative distances in time, similar to how one might use north and south to refer to relative distances on a sphere.
  • In H. G. Wells' The Time Machine the narrator faces this problem of where someone is/was/will be. When the (unnamed) Time Traveler disappears at the end the narrator wonders if he went into the past or future and says "He may even now (if I may use that term) be wandering on a prehistoric reef."
  • Averted in Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories. In those stories, the Patrol developed an artificial language, called Temporal, which allowed Patrolmen to discuss such matters without any of the tense problems raised in this trope. Since only Time Patrolmen learned and used Temporal, it also served as a way that Patrolmen could speak between themselves without risk of being overheard (or more accurately, understood) by others.
  • Time Scout makes this easy. It's running on a lot of different San Dimas Time portals to the past. If a portal leads to 1888 and the time travelers are talking about an event in 1889, they use the future tense. When they're talking about the future/present, they just use the present tense.
  • The Time Warp Trio book 2095 has the Trio return from the future and decide they need to leave a Time Capsule for their grandkids to complete a Stable Time Loop "or else they won't be able to save us before now ... or is it after then?"
  • Whoniverse: The Past Doctor Adventures novel Imperial Moon explicitly features the Fifth Doctor regretting that the English language doesn't have the right tenses for time travel when he says "We will have been here before" after the TARDIS has just materialised on the Moon in the twenty-first century due to crossing their own temporal wake of a journey they will make to the Moon in 1878 in the TARDIS's own personal future.
  • Young Wizards universe:
    • In the Young Wizards series itself, it's mentioned in passing that the Speech, the Language of Magic with which reality was written, does have the words to deal with thing like this, including talking about something in the past which used to be but no longer is due to the past having been changed.
    • In the Book of Night with Moon Arhu, a visionary, says, " Au, Rhiow, the way we talk about time doesn't work for talking about vision. I need new words or something!" Presumably he has not learned enough of the Speech yet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 12 Monkeys is surprisingly light on these for a show with, on average, half a dozen instances of time travel per episode, but there are a few. In the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode (2x08):
    Jennifer: Hey! I didn't see either of you two yester-today.
  • From Babylon 5's second Time Travel episode comes the following line:
    John Sheridan: The question of who stole Babylon 4 is one of the greatest mysteries in Earth military history! And you're telling me it was... me!? Uh, is me? Is going to be me?
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in The Big Bang Theory, thanks to Sheldon's... eccentricities... when the guys are trying to figure out the timeline of Back to the Future Part II.
    Sheldon: Wait, whoa whoa. Is "placed" right? Is "placed" the right tense for something that would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something in the future?
    Leonard: Had will have placed?
    Sheldon: That's my boy.
  • Charmed:
    • The sisters (Prue in particular) in always run into difficulty when trying to get their heads around the concept of tenses when time travel is involved.
      Prue: We barely got away as it was... Is. Will be. You know, I've never been good with tenses.
    • The series finale "Forever Charmed" contains the immortal line, "Something very bad has happened in the future."
  • In Day Break, Brett often ran into this whenever he tried to explain the "Groundhog Day" Loop to another character.
    Chad: When did I say this?
    Brett: Today.
    Chad: Wait, how many todays ago?
    Brett: Yesterday.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Shada":
      Chronotis: I am, I was, I will be, Professor Chronotis. Oh dear... we Gallifreyans have never managed to come up with a satisfactory form of grammar to cover these situations.
    • "The Two Doctors": The Sixth Doctor comments on the Second Doctor in this convoluted way.
      Sixth Doctor: Your Doctor is an antediluvian fogey! Allowing himself to be captured by the Sontarans. If anything happens to me as a result of it, I shall never forgive himself.
      Peri: Oh, I do wish you'd stop switching personal pronouns!
    • Dead Ringers features "Christmas Day with Doctor Who":
      Seventh Doctor: An anti-gravitation matter transmitter. Didn't you give me this next year?
    • "The Parting of the Ways" has a non-comedic use: Rose is sent back home to avoid a bloodbath taking place in the future. Jackie brushes it off, but it tears Rose up enough that she tears up other things...
    • "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" is the Doctor's first encounter with River Song, but far from her first encounter with him. As a result, she experiences this trope when she talks about her relationship with him since that's all in his future.
    • "The Beast Below": Amy ends up encountering this, telling a little girl she's getting married "a long time ago tomorrow morning." Which does technically make sense in the same way as "a week tomorrow" (specifically, she'd gone forwards in time from the night before her wedding).
    • "The Vampires of Venice":
      • The Doctor says the girls are like Houdini: "He was shorter. Will be shorter. I'm rambling..."
      • Rory says he's getting married in 430 years... which is why they have to have this conversation RIGHT NOW.
    • "The Pandorica Opens":
      Amy: No, but you told the Doctor you'd see him again when the Pandorica opens.
      River: Maybe I did. But I haven't yet. But I will have.
    • "The Big Bang": Even a Time Lord has trouble sometimes:
      The Doctor: You need to get me out of the Pandorica.
      Rory: But you're not in the Pandorica.
      The Doctor: Yes I am. Well I'm not now but I was back then. Well. Back now from your point of view. Which is back then from my point of view. Time travel, you can't keep it straight in your head.
    • In the short comic relief specials "Space" and "Time", Rory and Amy get to meet their past (future?) selves, and get confused when explaining that the Doctor will tell them to go back, to tell themselves this, in order to make a Stable Time Loop.
    • "The Doctor's Wife": Idris, in addition to liking biting ("It's like kissing, only there's a winner!") has some initial trouble clarifying her tenses. It makes sense, since she's the spirit of the Doctor's vehicle trapped within a flesh body. She jumps across space and time without regard to those silly simian concepts of past, present, and future.
    • Some fan attempts to translate the strange "Circular Gallifreyan" script seen in the new series have come to the conclusion that the language is not meant to be read linearly, but circularly. Words and sentences share tangential relationship to each other rather than flowing in straight lines. It would make talking about time travel easier, but also makes it nearly untranslatable for us linear, three-dimensional humans.
  • In Goodnight Sweetheart time traveler Gary Sparrow (who is married in the present day but is having an affair with a woman in 1940s Britain) upbraids his friend for cheating on his wife. When the obvious hypocrisy is pointed out to him, Gary replies "That's different. All my indiscretions are in the past. Even my future indiscretions are in the past."
  • Topical Panel Games like Have I Got News for You also get confused by tenses when describing something that might happen between recording and broadcast (and might have changed by the repeat. And heaven knows what'll be happening by the time it's on Dave...) Sometimes averted by having a special Friday Morning recording, usually so an election’s results are known...
    Iain: Amazing the candor a politician can show!
    Lembit Opik: I'm not a politician any more — I can do what I like!
  • Lost: In Season 5, Hurley completely fails to understand how a Stable Time Loop works, thinking that characters who are time-travelling can't die because they're in the past, which Miles, much to his frustration, has to explain is not the case.
    Hurley: Aha! I can't shoot you, because if you die in 1977 then you'll never come back to the Island on the freighter thirty years from now!
    Miles: I can die, because I've already come to the Island on the freighter!
  • Poked fun at on Mystery Science Theater 3000 when they were going through a time rift. Have you seen my chicken puppet?
  • In an episode of Quantum Leap, Sam leaps into the past version of his friend and helper Al; early on, Al has a bit of tense trouble relating to his younger self ("I think I'm... I mean, he thinks I'm my uncle.") Eventually Sam suggests that they refer to Young Al as "Bingo", which was his Air Force callsign.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In "Future Echoes":
      Lister: Hey, it hasn't happened, has it? It has "will have going to have happened" happened, but it hasn't actually "happened" happened yet, hactually [sic].
      Rimmer: Poppycock! It will be happened; it shall be going to be happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken place in the future. Simple as that. Your bucket's been kicked, baby.
    • After being erased by the inquisitor:
      Lister: We don't exist here anymore!
      Kryten: Actually sir, we don't ever have existed here anymore, but this is hardly the time to be conjugating temporal verbs in the past impossible never tense!
    Truth in Television — The tenses were so difficult that Robert Llewellyn, playing Kryten, kept flubbing the line and eventually had to have a cue-card held up out of shot... and then the line was cut anyway. It only resurfaced as they showed the final correct take after all the bloopers in the Smeg Ups collection.
    • At the beginning of "Tikka To Ride", Lister tries to explain how they recovered being killed by their future selves. The basic premise is easy enough (well, "easy"...), but Lister's grammar is so awful that the cameras keep exploding on him.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • In the episode "Relativity":
        Braxton: Thanks to you, we've learned that the temporal disruptor was and will be concealed here. I gave up trying to keep my tenses straight years ago.
      • And at the end of the episode:
        Janeway: [returning to Voyager from the 29th Century] See you in the 24th Century.
        Seven of Nine: I look forward to it. Or should I say backward?
        Janeway: Don't start.
      • Captain Janeway will happily deal with negative space wedgies all day long, but she hates dealing with time travel for precisely this reason.
    • So does Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
      Few hours older Miles: If you feel bad and you're my past self, shouldn't I feel bad too?
      Both O'Briens in unison: I hate temporal mechanics.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time Squared", Picard must try to find a way to prevent the destruction of the Enterprise that he knows is coming.
      Picard: We must anticipate, and try not to make the same mistake... once.
    • At the conclusion of "Time's Arrow", Picard bids farewell to Guinan of the 19th Century.
      Guinan: I'll see you in 500 years, Picard.
      Picard: And I'll see you... in a few minutes.
    • Captain Archer of Star Trek: Enterprise isn't too fond of temporal grammar either.
      Archer: So you're telling me you brought me back... what, ten months ago? What about Jonathan Archer ten months ago? Where's he?
      Daniels: He's you.
      Archer: Then who just climbed into bed aboard Enterprise?
      Daniels: That hasn't happened yet.
      Archer: That's a load of crap and you know it.
  • Supernatural: In the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode "Mystery Spot", Sam, the only one who has experienced the loop, asks Dean, in what would become a Memetic Mutation:
    Sam: Yesterday was Tuesday, right? But today is Tuesday, too!
  • In Top Gear, when James May described a Saab, while wondering if Saab was going to go out of business before the show was broadcast:
    James May: They say, or said, that it's based on a jet fighter, or was, but it isn't wasn't.

  • Played with in The Dark Knight RiffTrax:
    Gordon: We've found his next target. He's put it in tomorrow's newspaper.
    Kevin: Then we'd have been too late. If only there will be something we could do.
  • The Gemini arc of Sequinox sees the girls sent to a Gothic Horror world which is also based on Victorian England. The group has trouble figuring out how things worked "back in the now".

  • As with the panel games examples in Live—Action Television. The News Quiz lampshades the folly of having a Topical Panel Show being recorded on a Thursday for broadcast on a Friday as one the most anticipatable news events frequently occurs on a Thursday, an election in the UK. Leading to having to predict (Read:bluff) the result to perform gags accordingly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Continuum invents a time-travellers' jargon with terms regarding your personal "spanner" timeline being separate from terms used in the general "leveller" timeline. Things in your subjective past are in your "age", while things in your subjective future are in your "yet". When talking about objective time, things are either "Up" or "Down"; the year 2000, for example, is Up from the year 1990. All events except those in your personal past require the present tense, since in a second, they may be your "now" too.
  • Genius: The Transgression runs into this once it starts talking about time travel; when discussing the consequences of changing the past it says that "what used to happen (and here the past tense gets into a bit of trouble), is that you got your ass kicked by the transsapient gods who live at the end of time."
  • Averted in one place in Gurps Time-Travel by saying that there are two timelines for the adventurer, the time he came from "hometime" and the time he is adventuring in; and Hometime keeps going while the adventurer was adventuring. Thus all that is necessary is to distinguish between home past and away past.
  • In Time Agent the objective is to have always been winning by using time travel to have changed the past, while never having had time travel invented. The flow of causality operates according to the Schrödinger's Gun trope, which means that technologies often work until you discover that even before you had been making changes to the timeline, they had never been working. In one instance the player commander of the Zytal had to leave and be replaced by another player, but from the board's perspective, the new player had always been the commander of the Zytal, for the previous commander had never been playing.

    Video Games 
  • The Achron fandom made a little of their own grammar to explain stuff in the game. They talk about game-time and real-time (also referred to as "time" and "metatime"), and refer to units and events as early or late. When they specify when something happened, they use an ordered pair for the time.
  • Anachronist implies that every mage who tries to investigate the mysteries of time is inevitably driven mad by the mixing of verb tenses.
    The ranger teams have done the hard work and the rogue chronomage is now in custody. Hurray! the world is saved and all that. Except taking down the wizard just means he isn't going to destroy the universe in a giant temporal paradox, there's no guarantee he hasn't already destroyed the universe. That's the problem with time travel, you never know if the past has already happened. At least you can always count on the future having not happened since otherwise you'd remember it happening (unless of course it happened in a past that hasn't happened yet, but that hardly ever happens).
  • A boss in Avernum 5 summons two future versions of himself to assist him, and he does his best to keep his grammar consistent when shouting orders to them. He loses track and starts rambling when you kill both future selves and screw up the timeline.
  • BioShock Infinite:
    • The Luteces casually lampshade and debate this in front of Booker DeWitt. Their discussion is very confusing.
      Robert: I told you they'd come.
      Rosalind: No, you didn't.
      Robert: Right. I was going to tell you they'd come.
      Rosalind: But you didn't.
      Robert: But I don't.
      Rosalind: You sure that's right?
      Robert: I was going to have told you they'd come?
      Rosalind: No.
      Robert: The subjunctive?
      Rosalind: That's not the subjunctive.
      Robert: I don't think the syntax has been invented yet.
      Rosalind: It would have had to have had been.
      Robert: "Had to have... had... been?" That can't be right.
    • Also, in the game's intro, Robert notes that Booker "doesn't row". He means that (looking from a future perspective) Booker never rows, in any of the timelines. Rosalind misinterprets this as "Booker doesn't know how to row, isn't a rower".
      Rosalind: Why?
      Robert: Because he doesn't row.
      Rosalind: He doesn't ROW?!
      Robert: No. He doesn't row.
      Rosalind: Ah. I see what you mean.
  • City of Heroes:
    • Mender Lazarus has trouble with tenses.
      This doesn't make any sense to me. My readings tell me that your Temporal Scaling isn't strong enough yet to support the mission I had planned for you. But you've already done the mission. I know. I was there.
    • Made even worse because he's also in contact with a nearly infinite number of alternate selves, some of whom passed the local universe's Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Exist time travel brick wall.
    • Diviner Maros of the Circle of Thorns exists at all points over a 14,000 year period simultaneously. Your conversations with him can be very confusing, even to him.
  • Discworld lets players go back and forth between the past and the present. If you try to use an item that needs to be used at that place but in a different time, Rincewind will say "Try again later. Or earlier."
  • At the end of Final Fantasy:
    Garland/Chaos: Two thousand years from now, you killed me.
  • Lampshaded, like everything else, in Kingdom of Loathing. At the beginning of time, all messages are prefaced by "you remember" followed by a past participle or past perfect; the Distant Past switches off between first-person present and third-person past (because you're inhabiting the memories of your ancestor) seemingly at random, and the exposition upon arriving in the future for the first time starts out in future tense before saying "You will then start getting your narrative in present tense, because it's the future, we get it, no need to run that joke into the ground."
  • In Legacy Of Heroes, Shimmerstorm speaks exclusively in this.
    Shimmerstorm: Like I'll tell you yesterday, I was ready.
  • In The Longest Journey, one of the species April encounters in Arcadia perceives the timeline all at once, and so has a horrible time keeping tenses straight when speaking to more temporally limited creatures.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time naturally falls victim to this trope during the final boss fight. Among the banter we find this: "It happened! ... Well, it will happen!" referring to the events of the game being experienced, rewound, and then about to happen (again?) if the Prince doesn't do something about it.
  • The opening cutscene to Spider-Man: Edge of Time. "Earlier... in the future." This is also lampshaded in a funny moment when the two Spider-Men end up in each other's time periods:
    Amazing Spider-Man: [after the time rift shifts and creates a deadlier path] O'Hara, can you do something to help me in the present?
    Spider-Man 2099: Which present? You're in my present. You mean your past present or my present future?
    Amazing Spider-Man: ...I hate you.
  • Sunless Sea: Irem is... strange. It borders on some sort of Behind-the-mirror Dream Land, enough so that it manages to exist without actually having been founded yet. It's going to exist, but right now doesn't, and yet you can still visit it. Practically every sentence referring to it has verb trouble, and if you turn in a Port Report to the admiral he practically gets a headache just thinking about the right tenses.
  • Tasokare Hotel: In Chapter 8, this exchange takes place when Neko opens Kiriko's box to send Osoto to hell.
    Masaki Osoto: I remember now! In the future, I went to hell because of you!
    Neko Tsukahara: Your English grammar is wrong!
  • In World of Warcraft expansion Burning Crusade, a quest mob you can fight is a large creature called Banthar. In Warlords of Draenor, which takes place in the past of this same area, a person who sends you after Banthar on a quest has this to say:
    They have Banthar here! Or rather, she's still alive back now. Did what I just said make any sense?

    Web Animation 
  • Parsley Boobs has this exchange between the future counterparts of Carl and Steve; The joke being that he's using incorrect number and person, not tense.
    Steve: Close the door! Don't you know he suffers from amblyopia?
    Future Carl: Yes I do... for I are he! Only, I'm from the future.
    Future Steve: You know, I really do think it's "I AM he".
    Future Carl: It's all this time traveling! It really confuses me as to what tense we should be using!

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • After Sarda does something to Berserker when he attacked him:
      Sarda: He's gone to a better place.
      Cleric: Like, metaphorically, or...
      Sarda: No. Like the beach. But not the moon.
      Ranger: Am I the only one confused by that?
      Rogue: I'm a little lost on the whole beach/moon thing as well.
      Cleric: Sir, could you be more specific? Thanks.
      Sarda: Absolutely. He is locked in perpetual orbit around a point three seconds to the left of the future.
      [beat panel]
      Ranger: That didn't help me.
      Rogue: He was specific. You have to give him that.
      Cleric: What does that mean?
      Sarda: It means there's not much point talking about him.
      Cleric: That doesn't make sense. Things don't just happen. I demand a rational explanation.
      Sarda: Your brain can't process six of the verb tenses needed to explain it to you.
    • Later, again from Sarda:
      Sarda: You can't do something you haven't yet done differently than how it will come to be done.
      Fighter: That was the most confusing thing I've heard in my life.
  • Bob and George:
    • A truly memorable example occurs referencing Hitchhiker's Guide (the comic in question is indeed titled "Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional"), as Bob, trapped in the future, tries to find out from Prometheus/Protoman how he gets back to the present:
      Bob: Okay, if I told you what I did, how did I get back?
      Prometheus: Don't you mean, if you will tell me what you will do, how will you get back?
      [beat panel]
      Bob: How about, if you won't tell me how I did get back, I will shove my boot up your ass?
    • Of course, most of this ends up being stated by four simple words: "I hate Time Travel."
  • Com'c:
    • Not in-universe, but The Rant is occasionally written the day before the strips are posted. Usually when this happens, Krixwell (the author) starts off with a comment where "yesterday", "today" and "tomorrow" are essentially equivalent. From the commentary for str'p #41:
      Tomorrow, I'll be continuing what I started two days ago by writing this yesterday, i.e. today. For the record, tomorrow is today, because today is yesterday. Did you see thisnote , which was written after this but posted yesterday?
      Meanwhile, I'm off to do whatever I'll be doing yesterday.
      P.S. yesterday: [...]
    • In-universe example (that might count as an aversion or downplayed?): John's New Year's resolution is "to make a time machine and go see the dinosaurs before/after their butterfly accident.
  • In one Dinosaur Comic, T-Rex likes to assume every unknown historical figure is, in fact, himself on a time travel ("It sounds rad to me!")
    Utahraptor: ...I see. So if I said that nobody knows who the historical King Arthur is?
    T-Rex: I'd say "that's me!" His exploits shall be going to have been being done by me!
    Utahraptor: Future perfect continuous passive?
    T-Rex: Ahem. Future perfect continuous passive, BITCHES.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this is encountered during a discussion about Star Trek.
  • Girl Genius: An extradimensional being that the English conspirators summon has a very difficult time working out what verbs to use in its sentences. The facts that the summoning and the being's own nature are altering the local flow of time don't help either.
  • Grrl Power: Sydney and Krona have a bit of trouble after the latter's "checkpoint" has activated.
    Krona: But first you need to tell us what you experienced. As the person who triggered the checkpoint, you're the only one who remembers what happened.
    Or... will have happened?
    Sydney: Would have happened.
    Krona: Will would happen.
    Sydney: Might happen?
  • Homestuck:
    • And even meanerwhile, in the present. Sort of.
    • "But it looks like there's already been some action in here. Or there will be. You can never take tense for granted with these goons."
    • "It begins to dawn on you that everything you are about to do may prove to have been a colossal waste of time."
    • In her logs to her past selves, Aradia is fond of referring to things that "we will and have already" done.
    • Thanks to the timebending properties of the Trolls' chat client, this is practically guaranteed in any conversation between the Trolls and Kids, or in the Trolls' memos.
    • And, of course, the word "understooding", which in the book version prompts a note from the author saying that the benefit of writing a time travel story is making up new tenses, and which he defines as "an inflection of 'to understand' wherein one is currently in the process of understanding something while existing in the past".
  • Irregular Webcomic! has one here. Of course, Nazi scienc— wait, grammar sneers at it.
    "When we will have done what we soon will did do in die past, you will see die results of what we have now already will have done!"
  • Luigi has to deal with a combination of this and a bratty teenager when talking to his daughter in L's Empire.
    Luigi: Now you listen here young lady, I'm going to teach you better manners than that.
    Rosa: Shut up, you're not my dad...
    Luigi: What?
    Rosa: Yet.
  • Narbonic: Dave, a long-time chain-smoker, travels back in time and alters the past so that he never started smoking. Later, when he mentions this, his co-workers give him odd looks and comment, "Dave, you never smoked." In the Director's Cut commentary, loyal readers from the comic's first run, when they saw Dave smoking in the early strips, inevitably commented, "Say... Dave never smoked!" "Yes, but he hasn't never smoked yet!"
  • This Doctor Who parody from Scenes from a Multiverse features "That's OK, I'll try you again yesterday!"
  • In Schlock Mercenary, a duplicate of Kevyn Andreyasn created by time travel meeting his past self results in the pronoun trouble version as well as the verb tense issue.
  • In Simulated Comic Product: Behold! the museum of the future!
  • In this strip from the Doctor Who comic The Stalker of Norfolk, new companion Beverly attempts to talk about someone from her personal past.
  • Described in The Rant for this Touhou Nekokayou, where it divides temporal conversation between "subjective" (what the time traveler personally experience), "objective" (chronological order), and "metatemporal" (the perspective of changes made to the timeline).

    Web Original 
  • Chris Sims of Comics Alliance describes one Plot Thread in the X-Men: The Animated Series: "Beyond Good and Evil" storyline thusly:
    [Cable and Tyler] are, of course, trying to kill Apocalypse before/after/during his plot to kidnap all the psychics, which may or may not have already succeeded/failed in the future that happened last week. So they need to steal a time machine.
  • Examined and refuted by Things of Interest in detail here.
  • From Wikipedia's article on the MIT Time Traveler Convention: "The spacetime coordinates continue to be publicized prominently and indefinitely, so that future time travelers will be aware and have the opportunity to have attended."

    Western Animation 
  • Paradox from Ben 10: Alien Force has this problem; more specifically, it's the fact he seems to mix up events that haven't happened yet with events that have.
    Paradox: [to Ben] You're much smarter now than when I first met you later.
  • Ditto for Clockwork on Danny Phantom:
    Clockwork: I sent him back to his own time... or should I say, forward to his own time? You see, for me, time moves backwards, and forwards, and... oh, why am I bothering? You're fourteen.
  • Parodied on Family Guy when Stewie and Brian travel through time.
    Stewie: Now we just got to figure out where we are.
    Brian: Or WHEN we are.
    Stewie: Oh, that's such a douche time traveler thing to say.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Time Keeps on Slippin", Professor Farnsworth describes unpredictable bursts of Mental Time Travel in a way that conveys they're accelerating but is no less mind-bending to parse literally.
      Farnsworth: At this rate, by Tuesday it will be Thursday. By Wednesday, it will be August. And by Thursday, it will be the end of existence as we know it.
    • In "The Farnsworth Parabox," an analogous situation arises while discussing parallel worlds. As Professor Farnsworth-A is arguing with Professor Farnsworth-1 about the accusation that one of them is evil and wants to destroy the opposing universe:
      Farnsworth-A: Nonsense! I would never do such a thing, unless you were already having been going to do that!
      Farnsworth-1: ...wha?
      Farnsworth-A: You heard me!
    • In a scene parodying Minority Report, Fry's reaction when discovering he will commit a crime:
      Fry: No, no! What have I will have done?
  • Gravity Falls: Parodied in "The Time Traveler's Pig" when Dipper and Mabel accidentally trigger Blendin Blandin's time travel device, taking them back to the 1800s. Both being Genre Savvy, they end up undermining the other's point.
    Dipper: When are we?
    Mabel: (dramatically) The real question is, when are we? (pause) Oh wait, did you already - ?
    Dipper: Yeah, I already -
    Mabel: Alright.
  • In Kim Possible: In A Sitch in Time, Shego's future self tries to explain her scheme to take over the world in the future to her present self.
    Future Shego: Listen, we don't have a lot of time... OK, actually we do — well... we will.
    Present Shego: When you wanna make sense, just let me know.
    Future Shego: Grab the Time Monkey!
    Present Shego: Why?
    Future Shego: You need the Time Monkey.
    Present Shego: Can't I just use yours?
    Future Shego: No, this is mine! OK, well, actually, it's yours too, I mean... well it's the one you're supposed to steal, so technically...
    Present Shego: If you need me, I'm gonna be in there watching Kim Possible lose.
    Kim Possible: But if the Supreme One has the time monkey in the future... or the past... or... Wow. Aah! Brain pain.
    Rufus 3000: Time travel does that.
  • Invoked without time travel in King. In an episode where King Russel and his friends are charged with a crime they haven't done yet by the Future Infractions Bureau. While on the run and figuring out what they will have done (which is not kicking the shin of an alien ambassador, starting a quickly-lost galactic war), to keep themselves off the F.I.B.'s radars (which track all usage of future tenses), they intentionally screw up their verb tenses and only referred to future events with past or present tenses. There were a couple slip-ups, followed by an F.I.B. ambush.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "It's About Time": Twilight Sparkle receives a message from herself a week in the future, and the state of her future self (wearing a torn black jumpsuit, her mane all messed up, and with an eyepatch and a scar on her cheek) causes her to worry: "What a mess she is. Or I am... or will be!" It turns out her future self was trying to tell her not to panic (which caused her to panic anyway). After she goes back in time to try and deliver her original message, she realizes what just happened and says "Now I'm going to have to worry for a whole week!" despite the fact that for her the ordeal has passed.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Last Day of Summer" features a "Groundhog Day" Loop, which results in Doofenshmirtz and Candace having occasional trouble with tenses. It is probably best exemplified in their song:
    Doof and Candace: If I get it wrong this afternoon, I'll get it right today when tomorrow is this morning again.
  • In this scene from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "Timing Is Everything", the Turtles receive a message from their future selves, as well as a reminder to send the message to their past selves when they will have reached that point in the future.


Video Example(s):


Had Will Have Placed

The guys try to figure out the timeline of "Back to the Future Part II"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TimeTravelTenseTrouble

Media sources: