This study examines the choice of tense, aspect and mood categories in subordinate clauses as a function of the utterance meaning, as well as the grammatical (or morphosyntactic), lexical, semantic and pragmatic components of Bulgarian. The data have been taken from contemporary Bulgarian prose and tested extensively with native speakers of Bulgarian. Sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic factors are included in the discussion. The study provides not only a resource for real language data, but also addresses the theoretical implications of a "context" approach. It is intended for both the Slavic and general linguist, and a knowledge of Bulgarian is not assumed.