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  1. #1
    Ryan Guest

    Default Present/Past tense

    Please look at the sentences below and let me know if I have used the
    past/present tense (where I have put the * marks) correctly.

    1.
    Lily: I saw Mary last week.
    Jessica: Mary? *Wasn't* she the one who sat next to you last year?
    Lily: No, that *was* Maggy. Mary *was* the one who dropped out of college
    last week. She is now working for a famous publisher.

    2.
    The man that lived here before us *is* a famous writer. He published his
    100th book yesterday.

    3.
    The woman that lived here before us *was* a teacher. I met her yesterday in
    the street and she told me that she had resigned from her job two days
    before.

    4.
    Jack: Only one company was taken over last year.
    Matt: *Was* X the company which was taken last year?

    5.
    David: Look at this photo. That *is* the castle which we visited on the
    first day of our trip. And those *are* the children we met. They were living
    near the castle.
    Lina: Oh, look at the child in the middle. *Isn't* he cute?

    6.
    The postcard that came this morning *was* from Aunt Mary.

    7.
    X: The man you saw at yesterday's party *was* David's father.
    Y: I know. David told me that when I met him this morning.

    8.
    At a restaurant yesterday...
    I *thought* I knew the waiter who served us. I tried hard but I couldn't
    remember his name.

    9.
    Now...
    I *think* I know the waiter who just served us. I will now walk up to him
    and say 'Hi'.

    10.
    X: You should have asked the right person for the sales figues.
    Y: I did. The sales manager *was* the person from whom I got the figues.

    11.
    A: Last week, I met a man who works for a bank.
    B: What *is* his name?
    A: I don't know. But I know that his wife *is* the person who is going to
    interview you tomorrow.

    12.
    It *is* he who wrote the software in 1980. He is now living in Canada.
    It *was* he who wrote the software in 1980. He passed away last year.

    13.
    Barcelona *was* the city that hosted the Olympic games in 19XX.

    14.
    The picture, which was destroyed in the fire, *was* worth millions of
    pounds.

    15.
    The woman who just walked past *is* Mrs Harper. Mrs Harper was our Managing
    Director between 1985 and 1990. She *was* the only woman to have become the
    Managing Director of our company.

    Thank you. :D

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    In number 3, I'd be tempted to put 'used to be'. In 12, the 'it is' structure seems a bit clumsy and unnecessary.

  3. #3
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    7.
    X: The man you saw at yesterday's party *was* David's father.
    Y: I know. David told me that when I met him this morning.
    I might say "is" there. (After all, he is no doubt, still David's father.) However, I wouldn't consider "was" incorrect in that sentence.


    • A: Remember that man you saw yesterday at the party?
      B: Yes?
      A: He's David's father. (He's = he is)



    11.
    A: Last week, I met a man who works for a bank.
    B: What *is* his name?
    A: I don't know. But I know that his wife *is* the person who is going to interview you tomorrow.
    I don't think anybody would say "What was his name?" (But I could be wrong.)


    13.
    Barcelona *was* the city that hosted the Olympic games in 19XX.
    I would say "is" here, and I consider "was" incorrect. Barcelona is the city that hosted the Olympic games in 1992. That is a status that is unchangeable.

    (I agree with TDOL about #12, but "is" is certainly correct there.)

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