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  1. #1
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    When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in the pa

    Hi,

    Could you please tell me when to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in the past.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    A standard way to write a story would be in the past.

    However, when we're telling a story, we often switch back and forth between present and past, to draw the listeners into the story.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    When you are getting close to one of the main scenes of the story, as if you are acting that scene, you might suddenly shift to the present tense. That also happens when you start to describe a place or a person or a situation in the middle of your story.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    It depends how long a written story is to me; if it's short, chpping back and forwards between the present and the past can be a bit confusing, but it can bring the reader closer to the story (in theory).

  5. #5
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    Thanks all for your useful responses. But I wonder if we have references?

  6. #6
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferdie11 View Post
    Thanks all for your useful responses. But I wonder if we have references?
    I wonder why you want references? Two teachers and a writer have given you their responses.

  7. #7
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    I just wanted to read more about this topic.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    Some people call it the historical present.

  9. #9
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    Re: When to use present tense and past tense when telling a story that happened in th

    Thank you, Tdol. I really appreciate it.

    I just wonder why some people call it the historical present. Shouldn't we all call it the historical present?
    Last edited by Ferdie11; 17-Mar-2011 at 22:30.

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