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  1. mamen's Avatar
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    #1

    Post present tense

    According to my teacher this implies that the person is writing today.

    "The person writes a letter today"

    Is this correct?

  2. Junior Member
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    #2

    Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mamen View Post
    According to my teacher this implies that the person is writing today.

    "The person writes a letter today"

    Is this correct?
    Hi

    This is actually an interesting question. First, though, I don't think "implies" is the right word to use. "Imply" means to say something indirectly but using "today" to mean "today" is pretty direct. Have a look at these two examples:

    A. I'll write it today.
    B. I'll write it in a few minutes.

    Obviously A tells us directly that it will be written today. Sentence B, on the other hand, strongly implies that it will be written today (because "in a few minutes" is unlikely to take us into tomorrow) but it says so indirectly. Is that clear?

    So, going back to the original question, in a sense your teacher is right. The sentence "The person writes a letter today" does mean that the person is writing today. However, it probably doesn't mean that the person is writing now. Most likely this sentence implies that the person will write the letter later today. In other words, this usage of the simple present is actually used to show a future action.

    Finally, a more natural sentence would be "The person writes a the letter today." The reason is that it is likely this is a specific person who needs to write a specific letter. The use of the indefinite article "a" suggests that the person is writing an unspecified letter and that would not be so natural.

    I hope this helps.

  3. mamen's Avatar
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    #3

    Post Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by crclee View Post
    Hi

    This is actually an interesting question. First, though, I don't think "implies" is the right word to use. "Imply" means to say something indirectly but using "today" to mean "today" is pretty direct. Have a look at these two examples:

    A. I'll write it today.
    B. I'll write it in a few minutes.

    Obviously A tells us directly that it will be written today. Sentence B, on the other hand, strongly implies that it will be written today (because "in a few minutes" is unlikely to take us into tomorrow) but it says so indirectly. Is that clear?

    So, going back to the original question, in a sense your teacher is right. The sentence "The person writes a letter today" does mean that the person is writing today. However, it probably doesn't mean that the person is writing now. Most likely this sentence implies that the person will write the letter later today. In other words, this usage of the simple present is actually used to show a future action.

    Finally, a more natural sentence would be "The person writes a the letter today." The reason is that it is likely this is a specific person who needs to write a specific letter. The use of the indefinite article "a" suggests that the person is writing an unspecified letter and that would not be so natural.

    I hope this helps.
    Thanks lot

    If I'll change today to now.

    e.g. The person writes the letter now.

    Would this mean that the person is writing now.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mamen View Post
    Thanks lot

    If I'll change today to now.

    e.g. The person writes the letter now.

    Would this mean that the person is writing now.
    If you want to say that something is happening now, use the present continuous:
    The person is writing the letter now.

  5. mamen's Avatar
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    #5

    Post Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    If you want to say that something is happening now, use the present continuous:
    The person is writing the letter now.
    Teachers,
    When I asked my teacher she said that this sentence is grammatically correct. Is she right?

    Sentence: The person is writing the letter now.

    If she is write, what would that imply then?

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: present tense

    I agree with bhai,

    Only "The person is writing" sounds natural with "now."

    To use the present simple, it needs to be a repeated action.

    He writes a letter to his brother every day.

    If he is writing "the" letter, then it's a specific letter, and doesn't go well with the idea of doing something repeatedly.

    You're teacher is right, and the "is writing" version is correct.

    It states clearly (it doesn't "imply") that the writing of the letter is happening now.
    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.

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    #7

    Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mamen View Post
    According to my teacher this implies that the person is writing today.

    "The person writes a letter today"

    Is this correct?
    The reason it is difficult to analyse this sentence (and decide whether it implies something or not) is that it is out of context. Do you see anybody in the streets simply starting saying, or shouting "The person writes a letter today." ? (Of course the situation in which you are in deep thought thinking about English tenses/sentences and suddenly shouts is ruled out). Try to always contextualize your examples, that is how language works.

    PS Not a native speaker

  7. mamen's Avatar
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    #8

    Post Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I agree with bhai,

    Only "The person is writing" sounds natural with "now."

    To use the present simple, it needs to be a repeated action.

    He writes a letter to his brother every day.

    If he is writing "the" letter, then it's a specific letter, and doesn't go well with the idea of doing something repeatedly.

    You're teacher is right, and the "is writing" version is correct.

    It states clearly (it doesn't "imply") that the writing of the letter is happening now.
    Sorry but this is what my teacher told me?
    What I posted was wrong?

    Sentence: I write a letter now.

  8. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mamen View Post
    Sorry but this is what my teacher told me?
    What I posted was wrong?

    Sentence: I write a letter now.
    I'm afraid your teacher is wrong, it should be "I am writing a letter now".

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