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  1. Banned
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Feb 2008
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    #1

    Can a sentence consist of past and present tenses?

    Dear teachers,

    I wrote this in my dairy:
    The story happened a few days ago.
    The item offerer is a Chinese, and he only accepted payment through traditional Bank.

    I used present tense for the first part of the second sentence:
    "The item offerer is a Chinese,"
    and I used past tense for the second part:
    "and he only accepted payment through traditional Bank."
    Is this correct?

    I used present tense for the first part of the second sentence,
    because I think his nationality won't change and will remain the same.
    Our English teacher told us that we should use present tense if we want to describe what regularly happens, what usually happens, or what always happens, e.g.
    the sun rises in the east and set in the west.


    Please help, teachers.

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      • Native Language:
      • Hungarian
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      • Hungary
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      • Hungary

    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 107
    #2

    Re: Can a sentence consist of past and present tenses?

    Hi,

    I'm not a teacher, but I think the same tense should be used in both parts of the sentence.

    So I would say:

    "The item offerer WAS a Chinese, and he only ACCEPTED payment through traditional Bank."

    OR:

    "The item offerer IS a Chinese, and he only ACCEPTS payment through traditional Bank."

    Also, I think the best is to use the same tense all through the story, so either past or present.

    Best,
    heyt

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,829
    #3

    Re: Can a sentence consist of past and present tenses?

    Please note that we don't use the indefinite article before a simple nationality.

    I am British.
    He is Chinese.
    They are Swiss.

    However, if you follow the nationality with another singular noun, then you do need the article:

    I am a British woman.
    He is a Chinese man.
    They are Swiss people.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #4

    Re: Can a sentence consist of past and present tenses?

    I've tried to find the rule for this.

    I'm an American. She's an Italian. They are South Africans. I met three Australians.

    They all end with N. Is it that simple?
    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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