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    #1

    Smile Choice of tense

    I read the following sentence in a newspaper:

    Some American Muslims said they were on edge as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

    I learned at school that using a past tense in a sentence containing a time conjunction like as, while, when etc. requires the same tense in both parts.
    In my opinion the writer should have used 'as the anniversary of 9/11 approached' or have restructured his sentence as follows: 'Some American Muslims said they are on edge as the anniversary approaches.'

    To my mind, a past tense and a simple present together in these types of
    sentences do not work.

    If you please could share your opinions on this matter, I would be more than happy to hear from you.

    Greetings from Bavaria,

    Joern:

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Choice of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Joern Matthias View Post
    I read the following sentence in a newspaper:

    Some American Muslims said they were on edge as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

    I learned at school that using a past tense in a sentence containing a time conjunction like as, while, when etc. requires the same tense in both parts.
    In my opinion the writer should have used 'as the anniversary of 9/11 approached' or have restructured his sentence as follows: 'Some American Muslims said they are on edge as the anniversary approaches.'

    To my mind, a past tense and a simple present together in these types of
    sentences do not work.

    If you please could share your opinions on this matter, I would be more than happy to hear from you.

    Greetings from Bavaria,

    Joern:
    What you're talking about is called backshifting of tenses in reported speech. I see your point, but apparently the "as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches" is not part of what they said. It's the journalist's commentary.
    You would be right if the Muslims had said, "We are on edge as the anniversay of 9/11 approaches."
    If they only said "We are on edge", the original would be better.
    It's a borderline case.

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    #3

    Smile Re: Choice of tense

    Thank you very much for your answer to my question and I want to apologise for not having replied to you right away, Raymond.
    I wish you and your family a merry and wonderful Christmas plus a happy new
    year and am looking forward to hearing from you again.

    Till then and greetings from Bavaria,

    Joern

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    #4

    Re: Choice of tense

    Also, it would depend for me on the time of the newspaper report; to use the present tense, it would have to have been published before the anniversary.

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