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    #1

    What tense is this?

    I am a volunteer with a very smart student. I am preparing a lesson from a newspaper based around the recent sinking of the cruise ship off Tuscany.

    One sentence reads - The search for survivors continued. I don't know how to explain the use of 'continued (simple past) being used in the present tense. It's not present perfect - is it?

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    #2

    Re: What tense is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hutchie View Post
    I don't know how to explain the use of 'continued (simple past) being used in the present tense. ?
    I don't understand your question, I am afraid. The simple past cannot be 'used in the present tense'.

    The search continues - present simple
    The search continued - past simple
    The search has continued - present perfect.

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    #3

    Re: What tense is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hutchie View Post
    One sentence reads - The search for survivors continued. I don't know how to explain the use of 'continued (simple past) being used in the present tense. It's not present perfect - is it?
    [not a teacher]

    Can you provide more direct context? Are you saying that it must be present tense because it is an ongoing current event? I can easily see the following example as a present event, while still employing the past tense: "The search for survivors continued this morning." For the active search, I don't see how it could be anything but "The current search for survivors continues."

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    #4

    Re: What tense is this?

    I think I'm worrying and complicating this too much. I'm worried my student will ask me to explain this use of the past tense (continued) although we know the search is going on when we pick up the newspaper in the morning and will ask me to go into a complicated explanation about using the past tense for a continuing situation

    I'm afraid of sounding stupid

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    #5

    Re: What tense is this?

    Presumably the writer was not concerned about the search continuing into your present time. What was written immediately before and after these four words?

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    #6

    Re: What tense is this?

    This is a tricky word and the use of a past tense verb to describe an ongoing situation does seem odd. But look at the definition:

    Continue | Define Continue at Dictionary.com


    1. to go on after suspension or interruption: The program continued after an intermission.
    2. to go on or keep on, as in some course or action; extend: The road continues for three miles.
    In this use, "continued" is referring to the first definition, I think. Did they stop searching because of darkness and then continue on in the morning? If so, then the "continuing" (meaning: starting again after a stop) is a done deal, hence the action is completed. The search continued this morning.

    If the second sense, that the action is ongoing, is meant, then the present tense makes more sense. We started searching last night and the search continues.

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    #7

    Re: What tense is this?

    Thanks for the responses. I think I can explain confidently now that it is an unusual use of continued and the explanation involving the interruption is really helpful

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