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    #1

    Help with tenses

    Dear teachers,
    Could you please correct these tenses?

    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man slowly pushed (slowly, push) his bicycle up the hill that leads (lead) out of the village. He was walking (walk) very carefully because there was (be) a lot of ice on the ground. He had (have) only one more letter to deliver. It was (be) for an old lady who lived (live) at the top of the hill. This lady was called (call) grandmother by the village people. She had been living (live) alone ever since her daughter emigrated (emigrate) to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he took (take) her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom he has never seen (never, see). Of course she had (have) lots of photographs of them, which she showed (show) the post-man everytime he brought (bring) her a letter.

    Thanks a lot.

  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Help with tenses

    "up the hill that leads (lead) out of the village": "led"

    I don't think it would be wrong to say "led" here. It's still possible the landscape has changed since then. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pretty girl5 View Post
    Dear teachers,
    Could you please correct these tenses?

    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man slowly pushed (slowly, push) his bicycle up the hill that leads (lead) out of the village. He was walking (walk) very carefully because there was (be) a lot of ice on the ground. He had (have) only one more letter to deliver. It was (be) for an old lady who lived (live) at the top of the hill. This lady was called (call) grandmother by the village people. She had been living (live) alone ever since her daughter emigrated (emigrate) to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he took (take) her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom he has never seen (never, see). Of course she had (have) lots of photographs of them, which she showed (show) the post-man everytime he brought (bring) her a letter.

    Thanks a lot.
    I would use either "leads" or "led" as far as the hill is concerned. Without knowing if the landscape has changed, it's impossible to say which is factually correct.

    In the same way, you could say "she has lots of photographs" because if she is still alive, she probably still has them. "Had" is possible though.

    Note that "postman" is all one word with no hyphen required.

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    #4

    Re: Help with tenses

    Thanks for comments
    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In the same way, you could say "she has lots of photographs" because if she is still alive, she probably still has them. "Had" is possible though.
    I think if we imagine that the woman is still alive, we should change the whole paragraph not only "she has lots of photographs"

    Please correct me if I'm wrong .

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pretty girl5 View Post
    Thanks for comments


    I think if we imagine that the woman is still alive, we should change the whole paragraph not only "she has lots of photographs"

    Please correct me if I'm wrong .
    No. You can tell a story in the past tense referring to events which happened in the past, but include a few present tenses for things which are still true and relevant in the present.

    There is a commonly held and incorrect belief that stories have to be written in just one tense. That is simply not true.

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    #6

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    No. You can tell a story in the past tense referring to events which happened in the past, but include a few present tenses for things which are still true and relevant in the present.
    I understand what you mean, but in this case we can't assume that the woman is still alive because we have no hint, but we have a hint that it is dead " she used to". So we can't use the simple present.
    If we assume that the woman is still alive we can't use simple present in this sentence alone"she has lots of photographs" , because we have to change the other verbs for example "
    This lady
    is called"

    Thanks a lot. I'm happy to discuss with you.

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    #7

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pretty girl5 View Post
    I understand what you mean, but in this case we can't assume that the woman is still alive because we have no hint, but we have a hint that it is dead " she used to". So we can't use the simple present.
    If we assume that the woman is still alive we can't use simple present in this sentence alone"she has lots of photographs" , because we have to change the other verbs for example "
    This lady
    is called"

    Thanks a lot. I'm happy to discuss with you.
    She was, at the time, called "grandmother" by the people of the village. It is quite possible that she is still alive but the people of the village no longer use that nickname for her.

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    #8

    Re: Help with tenses

    Thanks a lot.
    I didn't mean that. I mean that if we assume that the woman is still alive we should change many verbs.

    This is how I would conjugate the verbs if I assumed that the woman is alive.

    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man
    slowly pushed (slowly, push) his bicycle up the hill that leads (lead) out of the village. He was walking (walk) very carefully because there was (be) a lot of ice on the ground. He had (have) only one more letter to deliver. It was (be) for an old lady who lives (live) at the top of the hill. This lady is called (call) grandmother by the village people. She has been living(live) alone ever since her daughter emigrated (emigrate) to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he takes (take) her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom he has never seen (never, see). Of course she has (have) lots of photographs of them, which she shows (show) the post-man everytime he brings (bring) her a letter.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pretty girl5 View Post
    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man slowly pushed his bicycle up the hill that leads out of the village. He was walking very carefully because there was a lot of ice on the ground. He had only one more letter to deliver. It was for an old lady who lives at the top of the hill. This lady is called grandmother by the village people. She has been living alone ever since her daughter emigrated to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he takes her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom he has never seen. Of course she has lots of photographs of them, which she shows the post-man everytime he brings her a letter.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    It's not a question of being 'wrong'; it depends on how the writer sees the situation. Your version, above is fine, except for the three verbs which I have highlighted. If she "always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea", then the implication is that she no longer does so, and the highlighted verbs need to be took, showed and brought.

    it's possible to present the whole thing as narrative about the past (the day he was walking very carefully) and, even if the old woman is still alive, write:

    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man slowly pushed his bicycle up the hill that led out of the village. He was walking very carefully because there was a lot of ice on the ground. He had only one more letter to deliver. It was for an old lady who lived at the top of the hill. This lady was called grandmother by the village people. She had been living alone ever since her daughter (had) emigrated to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he took her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom he had never seen. Of course she had lots of photographs of them, which she showed the post-man everytime he brought her a letter.



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    #10

    Re: Help with tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pretty girl5 View Post
    Thanks a lot.
    I didn't mean that. I mean that if we assume that the woman is still alive we should change many verbs.

    This is how I would conjugate the verbs if I assumed that the woman is alive.

    One cold winter afternoon, the post-man
    slowly pushed his bicycle up the hill that led out of the village. He walked very carefully because there was a lot of ice on the ground. He had only one more letter to deliver. It was for an old lady who lived at the top of the hill. This lady was called grandmother by the village people. She had been living alone ever since her daughter emigrated to Australia many years ago. She always used to invite the post-man in for a cup of tea whenever he took her a letter and tell him about her two grandchildren in Australia whom she had never seen. Of course she had lots of photographs of them, which she showed the post-man everytime he brought her a letter.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    I think we are getting a bit bogged down in the alive/dead scenario. Whether she is now alive or dead, the piece can be written how I have written it above, with my verb choices marked in red.

    If she is definitely still alive, still lives in the village and still has the photographs, I might change the verbs relevant to those parts of the story to the present tense, but it would not be obligatory.

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