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    #1

    present tense or past tense?

    The following is what I read recently in a magazine.

    Everyone knows recycling is good for the environment. But did you know it's also good for the economy?
    Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans in one year. That amount of cans is worth about $600 million!

    #1) I would like to know if that sentence 'Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans in one year' sounds fine to you?

    #2) If it were a fact, would it be better to say
    'Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans last year or in 2012' or
    'Americans throw away 36 billion aluminum cans every year'?

    #3) The author said 'did you know it's also good for the economy?' instead of 'do you know it's also good for the economy?', I guess it must have some subtle difference. Could you please give me some of your opinions?

    Thank you!

  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #2

    Re: present tense or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    The following is what I read recently in a magazine.

    Everyone knows recycling is good for the environment. But did you know it's also good for the economy?
    Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans in one year. That amount of cans is worth about $600 million!

    #1) I would like to know if that sentence 'Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans in one year' sounds fine to you? Yes. I assume it is speaking of natural (i.e. January through December) years, so the last data available can only be from a finished year. Also, it could refer to an unspecified year, although this would not be so common, IMO.

    #2) If it were a fact, would it be better to say
    'Americans threw away 36 billion aluminum cans last year or in 2012' or
    'Americans throw away 36 billion aluminum cans every year'? This would be true if the amount stayed more or less steady over the years. In fact, it most presumably fluctuates.

    #3) The author said 'did you know it's also good for the economy?' instead of 'do you know it's also good for the economy?', I guess it must have some subtle difference. Could you please give me some of your opinions? IMO, it carries the implication of "now you know, I'm just telling you."

    Thank you!
    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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