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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #1

    past tense and present tense

    I have forgotten the usage of past tense, having not studied it for a long time.

    anyone can help me with the following?


    I visited Times Square yesterday. Times Square is very big.


    I am inclined to use "was" in place of "is". Which is correct?

  1. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: past tense and present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by kippi3000
    I have forgotten the usage of past tense, having not studied it for a long time.
    anyone can help me with the following?
    I visited Times Square yesterday. Times Square is very big.
    I am inclined to use "was" in place of "is". Which is correct?
    Times square 'is' very big, because although you visited it yesterday it has not changed.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #3

    Re: past tense and present tense

    hmm... is it wrong to say "it was very big" ? perhaps, it's possible... wouldn't it simply somehow emphasize the fact that we visited it in the past ?

  2. rewboss's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: past tense and present tense

    Yes; you can use either: it was very big when I was there; it is very big now, just as it always has been and was when I was there.

    It partly depends on the context. Compare:

    "I wonder what Times Square is like."
    "Oh, I was there yesterday. It's very big." (The speaker is saying what Times Square is like, and also saying that he knows what it's like because he has been there.)

    "Did you visit Times Square?"
    "Yes, I did."
    "What did you think of it?"
    "Well, it was very big..." (The speaker is talking of his impressions of Times Square, and these impressions were formed in the past.)

    It's not a very important distinction, though, and I don't think anyone will notice which tense you use.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #5

    Re: past tense and present tense

    thanks.. I was writing a scientific report. The sentence involved went something like this:

    in the early 1880s, scientists discovered that the 4-step filter was able to eliminate bacteria. Chlorine is one of the major ingredients for the 4-step filter.

    In this case, the 4-step filter is still being used. So is it still correct?

    :D thx for the replies!

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    #6

    Re: past tense and present tense

    Looks fine to me.

  4. rewboss's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: past tense and present tense

    It would be correct to say "is able to", but it would sound unnatural. The focus of the whole sentence is on that first discovery, 120 years ago. The second sentence, though, is a general fact: chlorine is one of the major ingredients.

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: past tense and present tense

    Additionally,

    Use the present to express a fact; e.g., Time Square is very big.
    Use the past to express a recollection; e.g., Time Square was very big [in my recollection of the events, then, on that day].

    All the best.

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