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    #1

    I got this job because I am

    Hi,

    - Do you remember that nice couple we met on holiday? They were German, weren't they?

    - I got this job because I was a good driver.

    The sentences are from "Practical English Usage" on page 401.

    I would like to ask whether we can use "are" (and "aren't" in the tag) in the first one and "am" in the second.

    PS The situations are still true.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 28-Aug-2015 at 11:55. Reason: Correcting 'Germain'.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I got this job because I am

    Quote Originally Posted by ademoglu View Post
    I would like to ask whether we can use "are" (and "aren't" in the tag) in the first one and "am" in the second.
    We can but, as Swan noted, "If we are talking about the past, we usually use past tense even for things which are still true, and situations which still exist".

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    #3

    Re: I got this job because I am

    The second works better with the present than the first to me- I can't see much reason to keep things in the present when knowing the couple is in the past, even if their nationality hasn't changed.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I got this job because I am

    For me, "they were German" is completely illogical. They are still German.

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    #5

    Re: I got this job because I am

    You're assuming they're still alive.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I got this job because I am

    Yes.

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    #7

    Re: I got this job because I am

    They might have met them 20 years ago when the German couple were in their eighties.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I got this job because I am

    And they might not have. If the speaker believes that they are alive, the present tense is perfectly fine. Endless speculation doesn't change that.

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    #9

    Re: I got this job because I am

    I simply understood it to be a common phrase form used when people are trying to remember, or distinguish, which nice couple they had met on holiday.

    They were that nice German couple, rather than the nice Italian, or French couple that they also met while they were there.

    It looks like from what you are saying Mike, that it isn't used in AmE.

    The author may be using a form that in BrE we take for granted. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Swan_%28writer%29

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: I got this job because I am

    It is a common phrase in AmE also. My point is that the present tense is not wrong, and in many cases, it is more logical.

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