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  1. caban's Avatar
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    #1

    The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Which time do I use when I want refer to something which happened in the past, but which has an indefinite effect?

    Here's an example:

    I liked the fact that you put "death" and "dying" in italics. This way you made it more clear for me what is/was the core of your reflections.

    It's a sentence from a short review of an essay.

    Thank you in advance :)

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Quote Originally Posted by caban View Post
    Which ​tense do I use when I want refer to something which happened in the past, but which has an indefinite effect?

    Here's an example:

    I liked the fact that you put "death" and "dying" in italics. Th​at way you made ​the core of your reflections more clear.

    It's a sentence from a short review of an essay.

    Thank you
    .
    The sentence was ungrammatical and unwieldy. If you do nothing else, delete "it." Also, the phrase "the core of your reflections" is too awkward and vague for me to understand.

    It would be grammatical to say:

    - That way, you made more clear for me the core of your reflections.

    - That way, you made more clear for me what was the core of your reflections. [Not natural. Too convoluted!]

    - You made the core of your reflections clearer that way.
    [This is best.]


    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Say:

    Which tense should I use....

    Apparently, the choice is between past tense and past perfect tense. Well, I assume that all past events have an effect on the present. What is relevant is whether that past event continues tto be relevant o the conversation that is going on this minute.

    Is it like that in the original text that the writer didn't decide between "is" and "was"?

  4. caban's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    The sentence was ungrammatical and unwieldy. If you do nothing else, delete "it." Also, the phrase "the core of your reflections" is too awkward and vague for me to understand.

    It would be grammatical to say:

    - That way, you made more clear for me the core of your reflections.

    - That way, you made more clear for me what was the core of your reflections. [Not natural. Too convoluted!]

    - You made the core of your reflections clearer that way.
    [This is best.]

    By saying "the core of your reflections" I meant the main thoughts that I felt the original author wanted to convey in his essay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Say:


    Which tense should I use....

    Apparently, the choice is between past tense and past perfect tense. Well, I assume that all past events have an effect on the present. What is relevant is whether that past event continues tto be relevant o the conversation that is going on this minute.

    Is it like that in the original text that the writer didn't decide between "is" and "was"?
    In the original text I used "is", because that was what I felt intuitively.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    OK, so you're the writer. Well, the word "like" should have been in present tense, thus:

    I like it that you put "death" and "dying" in italics.

    The next sentence:

    That made it clearer for me what was the core of yout reflections.

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Any time you can eliminate the phrase "the fact that" from a sentence you have accomplished something.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    You can use the word "liked" this way:

    I liked her once, but I don't like her anymore.

    Or:

    She liked red beans and rice. That was one of her favorite foods.

  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    I have no idea what "the core of your reflections" means, and I hope I don't see that phrase again.

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    #9

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    I have no idea what "the core of your reflections" means, and I hope I don't see that phrase again.
    Google shows only two results for those exact terms, one of which references back to this very post. The other being about the Telosian Way of Being with Lord Adama.
    Not a teacher.

  9. caban's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: The proper tense when describing past events that affect the present

    Thank you Tarheel for your clear explanation.

    Please, if you can, also explain why "the core of your reflections" doesn't make sense to you? Is it because the word "core", even though bearing a sensible meaning in this context, doesn't really get along with the other word, or because the whole sentence is fully ambiguous in the first place?

    Would it be more acceptable to you if I changed the word from "core" to "essence"?

    The argument that it never appeared before doesn't speak to me. This is what writers actually do, they invent new phrases, but of course as long as the readers can quickly grasp their meaning and function within the context.

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