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  1. Member
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    #1

    Please help me check the grammar.

    I am having a wonderful time in China. I arrived in Beijing two days ago. I have done a lot of things there. I have seen the Beijing Opera. It sounded/sounds interesting and funny, but I couldn't/can't understand it. I have also visited the Palace Musume and the Great Wall. They were/are huge and beautiful. What's more, I have eaten the roasted duck as well, it tasted/tastes delicious. Now I'm in Shanghai with my family. What a wonderful experience I have had so far!


    The above is my student's writing practice.
    I just wonder what tense we should use. Which tense is better or more natural?

    My student wrote some sentences using the present perfect tense, and I want to know whether they are correct or natural in the context. Also, I feel confused a lot about how to use these two tenses together to talk about our life experiences. I mean how we can change one tense to the other naturally without making any mistakes. By the way, one of my students asked me why she should use the past tense in the following sentence, she thought it is a fact and now she still thinks so. I don't know how to answer it.
    I have also visited the Palace Museum and the Great Wall. They were/are huge and beautiful.






    Last edited by rodgers white; 10-Mar-2017 at 02:22.

  2. Key Member
    Interested in Language
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    #2

    Re: Please help me check the grammar.

    I would stick to the past tense in a personal description of a place one has visited.
    The present perfect tense is appropriate to describe "accomplishments", like things that you have seen, done or experienced.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. teechar's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Please help me check the grammar.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodgers white View Post
    I am having a wonderful time in China. I arrived in Beijing two days ago. I have done[1] a lot of things since getting here. there. I have seen went[2] to see the Beijing Opera. It sounded/sounds[3] interesting and funny, but I couldn't/can't[4] understand it. I have also visited[5] the Palace Museum and the Great Wall. They were/are[6] huge and beautiful. What's more, I have eaten/ate[7] the roast ed duck, which Beijing is famous for, as well. it tasted/tastes[8] delicious. Now, I'm in Shanghai with my family. What a wonderful experience I have had so far!
    Notes:
    1- The present perfect is correct in that sentence to indicate an action/situation that's not finished.

    2- The past simple is preferable there because that sentence appears to be giving details on the previous one. When giving details after a present perfect verb, we often use the past simple.

    3- "Sounded" works as it indicates a discrete past event, but "sounds" can also work to indicate a general point (in this case, your opinion of Beijing Opera). "Sounded" implies that it may not always sound like that; "sounds" hints at a more set opinion.

    4- See point #3.

    5- The past simple would not be incorrect there, but the present perfect is okay because:
    a- the use of "also" implies another experience, and
    b- we often come back to the present perfect (after having switched to the past simple) when relating a recent account.

    6- See point #3.

    7- See points #3 and #5.

    8- See point #3.

  4. Member
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    #4

    Re: Please help me check the grammar.

    Many thanks for your time and consideration. By the way, it seems contradictory to me when we say the following two sentences together:

    1. I have done[1]a lot of things since getting here. (Beijing)
    2. Now, I'm in Shanghai with my family.

    Maybe, I'd better change Sentence 2 to 'Now, I'm going to Shanghai with family' or change Sentence 1 to 'I have done[1]a lot of things since getting there.' What do you think?


    Last edited by rodgers white; 12-Mar-2017 at 03:16.

  5. teechar's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Please help me check the grammar.

    No. "Since getting here" can be taken as "getting to China."

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