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  1. #1
    harriet_yang is offline Junior Member
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    tense inconsistency

    Dear Teachers and fellow learners,

    "Cato and Catulus hailed him as pater patriae, father of his country. When at the end of 63, he laid down his office, all the propertied classes in the community, he tells us, gave him thanks, named him immortal, and escorted him in honor to his home. " - from "The Story of Civilization" by Will Durant

    Out of all the past tense verbs, this present tense one got me confused. Why present tense? What's also confusing is the word "us", which makes it seem that the author is part of "us."

    Thanks for helping with this.

  2. #2
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is online now Moderator
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    Re: tense inconsistency

    The present tense is commonly used with narrations, as in the above. This is similar to how the present tense is used for conveying general truths/facts about something.

    As for your other question, "us" refers to the readership. It does not include the author.

  3. #3
    harriet_yang is offline Junior Member
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    Re: tense inconsistency

    Thanks. So the “he” in "he tells us" refers to this person who is 63 years old , right?
    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    The present tense is commonly used with narrations, as in the above. This is similar to how the present tense is used for conveying general truths/facts about something.

    As for your other question, "us" refers to the readership. It does not include the author.

  4. #4
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is online now Moderator
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    Re: tense inconsistency

    Quote Originally Posted by harriet_yang View Post
    Thanks. So the “he” in "he tells us" refers to this person who is 63 years old, right?
    No. "At the end of 63" means at the end of the year 63 (presumably 1963).

    Just to clarify, all the highlighted parts below refers to the same person.

    Cato and Catulus hailed him as pater patriae, father of his country. When at the end of 63, he laid down his office, all the propertied classes in the community, he tells us, gave him thanks, named him immortal, and escorted him in honor to his home.

  5. #5
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: tense inconsistency

    That would be the end of the year 63 of the common era. The text presumably refers to the history of the Roman Empire.
    I am not a teacher.

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