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    #1

    verb tenses in the AP news.

    A new study shows the gap between black and white families in America has widened.

    The study finds that an increasing number of blacks see themselves as worse off than they were five years ago, and they donít expect their lives to improve.
    Twenty percent said things were better off for blacks compared with five years ago, but another 29% said things had gotten worse.
    Fewer than half of those who were asked expect their prospects to improve in the future.
    Whites have a different view.
    They were nearly twice as likely as blacks to see gains for black Americans in the past five years.
    Rita Foley, Washington.


    -----
    1) please see the red-colored words - were and had gotten. IMHO, those are based on the same survey, so I thought were should be "had been"

    2) please see the blue-colored words - the survey has done in the past, so I think see, don't expect and expect should be changed as saw, didn't expect and expected like 'said'

    help me!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #2

    Re: verb tenses in the AP news.

    I dont agree with you , because in the first sentance talked about the finds that

    means simple present tens. But in second talked about things really happend so used

    simple past tens.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #3

    Re: verb tenses in the AP news.

    We use the present perfect to talk about general facts:

    The earth goes around the sun.
    Some Canadians speak French.
    We all live in a yellow submarine.

    The study was carried out in the past, yes, but in order to find out some general facts which are true even today, and will probably be true for a long time in the future as well:

    ...an increasing number of blacks see themselves as...
    ...fewer than half expect their prospects to improve...

    Using the past tense would mean here that since the study was published, blacks have stopped seeing themselves as worse off, and are now extremely optimistic and happy -- exactly the opposite of what the study actually says.

    But with said, the tense changes, because we are now talking about what people said when they were asked -- that is, when a researcher called them on the phone and asked the questions, the respondants gave them answers. This happened in the past, so we use the past simple.

    The other verbs in the sentence are also past, but this time because they are reported speech. Very often (not always!), if somebody uses a present tense when they speak, we use a past tense to report it:

    Peter said, "I have made a cake." (direct speech: present perfect)
    Peter said he bad made a cake. (reported speech: past perfect)

    Mary said, "I like this movie." (present simple)
    Mary said she liked that movie. (past simple)

    They said, "Things have gotten worse." (present perfect)
    They said things had gotten worse. (past perfect)

    They said, "Things are better off." (present simple)
    They said things were better off. (past simple)

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    #4

    Re: verb tenses in the AP news.

    Thanks!!!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #5

    Re: verb tenses in the AP news.

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    We use the present perfect to talk about general facts:

    The earth goes around the sun.
    Some Canadians speak French.
    We all live in a yellow submarine.
    I don't think that you meant to say this either, Rewboss.

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