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    • Join Date: Apr 2009
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    #1

    tenses

    Dear teachers,
    Please look at this sentence. Is past continuous correct?

    We received a telegram from Nick. He was writing that he was arriving by plane the next morning and was asking to meet him at the airport.

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Apr 2009
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    #2

    Re: tenses

    I am not a teacher, but here's what I'd use:

    We received a telegram from Nick. He wrote that he was going to be arriving by plane the next morning and asked to meet him at the airport.

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    #3

    Re: tenses

    Hope you're not against my answers :)

    Reading this in russian I would say:

    We received a telegram from Nick. He writes (or wrote) that he's arriving by plane next morning and asking to meet him at the airport.

    Best regads.

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    #4

    Re: tenses

    We received a telegram from Nick.
    You report what he says in the telegram to someone else.
    ( He was writing that he was arriving by plane the next morning and was asking to meet him at the airport.)
    He writes ( even though he wrote in the past) that he will be arriving by plane the next morning and asks ( even though he asked in the past) if we can meet him at the airport.
    The bits in brackets are my comments, not part of the sentence!

    I recently read that the English Simple Present is in fact seldom used to express things that are happening now (good example that, 'things that happen now'). Maybe it should be called the Not So Simple Not So Present.

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    #5

    Re: tenses

    Of the three posts I prefer Pedroski's best. The "Simple Past" is some times a misnomer, much of the time. [headline: Pope meets Mayor; this could have happened several days ago, but it is presented in the Simple Past.... go figure!]
    B.


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    #6

    Re: tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    He writes ( even though he wrote in the past) that he will be arriving by plane the next morning and asks ( even though he asked in the past) if we can meet him at the airport.
    I have two questions:

    1) If it is in the present, is it better to say 'tomorrow' instead of 'the next day'?

    2) If it happened a month ago, is my variant correct?

    Thank you.

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    #7

    Re: tenses

    If you are talking about tomorrow that is the future, not the present. So you use the future 'tense'.

    He will be arriving by plane the next morning

    He will be arriving by plane tomorrow.

    I would say there is not much to choose between the two, except, the first is more specific concerning when he will arrive. (You don't want to hang around at the airport all day, they are boring!)

    If you received the telegram month ago, and you are talking about it now, in the present, then you should write:
    We received a telegram from Nick a month ago.
    He wrote that he would be ( or was) arriving by plane the next morning and asked if we could meet him at the airport.

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