Author Topic: Confusions till now  (Read 10875 times)

Miss Mae

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Confusions till now
« on: October 08, 2019, 01:40:31 PM »
Till now, I would be thinking twice whenever I have to write something. Isn’t it just correct to use the present tense if the subject of the sentence is still “alive and kicking”? But what if that sentence is included in a paragraph that has already happened? Should I strictly observe one kind of tense only?

Also, I’ve come to think that you cannot use an adverb in a progressive tense. That “I also am just grabbing an opportunity” should be “I also am grabbing an opportunity.” But why does “I also am just grabbing an opportunity” sounds better? Is it simply just my perception or I really am just wrong?

Joe Carillo

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Re: Confusions till now
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 07:05:41 AM »
As a rule, Miss Mae, I don't think it's correct to use the present tense if the subject of your sentence is still “alive and kicking.” The correct grammatical basis for using tense in reported speech is when the reported action actually happened, not on whether that action's doer is "still alive and kicking."

Consider this situation: A woman--whether she has already passed away or still very much alive at this very moment-- danced all night that Valentine's Day last year. How do you report that woman's action to a friend today? Logically you say: "I recall that that woman danced all night that Valentine's Day last year." You don't say: "I recall that on Valentine's Day last year, that woman is dancing all night." You say: "I recall that on Valentine's Day last year, that woman danced all night." Something that happened in the past happened in the past and there isn't anything that we can do to change that fact.

                      IMAGE CREDIT: SLIDESHARE.COM


The exception is, of course, the stream-of-consciousness narrative technique that's sometimes used in literary fiction or nonfiction, in which things are imagined to be happening at the very moment that the storyteller is telling it. The time element is blurred or dispensed with, as in this example: "In my mind I see her dance all night on Valentine's Day..." This form uses literary license to recreate a past action as if it's happening at the very moment of thinking and speaking about it. It's an entirely different matter altogether and it really shouldn't be considered as reported speech.

As to your second question, I think it's incorrect to think that adverbs like "just" can't be used in the progressive tense. It all depends on your perception as the speaker whether to use "just" in the sense of "only" or "simply." For this reason, you're grammatically correct whether you say “I also am just grabbing an opportunity” or “I also am grabbing an opportunity.” The qualifier "just" is only a distinction that's entirely in your mind as a personal feeling; intrinsically, there's really no right or wrong about that.

I trust that this will help banish your confusions about these aspects of grammar.

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Check out "Stream of Consciousness Writing" in ThoughtCo.com now!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 09:17:21 AM by Joe Carillo »

Miss Mae

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Re: Confusions till now
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 10:33:50 AM »
Thank you, Sir!

I'll keep in mind from now on that "the correct grammatical basis for using tense in reported speech is when the reported action actually happened" and "something that happened in the past happened in the past and there isn't anything that we can do to change that fact."

Thank you agin!