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Past tense or present tense? I was watching a documentary about Catherine the Great and I found that, when they described the historical event, they sometimes used past tense and sometimes present tense. It made me confused. For example: "Catherine becomes really, really concerned. They were not prepared to take on this force..." Could anyone please explain on this?
Oct 22, 2012 5:19 PM
Answers · 7
In a narrative (telling of a story), which this seems to be, the use of present tense is a legitimate way of drawing the reader into the action. It gives the reader more of a sense of actually being part of the story. It is a recent development. Before 1900 you would not see it and it is used much more in modern historical narratives.
October 22, 2012
When narrating a movie you usually use the present tense. This brings the movie to life and makes it very real.
October 23, 2012
Yeah, English can be a bit confusing in that aspect. Mainly it is describing her response to whats happening "as it is happening" if you can understand that. It's more to keep an order of a sequence of events like, "The post did not run yesterday, this causes people to become upset." We know it all happened yesterday, however, if it were to happen again today, naturally people would be upset. It's a sequence of events that would ring true even today. _____happened, in turn, this causes Catherine to become concerned. I'm sorry if I confused you but it is a very weird way of wording something. They could have easily used all past tense words however the way they worded it sort of captivates the listener as if they are experiencing it with her. It's just another way of saying the same thing, which English has a whole lot of....
October 22, 2012
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