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which tense should I use when I try to describe a dream I had last night?
Aug 14, 2014 12:38 AM
Answers · 9
This is a folk song lyric by the late Ed McCurdy. It shows one possibility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvyvBRfJuIE Last night I had the strangest dream I ever dreamed before: I dreamed the world had all agreed To put an end to war. I dreamed I saw a mighty room, The room was filled with men; And the paper they were signing said They'd never fight again. And when the papers all were signed, And a million copies made, They all joined hands end bowed their heeds And grateful prayers were prayed; And the people in the streets below Were dancing round and round, And guns and swords and uniforms Were scattered on the ground. Last night I had the strangest dream I ever dreamed before: I dreamed the world had all agreed To put an end to war.
August 14, 2014
P.S. If you are not writing for an English class... It is quite common for a writer to write about past events in the present tense. This can be good "storytelling." It creates a sense of immediacy. We are more excited about things happening now than things that happened in the past. I am reading a book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugan, "Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot." It is intended to be accurate history, but it is written to be exciting. He is writing about 1963, but the book opens this way. I'm capitalizing some words: "The man with fewer than three years to live HAS his left hand on the Bible. Chief Justice Earl Warren STANDS before him reciting the Presidential Oath of Office... The new president, born into wealth, HAS a refined manner of speaking," etc. etc. All about 1963, all written in the present tense. If you were writing or telling about a dream, and you wanted to tell a good story, you could certainly write about a dream this way. "Last night, I went to bed, and as I am falling asleep, suddenly I seem to be flying through space. Somehow I know that it is important for me to touch every star as I pass near it. And then I am slowing down, and there is a planet below me..." I just learned five minutes ago that this is called the "historical present," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_present . I would NOT use it in English assignment without asking the teacher about it first!
August 14, 2014
Past Tense: Example: Last night I had a dream that I was on the beach or Last night there was a lot of people at store.
August 14, 2014
Past narrative tenses would work fine.
August 14, 2014
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