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John
which tense should I use? when I am telling something about a middle school teacher of mine, should I use past of present tense. Of course, I am no longer a high school students, but he still teaches at my former school. Although he has a face for radio, he still enjoy great popularity with his students since he has got a unique way of saying things. which tense is preferable?
Oct 1, 2016 8:08 AM
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Answers · 3
If you're talking about your experience of your teacher when you were at school, then you use past tenses. It's irrelevant whether or not he's still a teacher now. You are simply reporting what was true at that time. If you've recently met him again and you're talking about him now (eg. he hasn't changed, or you're recommending him as a teacher to someone), then you can use present tenses.
October 1, 2016
The past tense is your "go-to" when talking about things that you remember about someone... the present tense is still useful, however. Since you can confidently use a colorful idiom like "a face for radio", I think you're probably advanced enough to really play with the language. With a little imagination, you can toy around with the past tense and present tense to draw the listener in. For example, what you recall could be expressed thus: "I remember [present tense] one of my teachers in middle school. Although he has [present tense] a face for radio, he has always had [past perfect progressive tense] a unique talent for saying things in a way that made [past tense] him popular with his students." Technically, you might be breaking or straining a few dozen rules of the English language, but... well, there are no rules of the English language that the English language itself doesn't break on a regular basis. Remember, you're telling a story, so you can use poetic license... it's one of the perks of the language.
October 1, 2016
John
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English