The literary present tense vs simple past tense "Literary works, paintings, films, and "other artistic creations" are assumed to exist in an eternal present. When you are writing about writers or artists as they express themselves in their work, stay in present tense." This is the context. Now my questions are as follows: 1.Do "other artistic creations" include music, dance etc?According to the literary present, the work of artists or the work of fiction or artistic creations are assumed to exist in an eternal,The famous singer Micheal Jackson, Kisor Kumar(A Hindi singer) are not alive.But their works I mean, their songs (Remember the time,Beat it,etc) still continue through recordings.So In this case, 2.Am I correct to say Micheal Jackson sings this song "Remember the time" ? or Micheal Jackson sings all of these songs Remember the time,Beat it,You are not? If I want to focus on historical information about the artist, not their works,say Micheal Jackson. then 3.Can I use the past simple such as Micheal Jackson sang Beat it in 1982, Remember the time in 1991 etc?
Dec 13, 2016 6:03 PM
Answers · 1
1. If it's a recording of music or dance then I'd say yes. For example, I would say '"When I Get Home" (Lennon/McCartney), in the key of G, ends with a satisfying D7-G move in the last two bars.' I use the present tense there. But a live performance is ephemeral and you'd be relying on your memory to discuss it and I'd expect the past tense to be used there. 2. Btw, note how "Michael" is spelled. Also, title case has the first letter of every word in upper case. In both cases, "sings" sounds perfectly natural and correct to me. But, since Michael is sadly no longer with us, it would also be perfectly natural and correct to say "sang". For a living artist you can say "recorded", "sings", or "sang", and they'd all be ok. 3. It's more correct to say that he *recorded* those songs in those years. If you say that he sang Beat It in 1982 then folks will understand you to mean that he recorded it in 1982. But if you think about it, he must have sung the song in later years, too, at concerts (and possibly in the shower).
December 13, 2016
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