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John gets a mentor to guide him throughout his life. — OR — He gets mentored on a daily basis.

I believe this is just as acceptable as the simple past:

John got a mentor to guide him throughout his life. — OR — He got mentored on a daily basis."

Doesn't the use of got in the simple past tense suggest that John has already been mentored and that therefore his life has already ended?

I believe that gets can also be correct, since it shows that the mentoring he receives is a continuous process, and not one that has already ended, which suggests that he is not dead yet.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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2 Answers 2

"John got a mentor to guide him throughout his life" implies that the act of acquiring a mentor was a single event that took place in the past. It says nothing about the length or status of John's life in the present.

"John got mentored on a daily basis", taken in isolation, implies that John is no longer being mentored on a daily basis; the mentoring stopped at some point in the past. (In a story being told in past tense, however, it would not necessarily carry any such implication.)

Taken in concert without further context, the two statements form a tiny story told in the past tense and can be read either way. If you want to make it clear that the mentoring is ongoing, you would probably want to switch tenses and say "Now he gets mentored every day." However, the use of the past tense only implies, at most, that the mentoring has stopped, not that John's life has stopped. (Perhaps he couldn't afford the mentor, or perhaps he learned everything he wanted.)

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I think "gets" is being used properly in the example, because of other examples such as:

Henny stands up and gets a sheet of paper.

The second example you offered, I believe, has a different meaning somehow. I feel that your first example was referring to an action in the present, while your second example was referring to an action in the past, so they might mean different things, and "got" I don't think can be used as a back-up example here.

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