Here's my specific example:

Puffing, Ralphie rested her elbows on the guardrail. Body Woman was now talking to a bald super spy.

(For context, Ralphie is on a balcony looking at Body Woman and the super spy.)

Is this grammatically correct for what is supposed to be a third person past tense narrative, or does it ruin it by bringing in the first tense? I don't want any 'it depends on the writer' nonsense. Just yes or no answers backed with arguments please. Also, if it is not grammatically correct, what should I replace 'now' with in a sentence like this in order to get the point across that there has been a change in the situation and now something is happening which was not happening before? The best answer gets a prize.

  • I wouldn't call "nonsense" the choices different writers might make at a given point in the narrative. Your specific example reflects a choice the writer made for who knows what reason. She or he could just as easily have chosen to say this: "While Ralphie rested her elbows on the guiardrail, puffing, Body Woman was talking to a bald super spy." Who's to say which choice is good, bad, or indifferent? I'm just sayin' . . .. Don – rhetorician Dec 26 '16 at 22:57
  • I think you deserve a prize for the phrase 'it depends on the writer' nonsense. When would like to pick that up? – deadrat Dec 26 '16 at 23:35
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Using "now" when talking about past events – Edwin Ashworth Dec 27 '16 at 0:38

That is a perfectly valid use of the word "now" and does not change the tense.


(Definition) 1.5 (in a narrative or account of past events) at the time spoken of or referred to

  • Thank you! Here's your prize, the web serial that the example sentence was from: royalroadl.com/fiction/Chapter/101358. – Joe Berridge Beale Dec 27 '16 at 15:13
  • slight bow Thank you, Thank you, I'm honored and humbled. I'd like to thank my parents... <and so on and so forth> – GetzelR Dec 27 '16 at 15:24
  • Good luck with the serial and happy writing. – GetzelR Dec 27 '16 at 15:27

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