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My son is writing an essay about a dead hero. Most of the verb tense he used is in the PAST, as in, "He was a clever hero." To be consistent, he wrote, "He was an inspiring hero." However, it got me thinking if it would be better to say, "He is an inspiring hero," because he still continues to inspire others even after his death.

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"He is an inspiring hero," because he still continues to inspire others even after his death.

you are both correct grammatically, you both mean different stuff.

you son's version:

He inspired people when he was alive, it's unclear if he still inspires people

your version:

He inspires people in the present, it's unclear if people were inspired by him when he was alive

they are both correct. let me throw another one in:

He has been an inspiring hero.*

this one means:

In his lifetime, and afterward he is an inspiring hero, up until now.

all of them are correct, the question is - what do you want to convey?

*in real speech, "he has" is almost always contracted to "he's"

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