Consider the following sentence:

"Bob started to feel uneasy, as Alice was doing X."

What I want to express is that in the past, Bob started to feel uneasy. Alice started doing X in the past and still is to this day.

Is the example sentence correct? Or "...IS Alice doing X"?

For a scientific publication - being written in present tense - how do I express this situation in correct English?

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    'Bob began to feel uneasy once Alice started to X' would highlight the origin of the concern and would not imply cessation of Alice's activity. Your sentence almost implies that Alice has ceased. – Nigel J Jan 8 '18 at 14:35
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    If you want your sentence to convey that Alice is still doing X at the present time, you will have to say so. – Centaurus Jan 8 '18 at 14:42
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    'Bob started to feel uneasy' itself seems inappropriate in the types of scientific papers I remember. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 8 '18 at 15:15
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is based on a false premise that one writes scientific reports in the present tense. – David Jan 10 '18 at 21:33
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    What kind of scientific paper has a sentence about Bob feeling uneasy because Alice was doing X? It sounds very strange for a scientific paper—more like something from a novel. Could you give more context to show how exactly this fits into a scientific paper? It’s quite hard to answer a question like this without any context. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 9 '18 at 9:30

In English, an action of the past continuing into the present is conveyed by present perfect; in your case, if it is an activity (something that takes some time), that would be present perfect continuous. See here for an illustration.

Bob started to feel uneasy, as Alice has been doing X.

Note: The sentence does not sound fully right yet; perhaps the problem is elsewhere. The problem is that 'as' can be a little ambiguous (it can express cause or time). Did Bob start to fell uneasy as a result of X, as a cause of X, or as a coincidence of X? Perhaps you might consider to change 'as' into another word (because, then, etc.) and tweak the tenses accordingly.

  • Your sentence's two clauses are OK separately, but joining them with "as" like that is not OK. The OP wants to express Bob's starting to feel uneasy, which was in the past. So perhaps "Bob started to feel uneasy, as Alice was...". Alternatively, Alice's continuing action and Bob's reaction can be given present relevance: "Bob has started to feel uneasy, as Alice has been...". That works if "as" means "because". But if "as" means "at the same time as", then the sentence is about the past after all. – Rosie F Jul 8 '18 at 20:23
  • Yes there is the problem of consecutio temporum, too. – fralau Jul 8 '18 at 20:33

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