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I'm wondering if my sentences are correct in terms of the tenses used. In particular, I'm curious about the parts in bold. Thanks for any comments.

  1. When a person talks to another person and the assumptions are being passed further, stereotypes are being created.

  2. By joking, the person that is spreading misinformation does not come off as ignorant.

As for (1) I thought that if the first part is in the present simple and stresses certain regularity, the second part should also be in the same tense to also show repeatitiveness of the situation. Does the continuous aspect imply that whenever one talks, assumptions are in the process of being passed, and stereotypes are in the process of being created?

As for (2) I thought that if the two actions are simultaneous, that is, while spreading misinformation, the person is also coming off as ignorant, then the present continuous is better in the second part.

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  • Welcome! Thanks for indicating which words you're concerned about (pure proofreading questions with no focus are off-topic), but can you tell us more about your concerns and the meaning you want? There's nothing wrong with a continuous tense, but it might not be the choice you want. Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:06
  • Thanks for the feedback. As for (1) I thought that if the first part is in the present simple and stresses certain regularity, the second part should also be in the same tense to also show repeatitiveness of the situation. Does the continuous aspect imply that whenever one talks, assumptions are in the process of being passed, and stereotypes are in the process of being created? As for (2) I thought that if the two actions are simultaneous, that is, while spreading misinformation, the person is also coming off as ignorant, then the present continuous is better in the second part.
    – BB1988
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:17
  • I've taken the liberty of editing the question itself to add that explanation; that's the best way to clarify in the future. Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:24

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  1. The correct sentence would be "When a person talks to another person and the assumptions are passed further, stereotypes are created." (no present continuous, or "present progressive" as I was taught at school) The reason for this is that the actions are not necessarily continuous. "Are being" indicates that the actions are ongoing, which is most probably not what you want (when "when" or "whenever" is used, present continuous is not desirable in most cases). This applies to both instances of "are being".

  2. I'd go ahead and omit "that is" or replace "that" with "who" (because "that" is not used for people), but otherwise your sentence is correct. Indeed, saying "the person [...] is not coming off as ignorant" would indicate that the person is currently not coming off as ignorant, which, again, is most probably not what you want.

As mentioned above, present continuous should be used when describing an action currently taking place: "The teacher is handing out the papers."

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  • @BB1988 Just to clear up any further confusion: The requirement to keep tenses consistent only applies to tenses that we've chosen "for no good reason," e.g. when discussing abstractions. It's perfectly okay for a sentence to contain multiple tenses if that's what the actions call for: "Last night it would have snowed but it rained instead, which means it is muddy today and I will wear boots." Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:31
  • Thanks for that. I think I still don't get sentence 2. The context was stereotype formation. If spreading misinformation takes place simultaneously with coming off as ignorant, shouldn't they be in the same tense?
    – BB1988
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:33
  • @Andy Bonner, I understand the examples you provided. But as for my second sentence, is 'coming off as ignorant' acceptable because it is a result of 'jokingly spreading misinformation', which is understood as an ongoing activity? Initially, I thought that both situations are ongoing and simultaneous, that's why I would you the progressive form on 'coming off...'.
    – BB1988
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 15:48

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