49 votes
Accepted

"I am tired and doing my homework." Is it grammatically correct?

There is nothing ungrammatical about this sentence. It contains a kind of non-sequitur. There are many of these. For example, zeugma involves a kind of non-sequitur. An example of this is as ...
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  • 9,544
38 votes
Accepted

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

Either is possible. In my personal opinion it comes down to context. Was this a fleeting acquaintance or someone you are likely to take up with in the future? Examples I met this guy yesterday, his ...
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37 votes

"I am tired and doing my homework." Is it grammatically correct?

Strictly speaking, the title sentence is grammatical, but it sounds unidiomatic because there's no connection between the two predicates. To give some similar examples, I am raising money and ...
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24 votes
Accepted

You won't catch the train if you don't/won't leave in time

As implied in the comments, the specific meaning of the two are slightly different (albeit both grammatically correct). It helps to break down the contractions. You will not catch the train if you ...
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17 votes
Accepted

Is it correct to say "We start tomorrow"? Shouldn't it be "We are starting tomorrow"? (present simple vs continuous for future event)

No, it doesn't need to be we are starting tomorrow In a very brief and general way, there are four ways to talk about the future in English: Using will as in I will answer the door. This is usually ...
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16 votes
Accepted

What is the name for the grammatical figure, where the present tense is substituted for a past event?

This is called the historic present. It is also called historical present, dramatic present, narrative present, or praesens historicum in Latin. It is a perfectly fine construction, although it should ...
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14 votes
Accepted

When describing a detail of an ex, is it correct to use past or present tense?

This question is difficult to answer succinctly because the more desirable wording to use may differ depending on the circumstances surrounding the statement. Case 1: When Maybonne was your ...
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  • 151k
13 votes
Accepted

Is it grammatically correct to use 'now' third person past tense narration?

That is a perfectly valid use of the word "now" and does not change the tense. Now (Definition) 1.5 (in a narrative or account of past events) at the time spoken of or referred to
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  • 3,506
11 votes
Accepted

Present continous and present simple

The construction employed in the question is determined by the construction employed in the declarative sentence - the 'answer' you are looking for. Look is an activity verb, and usually takes the ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How to use the UK verb "reading" to mean studying/majoring in some university subject in the present tense?

As a British university graduate, I would have said "I am reading physics" if I had wanted to use that construction. In reality though, it sounds a bit pretentious except in formal contexts, day to ...
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11 votes

"I am tired and doing my homework." Is it grammatically correct?

As with each other answer so far, I’ll confirm that the title sentence is perfectly grammatical. There is no real ambiguity or doubt on that score. In contrast to other answers, though, I find nothing ...
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  • 4,558
10 votes

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

From a purely logical standpoint, only "was" is strictly correct, because you can't actually know whether he's changed his name since you met him. Very unlikely, but it's possible! You can say for ...
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  • 5,256
7 votes

Why did The New York Times use the present simple to describe a past event?

This use of the present tense is called "historical present" or "narrative present". Used in journalism or other narrative (including conversation) to make a past event more dramatic or vivid.
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  • 71
7 votes

How to use the UK verb "reading" to mean studying/majoring in some university subject in the present tense?

There's a difference here between typical British and American degree courses. In the US it's possible to pick up points towards the degree by studying a number of (potentially unrelated) elective ...
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6 votes
Accepted

"I teach" vs. "I'm teaching" — which one is proper in this situation?

Q: What are you doing at the moment? A: I'm teaching English at a language school. Does this mean the person is teaching at the moment of speaking. No, it doesn't. We use the present continuous tense ...
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  • 85.6k
6 votes

She's always knowing something she's not supposed to

Verbs of state such as to know, to like, to own, to understand, to mean are not usually used in progressive (aka continuous) tenses. In the sentence you've mentioned, you have used the Present ...
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  • 819
6 votes

Headed or heading?

If someone or something is headed somewhere, it means an orientation toward a particular destination. If someone is heading somewhere, then there is motion toward that destination, either currently or ...
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  • 27.5k
6 votes

Could someone explain to me the grammar of this sentence?

In a comment, John Lawler wrote: You don't have to use will when you refer to the future. Will is just another modal auxiliary verb, not "the future tense". English refers to the future in lots of ...
5 votes

Something was or is nice

Last year, we celebrated Christmas with the neighbours. It was really nice. It's still nice today that we did that last year, but the message I want to convey is that is was a nice thing at the time ...
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  • 35.8k
5 votes

Past Simple vs. Past Progressive

Both Initially I was planning to make this podcast ... and Initially I planned to make this podcast ... are grammatical. The reason that the speaker uses the progressive aspect is because he or she ...
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  • 31.3k
5 votes

Mixing tenses in past tense fiction

This sounds much more natural to me than "I thought I surprised him." Both have their place, and mean different things. If the narrating perspective considers after the story (whether from an ...
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  • 52.1k
5 votes

Mixing tenses in past tense fiction

The mixed tenses are actually correct in this case: I turned to leave, and he didn't try to stop me. This is a complete action that happened in the past. I think I surprised him. I know I ...
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5 votes

asked + lived/lives

There is no rule which says that all tenses in a statement have to be the same. Please believe that. In this latest question, I asked puts your action in the past. The next verb defines when on the ...
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  • 94.7k
5 votes

Is 'nothing is impossible' and 'anything is possible' the same?

They mean the same thing! There's no difference besides the use of different words.
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  • 958
5 votes
Accepted

“I am not going to use it recently” Is this technically correct?

Recent refers always to the past, never the future. I have not used it recently. You can say I am not going to use it in the near future or any time soon.
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  • 17.8k
5 votes
Accepted

If clause with a past tense about future for hypothetical condition

Yes, the past tense (the preterite) is used in this way in English also. When used in such a way, it is said to express modal remoteness. Discussion Here is an example (CGEL, p.85): [29]  ii  If he ...
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5 votes

If clause with a past tense about future for hypothetical condition

Using will in the apodosis normally requires a real protasis,not an unreal protasis SUMMARY: To use will in the "then" part, you cannot have a hypothetical in the "if" part. ...
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  • 127k
4 votes

Can you use past and present tense in the same sentence?

In your first sentence, you switch from past to present tense where the second clause is a temporal qualifier, which is not allowed. "...he comes over quite often, he and I got on quite well when ...
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  • 2,451
4 votes

"If you get lonely, I hope you phone me" vs. "will phone me"

Both are grammatical. To me the second (or rather, the contracted version I hope you'll phone me) is more natural. However, neither of them is particularly natural for me, because I wouldn't combine ...
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