1. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    trouble with mixed tenses

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by criticalsexualmass, Aug 18, 2014.

    I've been avoiding a specific king of "mixed" phrasing, assuming it was wrong. I know I've read it a thousand times, but I finally came across an example of it that I recognized (and at a time I wasn't too drunk to ask about it) in "Foundation's Edge" by Isaac Asimov:

    "She did not always look older, but she did so now."

    Since we so often write in this third person past tense narrative, I want some feedback. I have always felt as if this were correct, yet it feels wrong. It mixes tenses, and seems confusing. We all have come across it, we all have seen it in our drafts. Is it correct?
     
  2. FrodoKreuger
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    FrodoKreuger Member

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    Actually, that's all past tense. I'm assuming the "now" is the part you are referring to, but if you check dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/now?s=t (1) or the Oxford Online Dictionary http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/now (2) you'll see it can refer to the specific time being spoken about rather than the time at which the description is being delivered. Thus, in that sentence, "now" refers to the point n time where she looked older.

    (1)
    at this time or juncture in some period under consideration or in somecourse of proceedings described:
    The case was now ready for the jury.

    (2)
    (In a narrative or account of past events) at the time spoken of or referred to:
    she was nineteen now, and she was alone
     
  3. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I didn't figure Asimov would screw up, so I'm not surprised. It's one of those things that grates on my mind when I read it. Thanks for the clarification.
     

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