Past vs present

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Past vs present

Post by toedrika »

Good afternoon,
Look at this sentence :
"Yesterday I saw a policeman; he was my uncle."
I know that the past tense has no relation to the present tense. But what if I want to say that the policeman is still my uncle, keeping the same sequence of tense, if possible.
I hope I made myself clear.
Please help me in this grammar question.
Thanks and kind regards
Antoine Ghannoum
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Re: Past vs present

Post by Alan »

This is really not a grammar point, since we are discussing two distinct main clauses (effectively - in grammatical terms - two separate sentences), each of which is grammatical.

In this particular case, if the man in question was your uncle, he presumably cannot have ceased being so since that time, and so there would not seem to be any need to specify that he is still your uncle now.

On the other hand, if the noun in question were instead, say 'friend', you could simply rephrase the sentence thus: He was (and still is) my friend.

I hope that answers your question!