Hi all,

Let's say I read an article on the internet yesterday and now I'm discussing the article with a friend.

Which tense should I use?

1. I read an article yesterday. In that article, it *** advice on how to maintain a guitar.
2. I read an article yesterday. In that article, it *** advice on how to maintain a guitar.

Many thanks.

Kit
New Member24
Hi Kit,

To your specific question, either is okay. 'gives' describes the general, normal state of that article, in much the same way as, "You're Kit", describes the general, normal condition of you as Kit.

Of course, you could use 'gave'. Here your focus has simply shifted from the general, normal state of that article to what you got from it. Using 'gives' may add a greater sense of nowness, the info is important, etc.

To help you get a better grasp on this, you should read the thread,

http://www.englishforums.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=75929
Regular Member849
You can put the post number only like this, JTT: 75929 (but no spaces within each pair of brackets). You can do the same with forums: 5.
Veteran Member92,083
SystemAdministrator: A system administrator takes care of the inner workings of the entire system. These users have the ability to promote, ban and modify other users.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
Many thanks, JTT.

So if I assume that the article is still available on the internet, I can use either "gives" or "gave" depending on the focuse as explained by you. But this only applies to non-living things. For living beings, I must say "Tom gave me advice on how to maintain a guitar.".

"gave" must be used in the following either condition, right?
1. The article has been removed from the internet.
2. I assume that the article is (was?) no longer there.

Thanks.
Kit
Hello Kit

You're right: 'Tom gave me advice...' would have to be in the past tense.

With an extant text, whether printed or virtual, you can use the present tense:

1. Shakespeare's 'Coriolanus' begins with a crowd scene.
2. This website provides some interesting information about the original design of the Gibson Les Paul.

But once the text is no longer extant, you have to revert to the past tense:

3. Shakespeare's great lost comedy, 'Elsinore: the Early Years', reputedly dealt with Hamlet's first year at university, and his youthful indiscretions with the then still under-age Ophelia.

4. Kit's old website had some good tips on guitar maintenance.

As you say, your use of 'gave' would show that the article was no longer there.

MrP
PS:

Oddly, if you specify the time of reading, and the reading material is ephemeral, it's more usual to use a past tense:

5. I read an interesting article yesterday. It contained some very useful advice about guitar maintenance.

Though this doesn't seem to apply to literary texts:

6. I read 'Hamlet' yesterday. It's about...

Strange.
Veteran Member12,806
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.
Thanks a lot for clearing my doubt, MrP.

Kit
Kit:
But this only applies to non-living things. For living beings, I must say "Tom gave me advice on how to maintain a guitar."

JTT: Likely a 'gave', Kit. But living or non-living makes no difference as far as I can see. Of course, if the speaker sees this as a one time offer of advice, 'gives' becomes virtually impossible.

Again, it depends on the focus.

"Tom gave me advice on how to maintain a guitar. He gives great advice on guitars. [granted, there is a shift in meaning]

Kit:

"gave" must be used in the following either condition, right?
1. The article has been removed from the internet.
2. I assume that the article is (was?) no longer there.

JTT: This isn't an either/or situation. Of course, as something fades into the past, it has a greater tendency to attract a past tense verb. But I don't think your considerations 1 & 2 are absolutes though they may 'urge' one to favor a past tense.
Thank you so much, JTT.

I have learnt much more here than from any grammar books I bought.

Kit
Live chat
Registered users can join here