Hi Teachers,

This is a paragraph of a story:

Ten minutes later he was outside the house. He stopped and listened. “Strange!” he thought. “I can’t hear anything, not even a radio or a television, but there must be someone in there! There’s a light on!” Just at that moment, a thought struck him.

I know that the Simple Present and the Present Progressive are also used, especially in spoken English, to narrate a story in an informal style; even though the events are in the past. We use these two tenses to make the story more interesting, more emphatic, more vivid, like it is happening now.

The resulting part of the story with these tenses should be:

Ten minutes later he is outside the house. He stops and listens. “Strange!” he thinks. “I can’t hear anything, not even a radio or a television, but there must be someone in there! There’s a light on!” Just at that moment, a thought strikes him.

My question is, 'Just at that moment' should be, 'Just at this moment', right?

Thanks in advance
In my opinion it should probably be "at that moment." This is the kind of thing that native speakers know by instinct only and often can't explain in technical grammatical terms - like I'm having trouble explaining this. "That" just "sounds better" to my ear.

If I were to try to explain it in technical grammatical terms, I'd probably say that since it is understood that the action is in the past, "that" is more appropriate, since "that" implies distance, while "this" implies closeness - the past is "at a distance" from the present. "This" would probably be used if all the action were in the present, as in:

I'm approach the house. I'm stopping and listening. "Strange!" I'm thinking. "I can't hear anything, not even a radio or a television, but there must be someone in there! There's a light on!" Just at this moment, a thought is striking me."
Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for your reply.

But I've read the narratives should be changed like this:

From The Simple Past to the Simple Present and viceversa.

From the Past Progressive to the Present Progressive and viceversa.

That is used for the Narrative Tenses. So, if I have 'that', shouldn't it be 'this'?

AnonymousIf I were to try to explain it in technical grammatical terms, I'd probably say that since it is understood that the action is in the past,
The action is in the past, but I'm explaining it in the Simple Present to make it more vivid.

Best regards

TS
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hi again,
Thinking SpainThe action is in the past, but I'm explaining it in the Simple Present to make it more vivid.
What I meant was, if the text has a sentence in the Simple Past, the students should change it to the Simple Present, and if it has a sentence in the Past Progressive, the students should change it to the Present Progressive, as an exercise of course.

Said that, they work both tenses. Because some texts have Simple Past and Past Progressive tenses and some others have Simple Present and Present Progressive ones.

Isn't that correct to do, as I said, as an exercise?

'That' is used for the Narrative Tenses in past. So if I have 'that', shouldn't it be 'this' for narrative tenses in Present?

TS