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When I'm storytelling I should use either present or past right? The events come in a logical sequence?

So I should use 'forget' here right?
1. If you have an accident because you forget to cancel the signal then it's your fault.
2. If you have an accident because you forgot to cancel the signal then it's your fault. (This is bad english with 'forgot'?)

Thanks.
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Comments  
No, it's not bad English, Jack. It's perfectly fine English.
To me it sounds as if in the first sentence the main action is hypothetical and in the second one the main action actually happened... Am I right?
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To me it sounds as if in the first sentence the main action is hypothetical and in the second one the main action actually happened... Am I right


Yes, the second one, it actually happened.

A Bedtime Story
by Gilles Pinette

1 Many moons ago, as Nanabush was ice fishing on the Great Spirit Lake, he caught a very
special fish. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes.
And even these eyes were not visible when the fish closed her eyelids.

2 As Nanabush pulled the invisible fish from the water, she spoke to him.

3 “Oh great Nanabush, spare me for I am nothing but a stinky clear fish and my body tastes like
the inside of a bear’s intestine. If you grant me freedom, I shall bestow two wishes on you.”

4 Nanabush considered this for a moment and after remembering his experience with eating
bear’s intestine, decided to give the fish her freedom. His two wishes were very simple. A
companion to share life with and an ice fishing shack with a heater.

5 However, Nanabush wanted to have proof of his remarkable catch, so he cut the eyelids off the
fish and then let her go. That is why to this day, fish have no eyelids.

6 The transparent fish was angered by this act of dishonour, but was wise beyond most mortals.
She decided to remind Nanabush and the rest of mankind of the qualities they lacked. She
released a great spirit to make mankind giving, caring, loving, compassionate, and kind every
year around the time she was caught. That day was the twenty-fifth of December and that
released spirit was the Spirit of Christmas.


I don't get this part:
This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes
.


Why did they use imgainary present conditional?

Why not this one:
1. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.

What do these mean?
2. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes
.
3. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.

I have another one right here. I don't get the use of conditionals with stories. I don't get which one to use. I have included the story if you need it. I just don't get the bolded part.

Dear Cecil:

My sources tell me that water, when it spirals out of a drain, flows in one direction only in the Northern Hemisphere and in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere. Is this so? Why? Is the spiral especially pronounced at the poles? Subdued at the equator? If I carried a drain across the equator would the spiral reverse directions? How do drains work in outer space? I know this probably seems like a lot of questions, but I have an unquenchable thirst for learning. --Victor C., Chicago

Dear Victor:

Lucky you found me then. Given the limitations of a once-a-week column, it is maybe an exaggeration to describe myself as an everlasting fountain of knowledge. But I am definitely an unstoppable leak.

The erroneous bit of folk wisdom you refer to says that water always drains in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere, and in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere. The supposed reason for this "fact" is the Coriolis effect, which has to do with the effect of the earth's rotation on moving objects.

Well, there is such a thing as the Coriolis effect. It explains why macroevents such as hurricanes rotate in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. However, when you get down to itty-bitty phenomena such as the water draining out of your bathtub, the Coriolis effect is insignificant, amounting to roughly three ten-millionths of the force of gravity (in Boston, at least, which is where they happened to do the measuring).

The boring truth is that water drains every which way no matter what hemisphere you're in, for reasons which have to do mostly with the shape of the drain, the way you poured in the water in the first place, and so on.

All this was demonstrated way back in 1962 by one Ascher Shapiro, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Shapiro filled a circular tank six feet in diameter and six inches high in such a way that the water swirled in a clockwise direction. (Remember, now, that Coriolis forces in the Northern Hemisphere act in a counterclockwise direction.)

Shapiro then covered the tank with a plastic sheet, kept the temperature constant, and sat down to read comic books or whatever scientists do while they wait for their experiments to percolate. When he pulled the plug after an hour or two, the water went down the drain clockwise, presumably because it still retained some clockwise motion from filling.

On the other hand, if Shapiro pulled the plug after waiting a full 24 hours, the draining water spiraled counterclockwise, indicating that the motion from filling had subsided enough for the Coriolis effect to take over. When the plug was pulled after four to five hours, the water started draining clockwise, then gradually slowed down and finally started swirling in the opposite direction.

Needless to say, unless you are a consummate slob, you do not wait 24 hours (or even 4-5 hours) to drain your bathtub. Hence the influence of the Coriolis effect may be safely described as slight.

But I'm sure the myth of the bathtub spirals will endure. Shapiro did his work in 1962 and I proclaimed it to the world in 1983. Yet next to the mystery of where all the baby pigeons are, this remains the commonest question I get.


4. ....if Shapiro pulled the plug after waiting a full 24 hours, the draining water spiraled counterclockwise, indicating that the motion from filling had subsided enough for the Coriolis effect to take over.

Why isn't it like this:
5. 4. ....if Shapiro had pulled the plug after waiting a full 24 hours, the draining water spiraled counterclockwise, indicating that the motion from filling had subsided enough for the Coriolis effect to take over.

What do #4 and #5 mean? How do I know what type of conditional to use for stories?

Thanks.
Part 1 - The fish

I don't get this part:
This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes.

Why did they use imaginary present conditional?

Why not this one:
1. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.

What do these mean?
2. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes.
3. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.



JTT: What do these mean, Jack?

I work in London.

Yesterday, I worked in London at a homeless shelter.
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Part 1- The Fish

I don't get this part:
This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes.


Why did they use imgainary present conditional?

Why not this one:
1. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.

What do these mean?
2. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not be seen at all if it were not
for two golden eyes
3. This fish was clear like the cool water and would not have been seen at all if it had not been for two golden eyes.

I change the bolded parts. I hope this is clearer.
I put some parts in bold. I hope this is clearer.

I changeD some of the parts and put them in bold. I hope this is clearer.

JTT: 'bold', to my knowledge, hasn't yet made it into English as a "recognized" verb, Jack. I know, I know, you can find it in Google, but it's not that common. And yes, ENLs have the "right" to make new verbs, even going so far as to fingerquote these new verbs {in fact, that's how we often mark new verbs}, but I'd recommend that you stay with the herd on this one.

I understood you completely in your first posting, Jack. But I'd like you to answer my questions below. While they may seem to be off the topic you've raised, I assure you that they are, dead on, the topic you've raised.

++++++++++++++++++++

JTT: What do these mean, Jack?

I work in London.

Yesterday, I worked in London at a homeless shelter.
JTT: What do these mean, Jack?

I work in London.

Yesterday, I worked in London at a homeless shelter.


I work in london. (This means you work in london. It's the place where you work.)

Yesterday, I worked in London at a homeless shelter. (This means you worked at a homeless shelter in London yesterday. You were in London working. It doesn't say if you work in London for a fact.)
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