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Hi all,

This is my first post, and i really hope someone can help me here.
I was writing this piece, when it suddenly struck me that there seems to be little tense consistency in my writing.
For example, consider this (just a contrived piece):

"Nick sat down, thinking about all that had happened, wondering where it would take him, wondering if it made any sense to stay any longer. He took out his cellphone and began dialing a number, even as a million doubts assaulted him. A loud song blared out from the speakers but he didn't take note..."

I've bolded the areas where I feel the conflicts occur. It really sounds alright, but does it comply to conventional English grammar. I mean, is it alright, or should I be doing something differently here.

I would be really grateful to anyone who could explain the rightness/wrongness of this style. I just can't seem to be able to make sense out of it.

Thanks in advance.
Comments  
Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

This seems fine to me. I don't know why you are unsure about it.

Best wishes, Clive
Thank you for the prompt reply Clive.

My doubt concerns the way I've changed the tenses in each sentence.

"Nick sat down, thinking about all that had happened, wondering where it would take him, wondering if it made any sense to stay any longer. He took out his cellphone and began dialing a number, even as a million doubts assaulted him. A loud song blared out from the speakers but he didn't take note..."

Here, Nick "sat" is clearly a past tense. But right after the comma I've used "thinking", then another comma, "wondering", and so on. So my question would be, what tense are those parts of the sentences in? He sat down in the past, but this thinking and wondering, at what time frame are they occurring in? I hope I'm asking the right questions here, I'm not very good with the terminology. And the next sentence again starts in a past sense. And then, the "began dialing" what tense would that be, past progressive? Basically I'm really confused. A little explanation would help. Thanks a lot again.
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Hi,
My doubt concerns the way I've changed the tenses in each sentence.

"Nick sat down, thinking about all that had happened, wondering where it would take him, wondering if it made any sense to stay any longer. He took out his cellphone and began dialing a number, even as a million doubts assaulted him. A loud song blared out from the speakers but he didn't take note..."

Here, Nick "sat" is clearly a past tense. Yes.
But right after the comma I've used "thinking", then another comma, "wondering", and so on. So my question would be, what tense are those parts of the sentences in? He sat down in the past, but this thinking and wondering, at what time frame are they occurring in? I hope I'm asking the right questions here, I'm not very good with the terminology.
The words 'thinking / wondering / wondering' are just participles acting as adjectives which describe Nick. They don't involve any tense at all. The tense is supplied by the verb 'sat'. Consider these simple examples which illustrate this point.

Nick sat, thinking.
Nick sits, thinking.
Nick will sit, thinking.

And the next sentence again starts in a past sense.Yes, it's Simple Past. And then, the "began dialing" what tense would that be, past progressive? Yes. Basically I'm really confused. A little explanation would help. Simple Past focuses on the event that happened. Progressive stresses duration. There's nothing at all unusual about using these two tenses together.

eg I saw Tom yesterday. He was walking down the street.

Best wishes, Clive
hi
i think the text complies with conventional english grammar rules.i have found no mistake or strangeness
My doubt concerns the way I've changed the tenses in each sentence.

"Nick sat down, thinking about all that had happened, wondering where it would take him, wondering if it made any sense to stay any longer. He took out his cellphone and began dialing a number, even as a million doubts assaulted him. A loud song blared out from the speakers but he didn't take note..."

Here, Nick "sat" is clearly a past tense. Yes.
But right after the comma I've used "thinking", then another comma, "wondering", and so on. So my question would be, what tense are those parts of the sentences in? He sat down in the past, but this thinking and wondering, at what time frame are they occurring in? I hope I'm asking the right questions here, I'm not very good with the terminology''

'''"Nick sat down, thinking about all that had happened, wondering where it would take him, wondering if it made any '''
as i have said the sentences are right.such words as 'he sat down THİNKİNG,SPEAKİNG..etc are used also to not use the same words again.because its unnecesarry.
you may have said tgis sentences such as 'nick sat down.he was thinking(or he thought) about all that happened.he wondered where it would take him.he wondered if it made any.....
but as i have said there is no need to longten the sentences...and here the practicality comes into being.
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@Clive

That was a very helpful explanation. I never really considered the participles acting as adjective. Made a lot of things make a lot more sense Emotion: smile . Actually I've always been a little cautious when mixing any kind of tenses and I'm never quite sure what combination is "acceptable" and what is not. I usually just try to read out the sentence and look to it that it "sounds" alright.

@macavalesi9

Yes, what you said actually makes sense. Using such a construct actually reduces the amount of redundancy in the prose.

Once again, thanks for all your help people. You guys rock.