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Hi guys,

I wonder whether the phrase 'I always assumed' in the passage below has been correctly used because all the other verbs (italicised) are in the present tense.

Nichiren Daishonin in `Banishment to Sado' states: "I always assumed that, on the path of attaining Buddhahood, one is certain to meet some great trial that will demand of him that he be willing to give up his life; only then can one become a Buddha. And already, just as the sutra states, I have been cursed and vilified, attacked with swords and staves, rocks and tiles, and banished again and again. I therefore believe that I am reading the Lotus Sutra with my entire being. My faith increases all the more and I am confident of my future existence."

Should 'I always assume' or 'I have always assumed' take its place? If not, could someone suggest another phrase.

Many thanks

Yoong Liat
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I have always assumed would be much better.

I always assumed X does not imply, however, that I do not assume X now. No conclusion can be drawn one way or the other about the present.

I used to assume X, on the other hand, implies (weakly) that I do not assume X now.

CJ
Comments  
I think "I have always assumed" would work better. As I understand it, "I have always assumed" implies that you still assume, while "I always assumed" implies that you used to assume but no longer do.
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Ah, you're right, CJ! Subtle, subtle differences. Thanks for the clarification.
LearningNerdI think "I have always assumed" would work better. As I understand it, "I have always assumed" implies that you still assume, while "I always assumed" implies that you used to assume but no longer do.
Hi LearningNerd,

I agree with your interpretation of 'I have always assumed' and 'I always assumed'. Indeed, 'I always assumed' means 'I used to assume but, for some reason or other, I no longer assume.'

In the context of the passage, the speaker 'still assumes' what he said. This is evident from the other verbs in the present tense. If the speaker 'always assumed but no longer does so', then all the other verbs should be in the past tense. But based on the passage, the speaker 'still assumes', so 'I have always assumed' should be the correct expression.
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On one hand you could be right but on the other it is not I always assumed that is the problem but the present and future. Actually if you want to be precise present should be past and will to pass to would or to present.

There are two options:

I was a kid. At that time, I always assumed that my parents are rich.

I always assumed suggests the moment when I was thinking about that and that was happening in the past. You can’t shift it to have assumed because you are no longer a child.

  1. my parents are rich is the fact that has never changed - they are rich, you can’t say they were rich because then you suggest that they were not rich
  2. my parents are rich is the event or happening from the past that is deliberately shifted to the present to make all events more vivid. It is a very common figure and is used in long passages like the one in your example.


  3. If you have at that time before I always assumed, or something that has happened later that has changed the state of the writer or, what I want to say, anything that can suggests that I always assumed is the true past then you can freely understand the rest of your passage as said above.