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I read the 2/05 Micawber/Jack thread about present tense, but I still have this question:

Our grandmother moved into a new, local retirement home one month ago. One year ago, she lived in a different, local retirement home. It also happens that a male friend of our family might be moving into a local retirement home. Is it correct to say:

"Wouldn't it be funny if he moved into the same place Grandmother was?" if they're referring to her new retirement home? To me, that statement seems to be referring to her old retirement home. But somebody whom I think has a good grasp of grammar made that statement and explained that it is correct.

A different person suggested the statement is probably correct, because we know it's correct to say something like the following: "What if I told you my wife was pregnant?" But I'm not sure that statement follows the same rules of grammar as my original example. For example, it sounds correct to me to say: "What if I told you Grandmother was living there?", (referring to the new retirement home), yet my original example still doesn't sound correct.

1) Is my original example correct? It's just confusing because the grandmother happened to live in two different, local retirement homes, but it's still correct?

2) Is it correct to use either "was" OR "is" in my original example? I.e., are both correct?

3) What rules regarding tenses apply to my original example?

4) What's the best, comprehensive resource that you would recommend for learning more about tenses (my biggest language challenge). Thank you!
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Comments  
In the end, it comes down to comprehensibility. Even among native speakers, you may have to explain yourself if the listener is unsure of your meaning, and asks, 'do you mean granny's old home or her new home?'

(1) Correct but perhaps confusing for the reason you give.
(2) Both OK by me. 'Was' because the verb normally retrogresses, and 'is' because her current location appertains.
(3) The same rules as we went over in the original thread.
(4) Frankly, I'd say the internet is your biggest resource. Just type in and search the name of the tense you are interested in. Googling [url="http://www.google.com/search?as_q=&num=10&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=verb+tenses&as_oq=&as_e... "]VERB TENSES[/url] gives you 96,000 pages.
Sandie wrote:
"Wouldn't it be funny if he moved into the same place Grandmother was?" if they're referring to her new retirement home? To me, that statement seems to be referring to her old retirement home. But somebody whom I think has a good grasp of grammar made that statement and explained that it is correct.

JTT: Sandie, this is a hypothetical conditional sentence. It's no different in meaning to,

2. Won't it be funny if he moves into the same place Grandmother is?"

Using past tense FORMS does NOT reflect any past tense or past time meaning; it doesn't address Grandma's previous place of residence. Two potential differences between the original and #2. are;

a. that the speaker sees the likelihood of the man moving into the same home as grandma as a more remote possibility, OR

b. in situations where there is a good chance of something happening, either the "subjunctive" style or the indicative can be used.

1a. "If G Bush dies while in office, the Constitution provides ..."

1b. "If G Bush died while in office, the Constitution provides ... "

Of course, both refer to hypothetical situations but this is a hypothetical that can/could come true. Neither 1a. nor 1b. anticipates G Bush dying while in office but fifty-eight-plus-year- old men die every day. We have a "middle ground" hypothetical which means this is one that sits roughly half way between impossible and full on reality.

Now, having said that, I want to make it clear that all this doesn't mean that it's impossible for the original statement,

"Wouldn't it be funny if he moved into the same place Grandmother was?"

to have referred to Grandma's previous retirement home. Context would clue us in, and it's likely the speaker would add something more like, "was living at?"

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Sandie wrote:
A different person suggested the statement is probably correct, because we know it's correct to say something like the following: "What if I told you my wife was pregnant?" But I'm not sure that statement follows the same rules of grammar as my original example. For example, it sounds correct to me to say: "What if I told you Grandmother was living there?", (referring to the new retirement home), yet my original example still doesn't sound correct.

JTT: This is the same idea as the first one. Once again, the past tense FORMS are NOT reflective of past tense/time meaning. We ENLs use them to be less direct, more polite, to phrase our questions and statements in a less challenging way.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Mister Micawber,

Thanks for your very helpful answer! The combination of info from yours and JTT's (2/20) post answered my questions quite clearly.

In my original 2/19 post, I didn't word my question #4 (regarding resources for verb tense questions) very clearly. Per your suggestion, I will take another look at website results from Googling Verb Tenses, but I was also wondering if you might have a favorite (user friendly) website and/or book which you could recommend that most comprehensively addresses rules regarding verb tenses. I often have to check 2 or 3 references before finding my answers, and I often don't find those references to be user friendly.

Thank you again!

Sandie
JTT,

Thank you for your very clear and helpful answer. Your examples and your use of grammatical terms were especially helpful to me.

Sandie
I don't, Sandi, sorry.
I often have to check 2 or 3 references before finding my answers, and I often don't find those references to be user friendly.

Me too!
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
You're very welcome, Sandie. As to books and websites on grammar, you have to be very, very careful. Traditional grammars, the kind that are found most in bookstores, are full of inaccuracies on language. In many cases these inaccuracies have been simply transferred wholesale to websites.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

HOW GRAMMARS OF ENGLISH HAVE MISSED THE BOAT
THERE'S BEEN MORE FLUMMOXING THAN MEETS THE EYE

Charles-James N. Bailey

Consider the possibility that English grammar has been misanalysed for centuries because of grammarians’ accepting fundamentally flawed assumptions about grammar and, not least, because of a flawed view of the history of English; and that these failings have resulted in a huge disconnect between English grammars and the genius of the English that really exists among educated native-speakers. The devel­opment of the information age and of English as a world language means that such lapses have even greater negative import than formerly. But what is available on the shelves has fallen into sufficient discredit for grammar to have forfeited its place in the curriculum, unrespected and little heeded by the brighter students.

{See also: http://www.EnglishForward.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=70783 }

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I don't know how deep your interest goes, but there are many excellent resources available at higher levels but both the price of the books and the complexity goes up quite dramatically.

One excellent book that gives a good overall review of how language actually works is,

The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course
by Marianne Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman
ISBN: 0-8384-4725-2

It's a bit pricey new, around 80 smackers, but there are used available for about half that.
Thanks JTT! I'm more interested now that I know about these two great resources.

I've now reviewed THE GRAMMAR BOOK on Amazon and will likely purchase it. (It appears it may be possible to purchase it in paperback even more cheaply than used.) Also, I've begun studying Bailey's very helpful 'Orlapubs' website.

Do you view CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, THE NYT MoS, and STRUNK AND WHITE, as being reliable sources?

Thank you again.
Thank you again, Mister Micawber. It appears from your answer that checking 2-3 sources is, therefore, probably not inefficient. This is helpful to know.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
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