Storytime

Hav you ever read a story that wasn’t told in the past tense? Maybe a few here and there were in the present tense, but it’s safe to assume most short stories or novels you’ve read have been told in the past tense. I was thinking about this today while reading (specifically I think a shift from past simple to past perfect simple to talk about something that happened earlier in the story triggered it).

It’s something that’s true across many languages, and we’re so used to it we don’t really notice. But if you think about it, most stories would work just as well in the present tense. And some writers do use the present tense, for certain sections of their stories at least, to provide a sense of immediacy. So why not use that for the whole story then, and for every story? Continue reading

L’Uomo Pipistrello (Italian-Language Thoughts)

A quick update: you’ve probably been on the edge of your seat the last week or so, wondering if I’d find out if there’s an Italian equivalent of calling Batman The Bat or The Batman.

Well, I’ve been slowly making my through Batman: Anno Uno, and finally, close to the end, I’ve discovered the answer. Continue reading

He Had Had Good Grammar, Had he?

What does it really mean to be grammatically correct? Is it important? People often tell you that you shouldn’t get bogged down in grammar when learning a language, and should aim for real communication. And I agree about that whole communication thing, but you still need good fundamental grammar to do so. Grammar and natural use of English don’t have to be enemies. Continue reading