Grammar Question: Do/Did

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Crono91
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Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby Crono91 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:54 pm

So, I'm reading a book that's written in past tense. And the author has this line,

"I don't know when the boats would come."

Isn't "don't" present tense?

I wondered if the rule slightly changes when it comes to knowledge, because "didn't know" isn't kind a weird thing to read.

Or did the author just break the rule and it didn't quite matter?
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ostarella
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby ostarella » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:07 pm

I'd have to see it in context, I guess. You're correct that "don't/do not" is present tense; then again, if the character is reflecting on something that happened earlier as if it were happening 'now', it would be correct.
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RobTheThird
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby RobTheThird » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:12 pm

Old commercial: "Ya doesn't have to call me Ray..."

I think context matters. It *could* be a colloquialism. Slang.

Or it could be describing thoughts in present tense. Like a recollection.

Can't tell what intent was from this.

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wdarcy
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby wdarcy » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:40 pm

Why did you place quotation marks around the sentence? Were they there in the original, signifying that this is dialogue? If so, "don't" would be correct.

If the quotation marks were not there, then "didn't" would be correct. But again, we would have to know the context.

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Alice Holt
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby Alice Holt » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Agreed. Would have to see the paragraph and put it in context. I don't know if your example is a conversation, which might make it correct grammar, or part of the past tense narrative which might be clumsy or not grammatically correct. And it doesn't sound like the book is very good if you can take yourself out of it and fixate on its grammar.

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Crono91
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby Crono91 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:21 pm

Well, it's shadow and bone, which is the first book in the popular Grisha series.

That said, it isn't dialogue. xD I'm not THAT far behind. It's just in the middle of traditional narrative, with her going through the events of an action scene.

But I got my answer from someone else, so we good :P
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Re: Grammar Question: Do/Did

Postby manlock » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:22 am

RobTheThird wrote:

>
> I think context matters.


Completely agree.


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