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Which one of these sentences is grammatically correct?

  • Why did the writer use this word?
  • Why does the writer use this word?
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  • Both, although your question is not clear. I think you mean, "When we discuss an author's works, should we use past or present tenses?"
    – Yuri
    Feb 17, 2017 at 10:50
  • actually, I want to ask question on this website (ell), so I'm wondering which form I should use.
    – Shannak
    Feb 17, 2017 at 10:53
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    Grammatically both sentences are correct, but "Hamburgers eat cows" is also grammatically correct. You need to provide a context in which you intend to use one of these sentences.
    – Yuri
    Feb 17, 2017 at 11:01
  • This is the context: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/119754/…
    – Shannak
    Feb 17, 2017 at 11:07
  • You can find your answer here: Tense usage with dead writers' work
    – Yuri
    Feb 17, 2017 at 11:15

1 Answer 1

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You would use "did" to indicate a single (or repeated) occurrence of something in the past.

You would use "does" to indicate a repeated or regular occurrence of something in the present.

In this case, either works when talking about a written work. The writer wrote it in the past, but you are reading it in the present. The only difference is your own personal point of view -- are you making this comment from the POV of the writer, or from you as the reader?

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