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Imagine that it's the beginning of September and the brother is not fine yet.

A: This summer was horrible, I didn't even get to go anywhere. We have been struggling for my brother to recover from his accident. What did you do this summer instead?

B: Well we did many things and I had a lot of fun, now for example I'm in New York and I'm loving everything about it. Over this summer I've thought many times about texting you but I've never done that because I didn't want to disturb you. I hope your brother gets better soon.

I was wondering whether can we mix present perfect and past simple this way or should I always stick to one of this two tenses when using "this Summer" and others? Because more than anything I'm not sure about mixing past simple(because from my point of view Summer is over) with present perfect (because my brother hasn't recovered yet). Plus from B's point of view summer is not over since they are still on a vacation.

  • There are several problems in your text and this makes it difficult to see exactly what your question is. In particular, I don't see any actual mixing of tenses. I see one sentence that is clearly in the past tense, and another that uses present perfect. – James K Sep 3 '17 at 19:02
  • Could you tell me where you see these problems and how you would fix them? – Eliana Grosso Sep 3 '17 at 19:06
  • It's fine to mix many tenses together as long as the overall sentence makes logical sense. If you can narrow the question down to a specific example of this, we might be able to help you better. – Andrew Sep 3 '17 at 21:49
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You should use the appropriate tense at each point. You start talking about the summer in the past tense. No problem here.

This summer was horrible, I didn't even get to go anywhere.

Next you change to the present perfect. That's not an error. But the use of the word struggling is awkward, it looks like translationese. Better to use past tense for the accident and present perfect for your current state:

My brother had an accident, and we've been helping him recover.

"B" can also use whatever tense is appropriate. First sentence is about the past, so past tense. Second sentence is about the present, so present tense. The "I'm loving" is casual (continuous tense of stative verb), but I think acceptable here

We did loads of things and I had lots of fun. Like now, for example, I'm in New York! I'm loving everything about it.

A sentence can have mixed tense:

Yesterday I went shopping, as I will go to a party tomorrow and the bag that I had bought to take with me was too small.

Each finite clause has its own tense, and while jumping around tenses too much is confusing for the reader, and bad style, it is not incorrect.

  • Ok, thank you for your answer, you have been really clear. – Eliana Grosso Sep 3 '17 at 19:33
  • Would it be better with these changes? "A=This summer was horrible, I didn't even get to go anywhere. My brother had an accident and ever since we have been trying to help him out. What did you do this summer instead? B=We did loads of things, now ,for example I'm in New York and I'm loving everything about it. You know I've thought many times about texting you but I have never done It because I didn't want to disturb you". – Eliana Grosso Sep 3 '17 at 19:43
  • That's fine. Of course it is odd to spend time carefully crafting casual speech, like an artist carefully drawing a paint splash. – James K Sep 3 '17 at 19:58
  • Yeah I know but I'm learning english and so I want to learn the most appropriate ways to express my thoughts. Thanks again. – Eliana Grosso Sep 3 '17 at 20:12
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If you want to be strictly correct, I would change some verb tenses in the response. It is more logical in terms of time to use "had" rather than "have" for the auxiliary verb when something was done in the past and is over. Therefore, the wording should be "I had [not "have"] thought about texting you...but I never did [not "never have done"] that..."

  • Thank you for the correction. What if I didn't mention "over the summer". Could I say something like"I have though many times about asking you how you were but I haven't done it until now because I was afraid to disturb you". – Eliana Grosso Oct 17 '17 at 15:44
  • That sounds exactly right: "I have thought about it, but I haven't done it..." – user8356 Oct 17 '17 at 21:42

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