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Relative topic I posted last time:Tense usage in an imaginary discussion

This time, I have some questions about "what if an imaginary situation is something mixing up different times" I believe many learners have the same question in mind, so I decided to post it.


Example 1,

(using present tense to talk about an imaginary situation)

I am talking to my friend about an imaginary situation:

What I say to my friend:

You are walking on the streets. You meet a beautiful woman that you saw yesterday.

Because you went to a coffee shop and saw her sitting beside the window the previous day.

(back to the imaginary present)

Then, You guys chat and have a good time. It seems like she is your right one. Will you ask for her number?

Example 2

(using past subjunctive to talk about an imaginary situation)

I am talking to my friend about an imaginary situation

What I say to my friend:

You were walking on the streets. You met a beautiful woman that you had seen yesterday.

Because you had been to a coffee shop and had seen her sitting beside the window the previous day.

(back to the imaginary present)

OK, then, You guys chatted and had a good time. It seemed like she was your right one. Would you ask for her number?

Can I mix tenses like the above examples when I talk or write an imaginary situation?

PS: By the way, since talking about the plot of a book, movie, or video can mix tenses like this to convey a better picture of what the plot is about, I think talking about something imaginary probably follows the same rules.

  • Example 1 sounds natural and evokes a very particular impression: you are asking your friend to immerse himself in this imaginary world, and collaborate with you to create it and decide what happens. This happens when people play Dungeons and Dragons, for example. It is harder for me to think of contexts where the second example would sound natural. – Tom Church Feb 25 '18 at 18:20
  • Thank you for your answer. Yes, I agree. According to the previous answer I got, it is ok to use past subjunctive to convey the idea of imaginary situations, so I just wonder whether it is ok to use past perfect to make the past events distinctive. – vincentlin Feb 26 '18 at 4:32

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