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I was reading a Quora answer , which contained the following sentences :

"Before I moved here in 2013, I read everything I could lay my hands on about China, especially on the internet, and especially blogs written by people who had lived here or currently were."

While the sentences are clear and understandable, and my understanding of the sentences meant, by the time the writer were reading the blogs, the blog-writer were then living in China. Should the writer use "then" instead of "currently"?

I have a feeling "currently" can only work with present tense, am I wrong? Examples?

PS. the writer of the quoted sentences is an IELTS teacher, so I suppose he should be a master of grammar, and had reasons for his choice of words and right about them.

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I'm no English Major but I believe the answer is no. 'Currently', as defined by OED, means "At the present time." This being the case, any use of the word 'currently' when talking about the past would be incorrect use of the word.

The Quora user should have said

"people who had lived here or were living here at the time."

if they wished to be grammatically correct.

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Your understanding of the sentence is correct. "Currently" means at the given time, but that time doesn't necessarily have to be right now in real life. Alternatively the author could correctly say ...written by people who had lived there or were at the time. Currently just means "at the time being discussed" and the author is discussing the time period when he was reading the blogs.

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