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Question: Can you mix in present tense with past tense to mean that something said in the past is still happening?

For example:

David told me last year that it was still very common for people in this town to eat hotdogs daily.

I am not sure if I should use it was or it is very common. If I say this sentence to somebody right now, it sounds as if it is no longer very common this year that people eat hotdogs daily.

  • This is not really the present tense. "To eat" is the infinitive. Also it's reported speech so we can't know if it's still going on. – Andrew May 14 '18 at 16:04
  • So what happen if it's still going? Can I say "david told me last year that it is still very common for people to eat hotdogs daily." I mixed told with is. – most venerable sir May 15 '18 at 2:08
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    Yes, you can but it's still reported speech. – Andrew May 15 '18 at 6:14
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"It has been very common for people in this town to eat hot dogs daily for the past year as Dave stated a year ago" sounds more natural to me. Present perfect continuous can be used to talk about something that was and is still valid.

  • Possibly correct, but it doesn't really answer the question. Also your sentence seems far more convoluted than the original, and not at all "natural", and again you're still talking about reported speech, which isn't the same as "mixing past tense and present tense". – Andrew May 15 '18 at 6:14
  • But the question was whether it's possible to do that, not necessarily how to do it. What I think he asked for is a way to say that something that began in the past is still in progress and that's exactly what present perfect continuous is for. How is my sentence convoluted (=confusing)? – kostas5m May 15 '18 at 18:51
  • @Andrew could you explain what you mean in your previous comment and answer to my reply to it? – kostas5m May 17 '18 at 16:47

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