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I don't know whether to choose to use past simple or present simple after when(where).

For example:

  1. I like the part where he kills the villain.

  2. I like the part where he killed the villain.

1 and 2 both sound natural and seem interchangeable.

  1. I like the part where he doesn't kill the villain.

  2. I like the part where he didn't kill the villain.

According to the first 2 examples, 3 and 4 should have no difference but 4 sounds unnatural.

So the question is what is the difference between using past simple or present simple after when(where) in these cases and if 4 has a different meaning, then what is it?

Also

  1. I like the part where he had killed the villain.

What is the difference between 5 and the other 4?

Thanks in advance.

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  • They are all fine. I like the part where he had killed the villain [before they left the city].
    – Lambie
    Feb 23 '21 at 22:16
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This is not really about the grammar of when or where. These usually follow the normal rules for backshifting:

I like it when you sing that song.

I liked it when you sang that song.

This question is about the way we talk about stories - books, films, etc. We have the choice of talking about them in the present (as the timeless things they are) or in the past (our experience of watching or reading them).

I find all your examples equally natural, and also a third pair:

I liked the part where he killed the villain.

I liked the part where he didn't kill the villain.

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  • Thanks for answering. I am no longer confused. One more question. Is 5 the example value and when do we use it?
    – ikigai20
    Sep 29 '19 at 1:05
  • Also there was an sentence which says "Sorry in advance to anybody whose name I pronounce wrong". I think it should be "pronounced" rather than "pronounce" , so why is present simple used in this sentence?
    – ikigai20
    Sep 29 '19 at 3:45
  • Also why it is "timeless"?
    – ikigai20
    Sep 29 '19 at 3:55
  • Is present simple referring to the past in these sentences like it do when we tell stories?
    – ikigai20
    Sep 29 '19 at 4:36
  • The book, or the film, or the TV programme, exists, in the past, and the present, and the future, so it is "timeless", and we can refer to it - and our feelings for it - in the present if we wish. Our reading or watching it was in the past, so we can refer to it - and our feelings for it - in the past if we wish.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 29 '19 at 8:18

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