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I was asked to talk about a beautiful place I visited. I said:

I went to Singapore last January..... (this is where I got and get confused all the time)

  1. It was a very beautiful place. - I back shifted even though it's still a beautiful place.
  2. In fact it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world. - I didn't back shift here because it's a fact but I got confused because I had back shifted (was a beautiful place) right before this sentence.
  3. My favorite place was Gardens by the bay. - It's still my favorite but since I was talking about the past and the question asked me to describe a past event I though back shifting would be correct.
  4. It had three gigantic greenhouses. - again the same problem as 3. It still has three greenhouses.

Please let me know if all my sentences were correct given the context.

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  • Do you know it still has those three greenhouses? I found a lovely spot in one place but when I went back there a couple of years later it had been rebuilt. So it was my favourite place in that city, but if I keep visiting somewhere frequently, then it is my favourite place. Oct 22, 2020 at 20:56

1 Answer 1

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Your sentences are all fine.

When you are talking about a place that still exists in the present but you experienced at a particular time in the past, you often have a choice of whether to speak about your feelings for it in the past or present tense.

You could say that a place you visited was very beautiful, referring to your experience on the visit, or you could say that it is very beautiful, reflecting the opinion you now hold of the place.

The only thing that might shape your choice of tense is whether you intend to visit a place again. For example, if you regularly visit a place it makes sense to say "I love it there"; whereas if you visited a place once and have no plans to return you are more likely to say "I loved it there".

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  • Thank you for the answer. But I don't think 2 can be back shifted can it?
    – Ashraf
    Oct 24, 2020 at 20:16

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