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I'm wondering whether the boldfaced forms in the follownig should have been changed into the past tense, e.g., "were," "could," and "was."

M: How was your stay at the hotel?

W: Excellent. The pool was wonderful. And the room was clean.

M: Sounds great. Did you go anywhere else?

W: No. We just stayed there all day. There are several good coffee shops in it. We can even have meals there. It is great, right?

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  • A side note: it would be more fluent to say "Did you go anywhere else?" (with no to) – stangdon Apr 13 at 1:08
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I don't think they should be changed into the past tense. The reason why W used the present tense is that she was stating facts. Facts are always true to the speaker at the time of utterance.

When W said, "there are several good coffee shops in it," it implies she saw good coffee shops when she first stayed at the hotel. And when she left the hotel, the good coffee shops still exist. If she said, "there were several good coffee shops in it," it sounds weird because it might mean that all good coffee shops are taken down and are replaced by bad ones.

The follow-up sentences "we can even have meals there" and "it is great" tells more about the fact "there are several good coffee shops in it". They are also facts, so they must be in the present tense.

Edit: As explained by @stangdon, it is wrong to say "we can even have meals there" because W is not in the hotel anymore. It is better to say "we could even have meals there" in this context.

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    I think it's OK to say "there are several good coffee shops" but I think "We can even have meals there" sounds wrong, because the stay was in the past. Clearly she cannot have meals there now, because she is not there, so "We could even have meals there" works better. – stangdon Apr 13 at 1:07
  • @Jimmy Yang Are you a Chinese speaker? – Apollyon Apr 13 at 1:21
  • @stangdon What do you think of the "It is great"? – Apollyon Apr 13 at 1:22
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    @Apollyon "It is great" sounds okay to me. It depends on what W was referring to. If W refers to her hotel stay, then it is better to use "It was great." – Jimmy Yang Apr 13 at 1:37
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    @Apollyon "It was great, wasn't it?" sounds even more like W is asking M whether it was great. Yes, people sometimes use right, but it's better used like "You wanted me to buy the large eggs, right?" Otherwise it's a filler word, a meaningless verbal tic like, "So yesterday I went downtown, right? And I ran into my old friend Jimmy, right? And we agree to go get lunch together, right?" It's a way of checking if the listener is still listening, not asking for their agreement. – stangdon Apr 13 at 11:28
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W: No. We just stayed there all day. There are several good coffee shops in it. We can even have meals there. It is great, right?

This conversation seems to be about a recent hotel stay and, though the stay is past, it is reasonable to assume that the good coffee shops are still there. The use of present tense are in paragraph 4 should be fine.

The clause

It is great, right?

however seems to describe more of that stay rather than the presence of coffee shops, hence was should be more appropriate.

The clause

We can even have meals there

is less clear. Coffee shops' allowing customers to have meals there is a reasonable assumption, but if it is highlighted as if it is a special arrangement, then it could be it, special. I hence interpret that to also be describing more of that stay and hence suggest was.

There are several good coffee shops in it. We could even have meals there. It was great, right?

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