I read a book about the Taj Mahal. They have a question and an answer:

What materials were used to make it?

It is made of white marble.

I wonder if a simple present answer for a simple past question is correct or not? In my opinion, it's correct since the answer is a truth - Taj Mahal is made of white marble.

Hope to receive your answers.

  • 1
    "Correct" does not apply. Your response would be understood to mean that marble was the original material, but not because of any specific feature of the English language.
    – TimR
    May 4, 2016 at 20:30
  • I wonder if a simple present answer for a simple past question is grammatically correct or not?
    – Sour Tofu
    May 5, 2016 at 10:52
  • There is nothing in the grammar that requires your answer to be in a particular tense, based on the tense of the question. "Can you swim? -- I am taking swimming lessons. I have taken swimming lessons. I took swimming lessons. I will be taking swimming lessons. I wish I had taken swimming lessons...." None of the replies is "yes" or "no", so none would satisfy a lawyer in a court of law. But they're all grammatical.
    – TimR
    May 5, 2016 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Answering using either

It is made of white marble.
It was made with white marble.

would both be correct, since the Taj Mahal is still made of the same white marble.
You can do this if something is continuing/ongoing or habitual.

The same would be for

Have you been to the seaside?
I go every summer.

Have you ever played baseball?
I play every Saturday morning with my team.

  • does it mean that I can use simple present in this case without creating any ambiguous meaning?
    – Sour Tofu
    May 5, 2016 at 10:56
  • There is no ambiguity saying "It is made of white marble." as long as the original question is also present to give context. On it's own, "It is made of white marble" may be ambiguous if one might think the Taj Mahal was renovated between the time it was first built and when this answer is given.
    – Peter
    May 5, 2016 at 13:53

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