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Our calendar is based on Julius Caesar's calendar.

Our calendar was based on Julius Caesar's calendar.

Which is correct "is" or "was"?

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  • Either one is possible, depending on what you want to say. May 25 '16 at 3:35
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Either one is possible, depending on what you want to say.

If you want to talk about what its current basis is, use is. If you want to refer to the past event of it being based, you would use the past tense. Our calendar was based on the Julian Calendar because of certain historical reasons.

Just like 'Our country was based on certain principles (back when it was founded)' and 'Our country is based on certain principles and citizens should respect them'.

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Is based or was based are passive forms of the verb "to base." The verb still refers to the subject of the sentence, "our calendar," and the rules of tense (present vs. past) still apply.

You can read more about present and past passive voice here:

http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/activepassive.html

If we are still using our calendar today, then we should use the present tense: "is based." It doesn't matter the exact moment when the decision was made to use the Julian calendar -- our calendar is still based on it today.

If our calendar used the Julian calendar in the past but today we use a different type of calendar, then we would say "was based."

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  • I don't understand why this answer deserves a downvote. Can a downvoter explain?
    – user24743
    May 25 '16 at 8:47
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My Suggestion "is based on" is correct.

Our calendar is based on Julius Caesar's calendar.

We all know that the simple present is used for fact (it remains fact for yesterday, today and tomorrow), whether it is used active or passive.

Our calendar is the present calendar and it is not an outdated calendar. Julius Caesar's calendar is an outdated calendar but it has a link to present calendar.

Additional Information: As it is fact, we cannot use other tense with this sentence.

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