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Does "Soon people all over America were using Franklin stoves" work in a past-tense context?
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I found an explanation of this type of expression in Jespersen's A Modern English Grammar(IV,12.6(5),P.183): The expanded preterit is found in a very characteristic way with words like soon after ...

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her experience growing up in Canada
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According to 17.35 Appositive postmodification by infinitive and -ing clauses (p.1271) [1], they seem to be in apposition. The -ing clause functions as appositive postmodification in examples like I'...

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