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In British English, the present perfect (which Samuel Johnson called, perhaps more appropriately, the compound preterite) is used to situate past events, or the consequences of past events, in relation to the present situation (that's why linguists call it the "present" perfect).Americans do not always use the present perfect in this situation.Quoting an essay, you would write, when she lived in Virginia's mountains.
These tenses can be used in the active, as in the examples on this page, or the passive."Contends," however, appears in a statement about Dillard's writing, so it is in the present tense.The above examples are a plot summary and a direct quotation, both of which use the literary present.In conversational stories, you don’t have to stick to past tenses. You can’t merrily shift between past and present with no rhyme or reason.You can shift between past, present and even future verb forms. Native speakers don’t randomly choose verb tenses when they telling their stories.Telling stories is a huge part of conversational English, so being comfortable with narrative tenses is important for English fluency.Most English lessons about narrative tenses in English focus on the following 4 tenses: Past simple Past perfect Past continuous Past perfect continuous But did you know that you can use present tenses in English conversations even when you are telling a story about the past?You can see the relationship between (1), (2), and (3) in the timeline below.“I drive right past” tells the listener that it’s something I do regularly.To finish up, below you will find more examples of narrative past tenses mixes with the simple present. This page looks at the different ways of expressing past time in English.