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"it was currently" - does this make sense?

DrezDrez Registered User regular
I'm writing a short story in third person, past tense.
He was at least fifteen minutes away, he was supposed to be there at 9:00, and it was currently 8:58.

I'm not looking for potential rewrite suggestions. I actually think I'm going to change this anyway to a different phrasing, but I'm curious if "it was currently" actually makes sense since the story is told in a past tense. Does "currently" work here?[/quote]

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Does the exactness of the "current time" even help? You could just say he was thirteen minutes away instead.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited August 2020
    bowen wrote: »
    Does the exactness of the "current time" even help? You could just say he was thirteen minutes away instead.

    Thanks for the question. Yes, it is actually necessary foundation for the the rest of the paragraph/concept I am building to.

    I've already rewritten the above phrase to convey the specific times with different language while enabling the point I am leading to in the narrative, but I am trying to understand if the use or concept of "currently" actually even works within a past tense framework similar to the manner it's used above.

    edit: In other words, I'm not trying to fix the above phrase - its just an example at this point. The question is around use of the word "currently" in a past tense framework.

    Drez on
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Reads fine to me, I'm sure I've seen currently used loads of times like this, when it's referring to the current time for a person you are talking about in the past tense.



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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Yes that works in the past tense since it's being narrated as if it was occuring in real time.

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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Depends on the narration style for the rest of the story but it reads fine. Terry Pratchett used a lot of very wordy specific narration that felt good to read.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Thank you all!

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    BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    You could also just drop the word "currently" if you don't like how it reads.

    "Was 15 min away, supposed to be there by 9, and it was 858."

    Or change it to "and it was already 858"

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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    These kind of redundancies in how you can say something are one of the things I love about English. There's a lot of ways you can convey the information that our protagonist is running late, but I think the version that has "currently" in it like that kind of feels like you and the protagonist are both taking stock of the current situation.

    He's not just running late, you're both aware of it.

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    WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    Could drop the exact timing and just compare the remaining minutes in a rewording as well. "The meeting was in two minutes and he was still fifteen minutes away"

    Steam! Battlenet:Wisemantobes#1508
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Could drop the exact timing and just compare the remaining minutes in a rewording as well. "The meeting was in two minutes and he was still fifteen minutes away"

    You could, and that would feel like setting the scene. We're joining a character, knowing that they are late, after firstly focusing on the meeting.
    I could easily see that making sense if this is where we joined this part of the story, as you've got the meeting (which presumably you've learnt of earlier) as the focus, and we're now almost looking from a top down position and thinking about what will happen when the late character joins the meeting - but to me feels as if the point of view we'll take absent anything else is that of joining the meeting in media res, just in time to see the character interrupt it.

    Both are certainly valid, but that's how I'd see the different styles working. I'd follow the 'currently' phrase with a few bits where the reader shares what the protagonist here is feeling or their surroundings/travels from their point of view. That way the reader isn't sitting and waiting for the interruption to the meeting, but has had their focus drawn to the character and what they are doing - with happens when they burst through the door being more of a case of "what are they going to do next?" rather than "how will this go?". Are you following the roller coaster, or waiting to see the impact.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    it 'makes sense' in that the meaning of the sentence is understandable; you shouldn't use 'currently' because 1) it's redundant and 2) it screws up the tense of the sentence

    it's like writing "He was doing it tomorrow." It 'makes sense' in that the reader probably understands what it means, but it's not a good sentence.

    if playing around with tense like this is part of the point of the piece then fair enough, otherwise probably axe it

    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    “He was doing it tomorrow” actually doesn’t make sense to me, though. What is that intended to mean? I don’t think that statement is grammatically correct in any context?

    Do you mean “he was going to do it tomorrow”? I could see a phrase like “I’m doing it tomorrow” working, but only because the “going to” is an implied (and necessary) part of that phrase.

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    ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    “He was doing it tomorrow” actually doesn’t make sense to me, though. What is that intended to mean? I don’t think that statement is grammatically correct in any context?

    Do you mean “he was going to do it tomorrow”? I could see a phrase like “I’m doing it tomorrow” working, but only because the “going to” is an implied (and necessary) part of that phrase.

    "Hey, Bob, can you finish this TPS report for me?"
    "Well, I was doing it tomorrow, but sure, I can do it today instead."

    Was doing has "planning on" implied.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Drez wrote: »
    “He was doing it tomorrow” actually doesn’t make sense to me, though. What is that intended to mean? I don’t think that statement is grammatically correct in any context?

    Do you mean “he was going to do it tomorrow”? I could see a phrase like “I’m doing it tomorrow” working, but only because the “going to” is an implied (and necessary) part of that phrase.

    "Hey, Bob, can you finish this TPS report for me?"
    "Well, I was doing it tomorrow, but sure, I can do it today instead."

    Was doing has "planning on" implied.

    I don’t recall hearing (or reading) anyone imply “going to” to “planning to” in that manner. If you replace “was” with “am” it makes sense, but using “was” there kind of wrinkles my brain. I mean the only possible implication that makes it work is to add the phrase “going to” so I get your point, I just feel like that’s very uncommon or rare if it’s ever used?

    I have definitely heard “I am doing that tomorrow” (present tense) as a response to a question like “are you going to take out the trash?” or a statement like “I thought you took out the trash” I have never heard used in a past tense construction to imply a future action or a past plan of a future action.

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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I will have done it by the end of tomorrow.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    That makes sense to me even if it makes me want to defenstrate myself.

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    ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Drez wrote: »
    “He was doing it tomorrow” actually doesn’t make sense to me, though. What is that intended to mean? I don’t think that statement is grammatically correct in any context?

    Do you mean “he was going to do it tomorrow”? I could see a phrase like “I’m doing it tomorrow” working, but only because the “going to” is an implied (and necessary) part of that phrase.

    "Hey, Bob, can you finish this TPS report for me?"
    "Well, I was doing it tomorrow, but sure, I can do it today instead."

    Was doing has "planning on" implied.

    I don’t recall hearing (or reading) anyone imply “going to” to “planning to” in that manner.

    Okay. It's a thing that happens, though.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited August 2020
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Drez wrote: »
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Drez wrote: »
    “He was doing it tomorrow” actually doesn’t make sense to me, though. What is that intended to mean? I don’t think that statement is grammatically correct in any context?

    Do you mean “he was going to do it tomorrow”? I could see a phrase like “I’m doing it tomorrow” working, but only because the “going to” is an implied (and necessary) part of that phrase.

    "Hey, Bob, can you finish this TPS report for me?"
    "Well, I was doing it tomorrow, but sure, I can do it today instead."

    Was doing has "planning on" implied.

    I don’t recall hearing (or reading) anyone imply “going to” to “planning to” in that manner.

    Okay. It's a thing that happens, though.

    Yeah I had a crazy day and forgot to respond till now but I googled the exact phrase and it appears consensus agrees with you! I guess that is that. :)

    Drez on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Actually damn now I’m thinking of this exchange:

    Person 1: “Was he doing it tomorrow or today?”
    Person 2: “He was doing it tomorrow.”

    100% makes sense to me now that I see it.

    English is funny.

    Sorry I doubted you all.

    @Elvenshae @Eat it You Nasty Pig.

    I shall now diminish and continue overusing this phrase.

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    ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    English is funny.

    English is a damnable bastard mutt, and I love it. :D

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