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-   -   Using present tense to narrate past events (http://forums.tomisimo.org/showthread.php?t=22979)

dupond December 30, 2017 04:56 AM

Using present tense to narrate past events
 
Hi everyone

Is it possible in Spanish to use present tense to narrate past events as is sometimes done in English?

I wanted to translate the following sentence:

About six months after John and Mary move in together, John quits his job to become an actor.

My attempt was: Unos seis meses después de que John y Mary se mudan juntos, John deja su trabajo para convertirse en actor.

However, Google translates it as: Aproximadamente seis meses después de que D y J se mudaron juntos, D renuncia a su trabajo para convertirse en actor.

I'm not sure whether the Google translation is correct, but it got me wondering whether I should have used the preterite instead of the present tense. If this is the case, is "renuncia" in the wrong tense in the above sentence?

Thanks

AngelicaDeAlquezar December 30, 2017 07:51 AM

Yes, it is possible. It's called "presente histórico" and it's commonly used in biographies and narrations of historic events.
Be careful with Google. Although it has improved a lot in recent times, it is still not completely accurate. If you are going to tell about past events in the present, all your conjugations must agree; although your writing will be understood in context, the mixture of verbal tenses will make it look sloppy. :)

dupond December 30, 2017 05:14 PM

Cheers. Thanks


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