Brenda Maddox

What’s Passed is Past

‘’Twas the night before Christmas’. ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ What’s wrong with the simple past tense? While I am tolerant of most of the irritants that drive Radio 4 listeners mad (‘secketary’, ‘the media is’), I explode every time I hear the present tense used for things past. Whenever I catch phrases like ‘Churchill has to decide…’, I scream: ‘He doesn’t have to decide anything! He’s dead!’

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