Sunday, January 30, 2011

Explanation of correct verb tense

"The chairman of the building committee reported that bids will be let on the new construction in January."  You tell what happened in the meeting.  The chairman gave his report.  PAST TENSE. What did he report?  He reported that progress is being made.  PRESENT PROGRESSIVE TENSE.  He reported that the building will be completed in 2010.  SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE.

I'd describe the secretary's use of other than past tenses in these three cases as "discretionary."  Would be let; was being made; would be completed, are all fine. 

For practical purposes, the secretary may view his work as a record for posterity, or he may be thinking in terms of how the minutes of the meeting will be used (or will sound) when they are reviewed at the following meeting a month hence.  At that time, the projected events may well be still in the future.

Perhaps you should seek more professional advice.  My "secretary" experience has been somewhat informal.

(I'll try to catch up on your previous post, if no one beats me to it.)   - A.

No comments:

Post a Comment