a car crashing as something illuminated the night

Kacy.H

Senior Member
Chinese
In a Youtube video, a news reporter is saying 'a video showing a car crashing as the spaceX falcon heavy rocket launch illuminated the night above.'

When describe something in a video, shouldn't we just use the present simple tense?

I would say: a video shows a car crashes as as the spaceX falcon heavy rocket launch illuminates the night above.

Please help me understand this!
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    You understand it as omission of "that", I think: The video shows that a car crashes...
    That would work, but more generally "shows" needs an object, and "a car crashing" is a perfectly good noun phrase to use.

    The use of simple past "illuminated" indicates that the whole incident took place in the past, and "a car crashing" is flexible in time, and can be used in past and present (and future) contexts.
     

    Kacy.H

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That would work
    Thanks a lot.
    So if I use '..shows that a car crashes', then 'illuminates' should also be in the present simple tense instead of the past tense, right?


    The use of simple past "illuminated" indicates that the whole incident took place in the past
    So if a video shows something that happened in the past, I can always used the past tense?

    In that video, a white man was/is having a street haircut in India. The barber actually did/does a very good job.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I can always used the past tense?
    You know what they say: Never say "never". I would add: Never say "always". :)
    It really depends on what you want to say. You may prefer to explain the contexts of a video using the narrative present.
    Also, if the video is a kind of documentary rather than fiction, it is always about something in the past.
     

    Kacy.H

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You may prefer to explain the contexts of a video using the narrative present.
    In that video, a white man is having a street haircut in India. The barber actually did a very good job.

    I think in the first sentence I am explaining the context. So 'is' is used.
    In the second setence, I am saying the final outcome, so 'did' is used.
    You think I used the tenses correctly?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I think this is a curious mixture, because if the barber did a good job, the haircut must be finished.
    You could say:
    In that video, a white man has had a street haircut in India. The barber actually did a very good job.
    (Note that "has had", being present perfect, also counts as a present tense).
     

    Kacy.H

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think this is a curious mixture, because if the barber did a good job, the haircut must be finished.
    So, the key is to be consistent.
    This is correct, right:
    In that video, a white man is having a street haircut in India. The barber is actually doing a very good job.
     
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