Beijing is/was an ancient city.

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westwind

Senior Member
Chinese
Beijing is/was an ancient city.(self-made)

The city of Beijing has a long history and once was the capital of China's dynasties including the Ming and Qing. Therefore, it is t home of nuerious historical buildings and other cultural heritage, and called "ancient city" by the Chinese people. So, is it ok to call Beingjing "ancient city?" If it is an ancient city, where's the modern Beijing? For this, I'd rather say Beijing was an ancient city. Is this resonable? Thank you?
 
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  • Greyfriar

    Senior Member
    No, I'm afraid not. It would be better to say, 'Beijing is a modern city steeped in history.'

    Of course, 'modernity' is an on-going process since the word means 'of the present time, recently' so that even when it was ancient its inhabitants would have thought they were modern.

    In other words we can't put the word 'modern' into the past tense.

    I hope you understand.
     

    westwind

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    No, I'm afraid not. It would be better to say, 'Beijing is a modern city steeped in history.'

    Of course, 'modernity' is an on-going process since the word means 'of the present time, recently' so that even when it was ancient its inhabitants would have thought they were modern.

    In other words we can't put the word 'modern' into the past tense.

    I hope you understand.
    Sorry, I made a big mistake and I have corrected it.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    To say Beijing was an ancient city would imply that the city no longer exists. So that would be wrong.
    It is OK to say Beijing is an ancient city. This emphasizes its ancient history without contradicting that it is also modern.

    But if you want to make explicit that you are not contradicting its modernity, you can say that it is a modern city with ancient roots, or something similar to what GF suggested above.
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    It would be perfectly correct to say 'Beijing is an ancient city...' because ancient can mean 'of early origin, going far back' (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary). However, you may want to supplement this by saying that little of the historical city remains and that much of the city has been built in recent decades etc. (if this is the case).
     
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