choice of tenses

Hela

Senior Member
Tunisia - French
Dear teachers,

Would you please tell me which of my possibilities you would rule out?

When Christopher Columbus set foot on the shores of the new world 2 on 12 October 1492, the Lacandones, descendants of the Mayans, Mexico’s most romanticised Indians, 1 a) were living b) LIVED / c) HAD BEEN LIVING (?) in harmony around the great cities and temples their ancestors had built in south-eastern Mexico. Not long afterwards the forces of colonisation and exploitation forced them to flee into the depths of what is now the largest surviving rain forest in North America.
For centuries, they were secure in their jungle isolation. But today, on the eve of the 500th anniversary of Spain’s arrival in the Americas, the Lacandones are on the verge of cultural extinction. And just as the modern way of life has overwhelmed their age-old civilisation (correct ?), so have the new technologies. (What do you think of this last sentence, is it correct ?)
In the 1970’s, in a burst of generosity, President Luis Echeverria gave them thousands of acres, only to snatch back much of the land after advisors convinced him 2 a) of / b) ABOUT (possible ?) its value. What the government didn’t simply take back, it retrieved by sending agents 3 a) into / b) IN / c) TO the jungle with gifts and ready cash in exchange for thumb prints on land contracts the Lacandones couldn’t understand.

Thanks a million,
Hela
 
  • Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    When Christopher Columbus set foot on the shores of the new world 2 on 12 October 1492, the Lacandones, descendants of the Mayans, Mexico’s most romanticised Indians, 1 a) were living b) LIVED / c) HAD BEEN LIVING (?) in harmony around the great cities and temples their ancestors had built in south-eastern Mexico.
    "were living" is the best. If you use, "lived" or "had been living", it implies that they were no longer living.

    Also, you should not use two appositives in a row. Either say "the Lacandones, descendants of the Mayans, were living" (leave out the part aboud Msyans) or combine the information into a single appositive "the Lacandones, descendants of Mexico's most romanticised Indians, were living".

    Not long afterwards the forces of colonisation and exploitation forced them to flee into the depths of what is now the largest surviving rain forest in North America.

    And just as the modern way of life has overwhelmed their age-old civilisation (correct ?), so have the new technologies. (What do you think of this last sentence, is it correct ?)
    Yes, "age-old civilization" (spelling with an "s" is British) is fine.

    In the 1970’s, in a burst of generosity, President Luis Echeverria gave them thousands of acres, only to snatch back much of the land after advisors convinced him 2 a) of / b) ABOUT (possible ?) its value.
    I prefer "convinced him of its value", but both are possible.

    What the government didn’t simply take back, it retrieved by sending agents 3 a) into / b) IN / c) TO the jungle with gifts and ready cash in exchange for thumb prints on land contracts the Lacandones couldn’t understand.
    Use "into" here. It is also possible to use just "to", but do not use just "in".

    I would take out "simply", as well.
     

    Sharon

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hela,

    I like the way you listed your possibilities in the style of : 1. a, b, c/ 2. a, b, c in the middle of the text. It shows clearly where your question is, and what your ideas are. That is a nice style.:)

    I am confused by the parts you outlined in red. :confused: Are those parts that you also have questions about? The only thing I could find to fix about the red parts is this: if you are writing this for a grade, you do not want to use the contractions “didn’t” and “couldn’t.” Most English teachers will take off points for contractions in a paper.

    I think Nick has answered your questions quite well, I just would like to add one thing.

    And just as the modern way of life has overwhelmed their age-old civilisation
    “As the modern way of life has overwhelmed...” **In any formal context, do not start a sentence with the word “and.”

    Hope that helps!
    Sharon.:)
     
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