My house is being pulled down

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hannya78

New Member
Italy
Hi, dear friends!
I am checking my grammar using the Thomson/Martinet grammar exercise book.
I am a bit puzzled by the following sentence reported there:

"My flat was full of dust because the old house just opposite IS BEING PULLED DOWN".

Shouldn't it be " because the old house just opposite had been pulled down/was being pulled down"?

Why do we use that tense if we are talking about a past action??

Thanks for your help!
 
  • Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Yes, Hannya, you are right and the book is wrong, except in those circumstances when it might be right!

    If the speaker is referring to a time in the recent past when the flat was full of dust, then was is correct here. If the old house opposite is still (at the time of speaking) being pilled down, then is is right here. Only in these limited circumstances can the sentence be correct as it is. Otherwise, it should be as you suggest (was being pulled down.)
     

    hannya78

    New Member
    Italy
    Thank you, now it makes sense to me!!

    I guess it means that, while the house is still being pulled down, the speaker has found the way to clean up his apartment? :)
     

    Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Careful Hannya! Even that isn't necessarily true.
    The speaker may, at the time of speaking, be sitting with his girlfriend in a cafe drinking an espresso. They have just come from his flat, which was so dusty that the girlfriend didn't want to stay there. He says "my flat was so full of dust..." because he's referring to the time when they were both in the flat and she threw up her hands in horror. The flat might still be dusty, but no one cares.
     
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