She hadn’t seen / didn't see / hasn't seen

bluelights

Senior Member
"Castellano, Argentina"
Hello everyone,
Writing fiction for hours on end seems to raise rather 'elemental' questions for me so I'd very much appreciate your help with this following paragraph. It's a matter of switching tenses, I think, I try so hard to stay consistent!

--> Joan has something to discuss over with Mike, not a problem, really, but a special something that makes her feel out of sorts- has been, for a while now. She leans closer to the skittish man, runs cold fingers through his hair and scowls. She hadn’t seen it from afar but now, upon closer inspection, the teary eyes are evident, as well as the thin line his mouth is turning into and the disheveled state of his hair which isn't so much a coincidence as self-inflicted with manic pulling and curling of otherwise straight black tresses, she knows.

So...you see I'm telling the story in present simple, with the occasional switch to a past tense when required. I'm not so sure if that's the case for the bit underlined above, however.

Didn't see could work too, I think, but I like the emphasizing quality of the hadn't, if that makes any sense? Or should I stick then to 'hasn't seen' since then it's followed by an 'are'? I just feel I want to separate the actions past / present and the present perfect would kind of thwart it.

Maybe it's just my brain needing a break, though.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • bluelights

    Senior Member
    "Castellano, Argentina"
    Oh, okay! I was afraid had would push it too farther back but it sounds better to the ear so I'm glad it's a valid option. Thank you!
     

    bluelights

    Senior Member
    "Castellano, Argentina"
    No, it's an AE/BE difference. We would not use the past simple here.;)
    Well, that's convenient then since I supposedly learnt Bre english at school! Even though the -ize endings still come more natural to me, I don't know why. I'll try my best to stay consistent, though.
     
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