When writing a diary, what English grammar tense should we use? Here’s an example.
“… I woke up early this morning though I stayed up till 3am last night. Strange though it may sound, I’m not an early bird … It was now time to be off to Adam’s house … It is always cold on Christmas day …” (quoted from my diary)
1. I wish to say that I am still not an early bird at the time of writing this diary, but that event (me getting up in the morning) actually happened this morning, which is already in the past.
2. Do I write “was now” or “is now”?
3. Is it “It is always cold …” or “It was always cold …”?
I wish to say that at the time of writing this diary (which is the night of Christmas, i.e. Dec 25), it’s still cold. In fact, it’s been cold on Christmas every year. 4. Which sentence is correct?
“We chatted away while we were having dinner” or “We were chatting away while we were having dinner.” I think the first sentence is correct, but the word “while” is used there. And according to the dictionary “while” means at the same time as something else is happening. So, I think the present continuous English grammar tense should be used in both of the clauses.
1. Events that occurred in the past at the time you are writing the diary should be written about in the past English grammar tense. For example, you were right in writing “I woke up early this morning …”
And you were also right in using the simple present English grammar tense in writing about personal habits or conditions that occur regularly, as you did in “I’m not an early bird” and “It is always cold on Christmas day.”
2. You should write “is now” if at the time of writing, you were about to go to Adam’s house. If you wrote about it later, then you should write “was then”.
3. I have answered this question in 1. You should write “It is always cold…”
4. Both actions – “chatting away” and “having dinner” – continued over the same period of time, so they should both be in the past continuous English grammar tense. But the sentence would read better if you don’t repeat “we were”, and write: “We were chatting away while having dinner.”