General Writing and Grammar Help/In the previous few days

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Question
Dear Ted:

Which tense/tenses should I use with the time expression "in the previous few days"?

Would you please give me some examples?

By the way, is "in the previous few days" a time expression or a prepositional phrase?

Finally, is it correct to say, "WHICH tense/tenses....." or should I have written, "WHAT tense/tenses....."?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which tense/tenses should I use with the time expression "in the previous few days"?

Would you please give me some examples?

By the way, is "in the previous few days" a time expression or a prepositional phrase?

**** The five words are a prepositional phrase that refers to "time."     People have
different opinions about what makes up a "time expression."  I do not believe that the
five words are a "time expression."  They are a prepositional phrase that refers to time.

**** You can use any logical tense.  Some form of the present perfect seems natural.

EXAMPLES:

In the previous few days, I HAVE HAD several prank telephone calls.

In the previous few days, I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON A VERY COMPLICATED PROJECT.

Here are lists of "time expressions" and "time idioms."


http://www.learnamericanenglishonline.com/Red%20Level/R16%20Expressions%20of%20T

http://www.myenglishteacher.eu/blog/english-idioms-for-time-with-examples/

http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/cat/29.html



Finally, is it correct to say, "WHICH tense/tenses....." or should I have written, "WHAT tense/tenses....."?

*** Either one is correct.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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