I hate unanswered questions, I really do.

So I was thinking now for (at least) the third time about answering "Why do writers use the tenses that they do?".

But my answer would be pretty much the same like what was answered in "How to write in past tense". No one agreed to my close vote, which is fine (and Neil tried to make it more answerable), but may I ask what makes it different from the other question? Maybe I can provide then an answer which is not repeating what was already written.

1 Answer 1


How much is 4*8?

How much is 64/2?

The fact the answer is the same doesn't make them both the same question, and a person seeking answer to one will not even consider to check the other as it asks about something else!

There are other such situations.

Q: How is a splorch that is squack called?

A: It's a flurple.

Q: What is a flurple?

A: It's a splorch that is squack.

These are not duplicates of each other either. Neither is What constitutes a flurple of excellent quality?, Is the attached splorch a flurple?, How do I tell a splorch is squack? and What's the difference between a flurple and a splorch? - they all are related but none is a duplicate.

  • While I agree with your logic here, if John - who's written a lot of good answers here on Writers - had a hard time thinking of an answer that didn't apply to both, how are these two questions not duplicates? Do you see the difference in focus in the two questions as sufficient? Dec 23, 2013 at 4:30
  • 1
    @Neil: Yes, I do. First, simple title search. In general case the focus of "why" and "how" questions is so different, you can't even expect the asker to look at "how" when they look for "why" or vice versa". If I write a study about writing, I'd look for the "why" question, while as a writer I'd be completely uninterested in it, definitely focusing on the "how". In this specific case, due to specificity of the domain, they are generating the same answer, but the asker can't know that a'priori, or they wouldn't need to ask! That's an entirely unexpectable coincidence!
    – SF.
    Dec 23, 2013 at 22:07

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