Verb tenses refer to the time the action is taking place. When someone retells what they saw or what happened, they should be speaking in past tense because it already happened and is coming from memory.
Using the present tense to retell what happened in the past indicates the statement is being made up. “So, we’re walking into the store and this guy approaches.” A more truthful statement would be “As we walked into the store, a guy approached.”
You sometimes hear past tense used when a loved one speaks out about a missing person, “She was a beautiful girl,” but supposedly she’s still alive – unless they know that not to be the case. “She is a beautiful girl” would be a better statement for a missing case.
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As Managing Director of Concealed Statements I work with men and women who want to increase their deception awareness to avoid wasting time or money and avoid making poor decisions based on inaccurate information.