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Question on compare/contrast writing assignment and tense


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My son is doing a compare/contrast paper on transportation on the Erie Canal vs. transportation today. I am not sure we are following the correct rules of "tense". Can I get some help?


His first paragraph is about how people traveled over the Erie Canal (past). His second paragraph is about how people travel today (present). His conclusion statement is: "Even though transportation on the Erie Canal and transportation today  got  you where you needed to be, they are very different." 


1. Can he have two paragraphs of different tenses in the same paper, as long as they are consistent within each paragraph?

2. How can he re-word the conclusion so that it is/sounds correct?



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