In referencing an inaccurate 1934 recollection of a 1903 event, should I say "Joe's recollection is incorrect" or "Joe's recollection was incorrect?"  The recollection was incorrect in 1934 and continues to be incorrect in 2019.


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Hello, Grammarsgrammar, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

In Merriam-Webster's dictionary, the term "recollection" is defined as:

2athe action or power of recalling to mind
bsomething recalled to the mind

We can say that the action of recalling the facts was inaccurate in 1934, and that the result (his memory, or the story he narrated based on that childhood experience) was and continues to be inaccurate.

"was" would be fine to refer to the action of recollecting, and both "was" and "is" could be used to refer to the facts being recalled (the story was inaccurate back then, and continues to be inaccurate).

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