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#4091 - 07/18/00 11:11 AM Re: tenses
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Well, Tsuwm--
If the future shall show that I have been proven to be right (ok, y'all pick that one apart if you wish!), I seem to detect an admission that thee might have learned a lesson!

I like your three tenses! Maybe "tension" could be a fourth? Or perhaps that's not worth at-tension.

Now--you said you are >>never one to pass on a challenge...<
I beg to differ, my Dear! Many of your posts have shown that you are EVER one to 'pass on' a challenge, and many of us have responded to them!

Like Anna, I enjoyed humanscape... Thanks!

#4092 - 07/18/00 11:26 AM Re: tenses
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
not this week, dear, I have a headache.
(passing the buck)

#4093 - 07/18/00 12:17 PM Re: tenses
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Didn't get very far Anna - just more of the same. Sorry to disappoint. Hope you are not suffering from Verbal Diorrhoea.


#4094 - 07/18/00 01:44 PM Re: tenses
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
>suffering from Verbal Diorrhoea

there is, of course, an actual word for this: logorrhea

#4095 - 07/18/00 05:01 PM Re: tenses
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Ah but is it verb-al logorrhea??

#4096 - 07/19/00 01:11 AM Re: tenses
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I would say "tense" or "subjunctive" refers to verb forms , each of which may have more than one function. What we call the past form wrote or was/were may or may not have the function of referring to past time. Tense and time are not the same, one is a linguistic category, the other is a fact of the world (possibly, but I'm not going to open that can of worms here).

There are some remnants of a subjunctive in English -- recognisable in the present because there is no s on the third person singular or do with the negative ( I suggest Alex consult a lawyer as soon as possible. The doctor suggested the patient not be disturbed.) and only recognisable in the past tense where it is used for contra-factual conditions with the verb to be ( If I were you ).

William, go with your instincts. It's time I were going sounds wrong because it is wrong. It's wrong because it's not a subjunctive. Maybe in Latin it would have to be a subjunctive (I can't remember) but that's irrelevant.

will is a modal verb like must, may, might, can, could, shall, should . It is usually but not always used to talk about the future, and is not the only way of talking about the future, so why call it a future tense?

Latin is an excellent language, but it is not English, and its linguistic rules and categories do not apply to English. English does not inflect nouns in the same way as Latin does, so it has no dative or ablative. Similarly English verbs work in different ways from Latin ones.


#4097 - 07/19/00 09:13 AM Re: tenses
william Offline

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
that certainly makes sense to me. i guess the rules we use don't always describe things accurately. at least as long as our language can't really account for time.
sorry for posing such a pedantic question everybody!

#4098 - 07/20/00 05:00 AM Re: tenses
Bridget Offline

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
>>Also, most schoolchildren will be familiar with writing lines as punishment. 'I will not talk in class' etc.<<

I'm afraid I went to the kind of school where they made us write 'I shall not talk in class.'

Nor was it 'definitely future' - more of a 'possibly in the future, but more likely in your dreams'!

#4099 - 07/20/00 05:17 AM Re: tenses
Bridget Offline

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
>>Unfortunately they forgot that part of the whole reason to learn Latin was to understand a very ordered grammatical system. They discarded "nominative" and "vocative" (amo, amas, amat .. )<<

I'm with you jmh, I learned most of my grammar from studying foreign languages - and a great help it was to me when I ended up teaching English in Japan, which is I suspect part of the reason William started this thread in the first place!

But 'amo, amas, amat...' is not nominative and vocative. Nominative and vocative are for noun declensions, not conjugating verbs. English nouns (thankfully!) don't decline, but pronouns do. See the old-fashioned pronoun thread if you feel strong enough.

#4100 - 07/20/00 05:39 AM Re: tenses
Bridget Offline

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
>>I would say "tense" or "subjunctive" refers to verb forms <<

Bingley, I wouldn't agree, although I'm open to persuasion!

I'd say a tense refers to a time relative to the here and now (past, present, future) and also to a 'length of time' of action (simple, continuous - this is what you called aspect way back in your first post). Tense is a way of translating time into verbal categories.

The form of a verb is more than its tense - it is a combination of tense, voice, mood and person (at least! There may be more I have forgotten.) 'You go', 'Do you go?' and 'Go!' are all second person present tense, but they are indicative, interrogative and imperative respectively, and they are all different forms.

'Person' of a verb clearly translates the 'doer' or subject into a verbal category.
'Voice' translates whether the subject is acting or being acted upon.

'Mood' I find a bit more complex. No-one so far has mentioned conditional - is this the same as subjunctive in English? I don't think so. Perhaps indicative is 'likely actually to happen', conditional is 'might happen' and subjunctive is 'unlikely to happen'. Maybe mood is degrees of likeliness? (Interrogative would then be 'of unknown likelihood' or 'trying to find out likelihood'. Not sure where this leaves imperatives, though?)

When I start tryng to work out mood, I end up with sentences like those below. I know they are different, I know what they mean / imply in terms of whether something is going to happen, might happen / is totally hypothetical, but I don't know what mood all these verbs are in.

If I don't eat, I am hungry.
If I don't eat, I will be hungry.
If I didn't eat, I would be hungry.
If I were not to eat, I would be hungry.

...I am now way out of my depth!

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