Re: Verb Tense Usage Statistics

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Mar 04 1998 - 09:49:00 EST

Robert H. Matlack, Jr. said:

>Figures don't lie, but... ???

Black and white, objective figures are an exception in life, not the rule,
but I don't want to get sidetracked with this kind of philosophical question.

>I was doing some comparisons of verb tense usage in the NT and ran
>across a troubling situation. A grammar that I was using gave some
>statistics that were from determined using acCordance. They did not match
>BibleWorks and even in Bible Works the statistics did not always match
>depending on whether the codes were entered directly to the command
>line or if the Morphology Assistant was used. Some of the differences
>are quite significant as you can see.

"A man with two watches knows not the time."

Programs DO give different answers on morphological searches, and their
databases differ in morphological tagging, too. This makes it hard to be
sure whether you are getting the right answer, or when you are doing
something wrong!

In general, really big differences should mean one of the following:

1. you are doing something wrong
2. there is a difference in the way these forms are classified in the two
3. a bug in one or more of the programs

So what do you do if you have two watches and they differ? In exploratory
data analysis, a common technique is to find a third watch and see if two
of the watches basically agree.

I just tried these using the Gramcord search engine in Bible Companion,
which uses the same database as Accordance, though the release dates on the
database I used may be different from yours, so a few things may have been
changed here and there. Also, the search engines are different on the two
platforms. Do you happen to know whether Bible Works uses the Gramcord

Here are the results I got:

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, pluperfect tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 86
>Command line -- *@v?l?--?? gave 86
>From acCordance statistics -- Pluperfect, 86

I got 86.

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, perfect tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 857
>Command line -- *@v?r?--?? gave 857
>From acCordance statistics -- Perfect, 1,571

I got 1573.

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, present tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 7,031
>Command line -- .*@v?p?--? gave 6,932
>From acCordance statistics -- Present, 11,583

I got 11552.

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, aorist tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 8,451
>Command line -- .*@v?a?--? gave 8,451
>From acCordance statistics -- Aorist, 11,606

I got 11611.

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, imperfect tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 1,683
>Command line -- .*@v?i?--? gave 1,522
>From acCordance statistics -- Imperfect, 1,682

I also got 1682.

>Morphology Asst. -- Verb, future tense, any mood, any voice, any
>person, any number = 1,684
>Command line -- .*@v?f?--? gave 1,655
>From acCordance statistics -- Future, 1,623

I got 1625.

So my results basically agree with the Accordance results, but not exactly.
Texcel Research

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