Re: From whence it IS?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 03 1998 - 06:03:52 EDT

At 10:26 PM -0400 6/02/98, Jim West wrote:
>At 10:11 PM 6/2/98 -0400, you wrote:
>>John 2:9 - KAI OUK HDEI POQEN ESTIN - I am thinking this means, "and not
>>knowing from whence it was," but ESTIN is present tense. Would that be
>>not knowing from whence it is?" That sounds awkward to me. Why present tense
>>instead of past?
>>William Boyd
>I would call this the narrative present. I.e., in order to make a story
>more enthralling, the present tense is used so that "you are there". See?

I would agree that "narrative present" would be a better term, but
traditionally this is called the "historical present" in most grammars.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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