From: Mary Pendergraft (
Date: Thu May 27 1999 - 12:15:36 EDT

George Goolde wrote:
> At 06:11 AM 5/28/1999 -0700, Ward wrote:

> >Now here is the question: a specific and decisive act is called for in
> >response to the imperative: "flee", "travel"; why then the present tense
> >. So, what is the
> >significance of the Gospel writer's choice of a present imperative in each
> >case?
> >
> >Yes, I replied, I too would have expected an aorist.
> >
> >I think you may be confusing terminology - these are imperatives rathern
> than infinitives. In the case of negative imperatives the tense makes a
> major difference. In the case of positive imperatives the tense is not too
> important, but may reflect the same idea as the tense otherwise would
> about the KIND of action. A present iomperative, I believe, would
> emphasize a durative, ongoing process, while the aorist would emphasize the
> action thought of as a simple event. Burton's Moods and Tenses lays it out
> simply.

When I read this question, I thought of one of the Dr. Seuss books,
_Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?_, and this couplet,
        "Please, Marvin K.,
        Be on your way!"

"Be on your way," I believe, translates the present imptv POREUOU very


Mary Pendergraft
Associate Professor of Classical Languages
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109-7343

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