[b-greek] Re: Present Tense

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Mar 09 2001 - 06:34:47 EST

At 5:59 PM -0800 3/8/01, GLEN L NAFTANIEL wrote:
>I am not sure that this is the right setting for my font, if it's not then
>I am unclear
>as to how I should set it. Please let me know.

You got your font set correctly (plain-text ASCII), thank you.

>Hi, I have a question regarding present tense. I understand present
>tense as representing a fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual
>time and that action being a continuous action. I am wondering two
>things. 1. Is the action ALWAYS continuous or are there acceptions. and
>2. I am not sure what the implications of the action being continuous
>are. Any assistance that could be offered would be appreciated. Thanks,
>Glen Naftaniel <mailto:glensmail@juno.com>glensmail@juno.com

Actually the usage of the Present tense (and of the Imperfect, which
functions as its "past tense") is not quite so simply described: the action
being described may be continuous, or it may be repetitive, as "On the
Sabbath he worships in the synagogue"--where this worshipping is understood
as a regular Sabbath-day observance--or it may be "conative"--attempted
without success. It's worth noting that the Present can refer also to past
action in the Narrative/Historical Present where the past action can be
envisioned vividly or it may refer to future action, as "I'm going into the
city tomorrow"--a future tense COULD have been used for that but the
Present is quite common. Quite frankly, the Present tense is tricky; often
enough I think it is used simply to state a situation or fact that is true
or obtaining at the speaker's point in time.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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