• A question about tenses

    From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Dallas Hinton on Wed May 20 21:56:02 2020
    Dallas Hinton to Alexander Koryagin:

    BTW, Anton used such a time shift in his question. I was also
    told many times not to do such a thing in one sentence or
    even in one paragraph.

    As usual, "rules are made to be broken". :-) The challenge is in
    making the break work! "Presents" or "presented" becomes a
    matter of how it sounds and feels - neither is exclusively right
    or wrong.

    I disagree. The present simple is *the* tense when writing about
    literature, perhaps because good literature is timeless :-? Examples
    from the wild:

    1. In an entry from April of 1847, 21-year-old Tolstoy writes: [...]
    2. Artistotle saith there is a kind of insect near the river
    Hypanis, which runs from a certain part of Europe into the
    Pontus, whose life consists but of one day; those that die at the
    eighth hour die in full age; those who die when the sun sets are
    very old, especially when the days are at the longest.
    3. Later in the same article, Morris writes: "The art of mosaic
    windows is especially an art of the Middle ages."
    4. Paustovsky writes: "I did not want to shatter this naive belief
    of the village shepherd boy. Maybe because this naivete concealed
    the real truth about the genuine craft of a writer-a truth we do
    not always remember and do not always strive to live by".

    The great old authors have died in time but have reamined in
    enternity.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Dallas Hinton on Wed May 20 22:59:36 2020
    Dallas Hinton to Anton Shepelev:

    The writer is writing about events which have happened (past). We
    have no idea what (if anything) has transpired since. In any
    case, to suddenly shift from past to present would be quite
    jarring to the reader. And also, the ring is (or seems to be from
    this fragment) a very minor part of the story so who really cares
    about it's current location? :-)

    I see. It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror
    story, where a woman excalims "I forgot he was vegeterinan!",
    when she realies she has prepared no vegetaranian meal for her
    new acquaintance, who, by all means, is vegetarian still. I think
    it is from Ramsey Campbell's "The Doll Who Ate his Mother."

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Dallas Hinton@1:153/7715 to Anton Shepelev on Mon May 18 00:11:43 2020
    Hi Anton -- on May 18 2020 at 02:24, you wrote:

    Yes, no factual knowledge, but then do you explain the Past Simple
    tense in: "demon was held captive ,which would answer the
    interrogation of sorcerers." If the writer had still had the ring
    in his posession at the time of writing, whould not he have written "...demon is held captive, which will answer..."?

    The writer is writing about events which have happened (past). We have
    no idea what (if anything) has transpired since. In any case, to
    suddenly shift from past to present would be quite jarring to the
    reader. And also, the ring is (or seems to be from this fragment) a very
    minor part of the story so who really cares about it's current location?
    :-)

    Cheers... Dallas

    --- timEd/NT 1.30+
    * Origin: The BandMaster, Vancouver, CANADA (1:153/7715)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Dallas Hinton on Mon May 18 13:58:14 2020
    Hi, Dallas Hinton! -> Anton Shepelev
    I read your message from 18.05.2020 00:11


    Yes, no factual knowledge, but then do you explain the Past Simple
    tense in: "demon was held captive, which would answer the
    interrogation of sorcerers." If the writer had still had the ring
    in his posession at the time of writing, whould not he have
    written "... demon is held captive, which will answer..."?

    The writer is writing about events which have happened (past). We
    have no idea what (if anything) has transpired since. In any case,
    to suddenly shift from past to present would be quite jarring to
    the reader.

    BTW, Anton used such a time shift in his question. I was also told many
    times not to do such a thing in one sentence or even in one paragraph.

    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    In one of his better tales, of which the original version was rejected
    by the miopical editors, Clark Ashton Smith presents a secred record
    made by a sorcerer, describing the way he banished a devil that had come
    to earth from a comet. The setting -- a fictional province in medieval
    France:
    ----- The end of the citation -----

    In one of his better tales, of which the original version was rejected
    by the mYopic editors, Clark Ashton Smith PRESENTED a sAcred record made
    by a sorcerer, describing the way he banished a DEMON (or THE DEVIL),
    that had come to earth from a comet.


    Bye, Dallas!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Alexander Koryagin on Mon May 18 15:26:56 2020
    Alexander Koryagin - Dallas Hinton:

    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    In one of his better tales, of which the original version was
    rejected by the miopical editors, Clark Ashton Smith presents a
    secred record made by a sorcerer, describing the way he banished
    a devil that had come to earth from a comet. The setting -- a
    fictional province in medieval France:
    ----- The end of the citation -----

    In one of his better tales, of which the original version was
    rejected by the mYopic editors, Clark Ashton Smith PRESENTED a
    sAcred record made by a sorcerer, describing the way he banished
    a DEMON (or THE DEVIL), that had come to earth from a comet.

    `secred' means secret and sacred (joking). As to your amendment of
    `presents' to `presented', I disagree. I also disagree about you:
    proposal to use the definite article with `devil' and to add a
    comma before `that', e.g.:

    When I went out yesterday to dispose of garbage, I encountered a
    cat that had no tail.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Dallas Hinton@1:153/7715 to Alexander Koryagin on Mon May 18 12:32:02 2020
    Hi Alexander -- on May 18 2020 at 13:58, you wrote:


    BTW, Anton used such a time shift in his question. I was also told many times not to do such a thing in one sentence or even in one paragraph.

    As usual, "rules are made to be broken". :-) The challenge is in making
    the break work! "Presents" or "presented" becomes a matter of how it
    sounds and feels - neither is exclusively right or wrong.



    Cheers... Dallas

    --- timEd/NT 1.30+
    * Origin: The BandMaster, Vancouver, CANADA (1:153/7715)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Anton Shepelev on Thu May 21 23:20:16 2020
    Hi, Anton! Recently you wrote in a message to Dallas Hinton:

    "Presents" or "presented" becomes a matter of how
    it sounds and feels - neither is exclusively right
    or wrong.

    I disagree. The present simple is *the* tense when
    writing about literature, perhaps because good
    literature is timeless :-?


    While it may be de rigueur among academicians when one is writing an essay about classic literature, the situation is not so cut & dried when I have a comment to make about a piece of non-fiction which has been revised & updated several times... or about a novel which has already lapsed into obscurity.

    Bottom line is, we have seen & heard both options used.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Alexander Koryagin on Fri May 22 13:31:52 2020
    Alexander Koryagin:

    No limit for informal speech. Let's try to remove the past tense
    at all:

    "I remember a song from the 1950's in which a woman tells her
    children what her mother tells her when she is a little
    girl..." ;-)

    You have gone over board and beyond the limit, Alexader.
    So there *is* a limit.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Alexander Koryagin on Fri May 22 14:20:00 2020
    Alexander Koryagin to Anton Shepelev:

    It is a Grammar violation that have become generally accepted.

    Has become.

    A dead person cannot write -- he wrote.

    That is true, but when we speak about something that he wrote of
    eternal value and that is part our cultural heritage, the Present
    Simple is preferable. This is not a violation of grammar but an
    observance of it. Pay heed to Goold Brown's magnum opus "The
    grammar of English grammars" (which is also the granma of English
    grammars):

    Deceased authors may be spoken of in the present tense, because
    they seem to live in their works; as, "Seneca reasons and
    moralizes well."--Murray. "Women talk better than men, from the
    superior shape of their tongues: an ancient writer speaks of
    their loquacity three thousand years ago."--Gardiner's Music of
    Nature, p. 27.

    Alexander writes (!):

    Another example, "It's me" instead of "It is I".

    It depends and dangles: it is me you are disagreeing with :-)

    AFAIR, you used to be the defender of strict Grammar rule
    observation

    Yes, the defender of strict Grammar observation -- it is I!

    and the sworn enemy of informal speech. ;-)

    Had I been that, I should not have enjoyed the Wordsworth book
    of Irish Ghost Stories as did. I thought I'd bust a gut over the
    informal language in the funniest of them. Highly recommended:

    https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/irish-ghost-stories-wordsworth-special-editions-wordsworth-special-editions_oscar-wilde_bram-stoker/1240277/

    -- more than 1000 pages of fun and thrill. I have never been able
    to locate all the stories online, but some of them are from Thomas
    Crofton Crocker's "Fairy lenegends and traditions from the South of
    Ireland": https://www.fadedpage.com/books/20121038/html.php .

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Alexander Koryagin on Fri May 22 14:23:44 2020
    Alexander Koryagin:

    I see. It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror
    story, where a woman excalims "I forgot he was
    vegeterinan!", when she realies she has prepared no
    vegetaranian meal for her new acquaintance, who, by all
    means, is vegetarian still.

    A story can be told in the present or in the past. But you should
    choose. If you put "It reminds me of..." you imply past events
    and you should continue:

    ...a dialog line from a British horror story, where a woman
    exclaimed, "I forgot he IS a vegeterinan!" when she realised she
    had prepared no vegetaranian meal for her new acquaintance...

    Hey! The phrase "I forgot he was vegetarian!" (with `was' and no
    article before `vegetarian') is a quote from the book! Do insist on
    correcting the language of Ramsey Campbell???

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Fri May 22 22:35:38 2020
    Hi, Anton Shepelev - Alexander Koryagin!
    I read your message from 22.05.2020 14:23

    Hey! The phrase "I forgot he was vegetarian!" (with!?! was' and no
    article before!?! vegetarian') is a quote from the book! Do insist
    on correcting the language of Ramsey Campbell???

    Well, taking in mind that it was a horror story, it could mean:
    1. He stopped be a vegetarian after that meal.
    3. He was a vegetarian and died from that meal.

    As for the absence of "a" before "vegetarian" I don't know. IMHO
    Englishmen can live without articles if they want. We see it when we
    read news titles, for instance. ;)

    Bye, Anton!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Alexander Koryagin on Sat May 23 01:10:12 2020
    Alexander Koryagin to Anton Shepelev:

    Hey! The phrase "I forgot he was vegetarian!" (with 'was'
    and no article before 'vegetarian') is a quote from the
    book! Do [you] insist on correcting the language of Ramsey
    Campbell???

    Well, taking in mind that it was a horror story, it could mean:
    1. He stopped be a vegetarian after that meal.
    3. He was a vegetarian and died from that meal.

    Honestly, neither is true. But where is your point 2. ?

    As for the absence of "a" before "vegetarian" I don't know.

    It is only logical if one reads 'vegetarian' as an adjective, which
    it is in that sentence.

    IMHO Englishmen can live without articles if they want. We see it
    when we read news titles, for instance. ;)

    That is a special distortion of grammatical form that has its own
    telegraphic rules with lots of elision.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Sat May 23 16:02:46 2020
    Hi, Anton Shepelev! ->Alexander Koryagin
    I read your message from 23.05.2020 01:10

    As for the absence of "a" before "vegetarian" I don't know.

    It is only logical if one reads 'vegetarian' as an adjective, which
    it is in that sentence.

    Probably, a bony person for an ogre can be vegetarian. ;-)

    Bye, Anton!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From mark lewis@1:3634/12 to Alexander Koryagin on Sat May 23 09:37:44 2020
    Re: A question about tenses
    By: Alexander Koryagin to Anton Shepelev on Fri May 22 2020 22:35:38


    As for the absence of "a" before "vegetarian" I don't know.

    remember, a vegetarian is vegetarian... it is one of those words that is both a noun and an adjective...


    here's something to think about, too...

    1 wood chopping device - ax or axe
    >1 wood chopping devices - axes

    1 linear rotation line - axis
    >1 linear rotation lines - axes

    sometimes axes != axes ;)


    isn't english fun? -=B-)


    )\/(ark
    --- SBBSecho 3.11-Linux
    * Origin: SouthEast Star Mail HUB - SESTAR (1:3634/12)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to All on Sun May 17 23:58:38 2020
    In one of his better tales, of which the original version was
    rejected by the miopical editors, Clark Ashton Smith presents a
    secred record made by a sorcerer, describing the way he banished a
    devil that had come to earth from a comet. The setting -- a
    fictional province in medieval France:

    Then I bethought me of the ring of Eibon, which I had inherited
    from my fathers, who were also wizards. The ring had come down, it
    was said, from ancient Hyperborea; and it was made of a redder
    gold than any that the earth yields in latter cycles, and was set
    with a great purple gem, somber and smouldering, whose like is no
    longer to be found. And in the gem an antique demon was held
    captive, a spirit from pre-human worlds and ages, which would
    answer the interrogation of sorcerers.

    Shall we conclude that the writer no longer possessed the said the
    ring when he put his tale on paper? Should you want to read the
    paragraph in context, here is the full story:

    http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/11/print

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Dallas Hinton@1:153/7715 to Anton Shepelev on Sun May 17 15:49:27 2020
    Hi Anton -- on May 17 2020 at 23:58, you wrote:

    Shall we conclude that the writer no longer possessed the said the
    ring when he put his tale on paper? Should you want to read the
    paragraph in context, here is the full story:

    No, I don't think so. The next paragraph clearly says he brought it out
    and used it. There's no further reference after he uses it, so we've no knowledge of it being disposed of or kept.

    Cheers... Dallas

    --- timEd/NT 1.30+
    * Origin: The BandMaster, Vancouver, CANADA (1:153/7715)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Mon May 18 02:24:08 2020
    Dallas Hinton to Anton Shepelev:

    Then I bethought me of the ring of Eibon, which I had
    inherited from my fathers, who were also wizards. The ring
    had come down, it was said, from ancient Hyperborea; and it
    was made of a redder gold than any that the earth yields in
    latter cycles, and was set with a great purple gem, somber and smouldering, whose like is no longer to be found. And in the
    gem an antique demon was held captive, a spirit from
    pre-human worlds and ages, which would answer the
    interrogation of sorcerers.

    Shall we conclude that the writer no longer possessed the said
    the ring when he put his tale on paper?

    No, I don't think so. The next paragraph clearly says he brought
    it out and used it.

    Naturally, he did it *before* recording the event, so my question
    holds.

    There's no further reference after he uses it, so we've no
    knowledge of it being disposed of or kept.

    Yes, no factual knowledge, but then do you explain the Past Simple
    tense in: "demon was held captive ,which would answer the
    interrogation of sorcerers." If the writer had still had the ring
    in his posession at the time of writing, whould not he have written
    "...demon is held captive, which will answer..."?

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Alexander Koryagin on Wed May 20 22:14:28 2020
    Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Dallas Hinton:

    The writer is writing about events which have happened
    (past). We have no idea what (if anything) has transpired
    since. In any case, to suddenly shift from past to present
    would be quite jarring to the reader.

    BTW, Anton used such a time shift in his question. I was
    also told many times not to do such a thing in one sentence
    or even in one paragraph.


    Depends on the circumstances. If a joke begins with e.g. "Three guys go into a bar" I expect it to continue in the same vein. OTOH... as I remarked to Anton on April 30th... the preamble doesn't count. The present tense may be used if we're reporting on the words of a particular writer, regardless of when they were written, or if we're adding ideas of our own. Similarly, if there is dialogue "s/he said" is independent of what's in the quoted material.

    I remember a song from the 1950's in which a woman tells her children what her mother told her when she was a little girl... "What will be, will be". Should you want to look up the lyrics, the name of this song is QUE SERA, SERA.

    Anton's question employs the present tense WRT what the author did... an option which helps me as a reader sort it out from what other folks, real or imagined, did. IMHO Anton made the right choice because otherwise I might have had to re-read the sentence to be sure who banished the devil in question. :-)



    In one of his better tales, of which the original version
    was rejected by the mYopic editors,


    I concur that Anton was probably thinking of "myopic" in the sense of lacking imagination or intellect. As a near-sighted person I found it easier & more enjoyable to read books than to endure the groans of my classmates when it seemed I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. I also noticed... even in grade two... that other people estimated my intelligence more favourably when I could see the letters on the chalkboard. History repeated itself when my high school counsellors figured out that I knew words most kids my age didn't know.... :-Q



    he banished a DEMON (or THE DEVIL)


    Careful! I would accept "a demon", or even "a devil", on the grounds that there may be countless numbers of either. But when you say "the devil" my Anglophone brain tends to think you're referring to Lucifer, AKA Satan.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Ardith Hinton on Thu May 21 11:31:30 2020
    Ardith Hinton:

    Depends on the circumstances. If a joke begins with
    e.g. "Three guys go into a bar" I expect it to continue in the
    same vein.

    Do not they "walk" into a bar? I compiled an epic list of
    English-related bar jokes by members of alt.usage.english.usage : https://tinyurl.com/y8o3kgoy (links to the Google Groups). I have
    to put aside my modesty and say that it is really worth reading.

    I remember a song from the 1950's in which a woman
    tells her children what her mother told her when she was a little
    girl... "What will be, will be". Should you want to look up the
    lyrics, the name of this song is QUE SERA, SERA.

    I know and love that song and songstress, it is Doris Day! I am
    the happy ownder of a CD by AML+ with her songs remastered
    straight from vinyl on esoteric vaccume tube equipment. To my
    infinite regreat, AML+ passed away several years ago, and his
    unique heritage is largely lost to the world.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Thu May 21 11:35:24 2020
    I wrote:

    I compiled an epic list of English-related bar jokes by members
    of alt.usage.english.usage : https://tinyurl.com/y8o3kgoy (links
    to the Google Groups).

    That list is obsolete. Here is the new one, with 50 jokes added:

    https://tinyurl.com/y9v3nh49 .

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Thu May 21 22:22:40 2020
    Hi, Anton Shepelev! -> Dallas Hinton
    I read your message from 20.05.2020 21:56

    3. Later in the same article, Morris writes: "The art of mosaic
    windows is especially an art of the Middle ages."

    4. Paustovsky writes: "I did not want to shatter this naive belief
    of the village shepherd boy. Maybe because this naivete concealed
    the real truth about the genuine craft of a writer-a truth we do
    not always remember and do not always strive to live by".

    It is a Grammar violation that have become generally accepted. A dead
    person cannot write -- he wrote.
    Another example, "It's me" instead of "It is I".
    AFAIR, you used to be the defender of strict Grammar rule observation
    and the sworn enemy of informal speech. ;-)

    Bye, Anton!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Anton Shepelev on Thu May 21 22:39:38 2020
    Hi, Anton Shepelev - Dallas Hinton!
    I read your message from 20.05.2020 22:59

    In any case, to suddenly shift from past to present would be quite
    jarring to the reader. And also, the ring is (or seems to be from
    this fragment) a very minor part of the story so who really cares
    about it's current location?

    I see. It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror story,
    where a woman excalims "I forgot he was vegeterinan!", when she
    realies she has prepared no vegetaranian meal for her new
    acquaintance, who, by all means, is vegetarian still.

    A story can be told in the present or in the past. But you should
    choose. If you put "It reminds me of..." you imply past events and you
    should continue:

    ....a dialog line from a British horror story, where a woman exclaimed,
    "I forgot he IS a vegeterinan!" when she realised she had prepared no vegetaranian meal for her new acquaintance...

    (IS because it is the direct speech).

    Bye, Anton!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Ardith Hinton on Thu May 21 22:45:22 2020
    Hi, Ardith Hinton! -> Alexander Koryagin
    I read your message from 20.05.2020 22:14

    I remember a song from the 1950's in which a woman tells her
    children what her mother told her when she was a little
    girl... "What will be, will be". Should you want to look up the
    lyrics, the name of this song is QUE SERA, SERA.

    No limit for informal speech. Let's try to remove the past tense at all:

    "I remember a song from the 1950's in which a woman tells her
    children what her mother tells her when she is a little girl..." ;-)

    Bye, Ardith!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2020

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to mark lewis on Sun May 24 23:50:24 2020
    mark lewis:

    sometimes axes != axes ;)

    Another example, from a short story by Robert Aickman (a talented
    writer): "She was gnomic in both senses" :-)

    I can't help also to share an anecdote that you English speakers may
    be anaware of. A man joins a programming IRC channel and asks: "What
    is != ?" to which a member answers: "It is not equals." He writes
    back: "I know it is not equals, but what *is* it?" and receives
    the same answer again: "Not equals". In a fit of disdain, the
    man leaves the channel without a good-bye, and the logs show utter
    silence for the ensuing five minues or so. Then the hapless neophyte
    comes back and asks, exasperated: "What the funk? -- are you all in
    collusion?"

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Anton Shepelev on Sun May 24 13:46:26 2020
    Hi, Anton! Recently you wrote in a message to Dallas Hinton:

    The writer is writing about events which have happened (past).
    We have no idea what (if anything) has transpired since. In
    any case, to suddenly shift from past to present would be quite
    jarring to the reader. And also, the ring is (or seems to be
    from this fragment) a very minor part of the story so who really
    cares about it's current location? :-)

    I see.


    Okay. I could add a story about some things a friend gave us after his mother's death, but apparently you don't need it.... :-)



    It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror story,


    Note to Alexander: dialog(ue) reflects the way the characters in a story would speak & can't necessarily be taken as a guide to proper usage.



    where a woman excalims "I forgot he was vegeterinan!", when
    she realies she has prepared no vegetaranian meal for her new
    acquaintance, who, by all means, is vegetarian still.


    If this woman thinks it's imperative that "forgot" agree with "was" she may be adhering to a "rule" which native speakers break routinely, because it doesn't make sense when e.g. somebody who claimed to be vegan or vegetarian awhile ago may have changed their mind. Dallas & I often see the latter. :-Q




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Ardith Hinton on Mon May 25 12:33:28 2020
    Ardith Hinton:

    Okay. I could add a story about some things a friend
    gave us after his mother's death, but apparently you don't need
    it.... :-)

    I should fear to hear it -- what if the inheritance turns out to
    have another magickal item?

    It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror story,

    Note to Alexander: dialog(ue) reflects the way the
    characters in a story would speak & can't necessarily be taken as
    a guide to proper usage.

    Yes, and that woman is a British schoolteacher.

    where a woman excalims "I forgot he was vegeterinan!", when
    she realies she has prepared no vegetaranian meal for her new
    acquaintance, who, by all means, is vegetarian still.

    If this woman thinks it's imperative that "forgot"
    agree with "was" she may be adhering to a "rule" which native
    speakers break routinely, because it doesn't make sense when e.g.
    somebody who claimed to be vegan or vegetarian awhile ago may
    have changed their mind. Dallas & I often see the latter. :-Q

    Whithersoever I look, I see adherence, quite sticky adherence, nigh
    sufficient to catch flies:

    1. A man addresses a police consultant in Andrew Ian Dodge's "The
    Gathering Dark and other Tales":

    "No Sir. Please excuse me for doubting you; I forgot you were a
    police consultant." (the other *is* a police consultant)

    2. Michael Sharp's "The True Story of the Sharpest Ever" has this
    line of dialogue "I forgot you were a doorman now."

    3. Dialog from Charis Marsh's Ballet School Confidential:
    "Oh, I found about Isaac."
    "Oh, I forgot you were still reading Theresa's biography. What
    did happen to Isaac?"

    4. From Traci E. Hall's The Queen's Guard:
    Eleanor coughed, and Louis turned to her with a wink: "Mon Cher,
    I forgot you were there." (she is still there).

    5. From Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens:

    `I forgot,' cried the old man, looking at him with a keenness
    which the other seemed to feel, although he did not raise his
    eyes so as to see it. `I ask your pardon. I forgot you were a
    stranger. For the moment you reminded me of one Pecksniff, a
    cousin of mine...'

    and so on. Where do they break the rule?

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Alexander Koryagin on Mon May 25 22:32:13 2020
    Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Anton Shepelev:

    The phrase "I forgot he was vegetarian!" (with!?! was' and
    no article before!?! vegetarian') is a quote from the book!

    Well, taking in mind that it was a horror story, it could
    mean:
    1. He stopped be a vegetarian after that meal.
    3. He was a vegetarian and died from that meal.


    Bearing in mind that he was a new acquaintance, the information he'd given to his hostess probably still applied. If that's the scenario, however, one might well ask why she couldn't have said "... he is (a) vegetarian". :-Q




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to mark lewis on Mon May 25 22:42:08 2020
    Hi, Mark! Recently you wrote in a message to Alexander Koryagin:

    As for the absence of "a" before "vegetarian" I don't know.

    remember, a vegetarian is vegetarian... it is one of those
    words that is both a noun and an adjective...


    Yes, and WRT this word I think popular usage may have changed over the years. When I was a kid one of my older relatives married a vegetarian... or so I was informed at the time. But nowadays such people generally identify themselves as "vegetarian", without the article.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Anton Shepelev on Tue May 26 17:42:47 2020
    Hi, Anton! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

    If a joke begins with e.g. "Three guys go into a bar"
    I expect it to continue in the same vein.

    Do not they "walk" into a bar?


    Usually they do, AFAIK... and I considered saying "walk". But I've also seen variations like the one Denis posted here in which the three guys are replaced by an animal (even a kangaroo?), or by musical instruments & suchlike. While I understand the term "walking bass", I'm not sure I know how to describe accurately what method of locomotion others use. When I asked my friends Barry Sax, Otto Harp, and Penny Whistle for input on the topic they all replied sadly
    ... because of the COVID-19 situation... "Don't get around much any more". :-Q



    I compiled an epic list of English-related bar jokes by
    members of alt.usage.english.usage


    You've obviously done a lot more research on them than I have. But what matters for purposes of this discussion is how we use verb tenses.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Anton Shepelev on Thu May 28 17:02:22 2020
    Hi, Anton! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

    I could add a story about some things a friend gave us
    after his mother's death, but apparently you don't need
    it.... :-)

    I should fear to hear it -- what if the inheritance
    turns out to have another magickal item?


    Nah. Just a few ordinary household items made of xxx, yyy, and zzz ... none with magic(k)al powers, but all of which we are still using. :-)



    It reminds me of a dialog line from a British horror story,

    Note to Alexander: dialog(ue) reflects the way the characters
    in a story would speak & can't necessarily be taken as a guide
    to proper usage.

    Yes, and that woman is a British schoolteacher.


    Okay. I imagine she'd know the rules of formal grammar.... :-))



    If this woman thinks it's imperative that "forgot" agree with
    "was" she may be adhering to a "rule" which native speakers
    break routinely

    Whithersoever I look, I see adherence, quite sticky adherence,
    nigh sufficient to catch flies:

    [...]

    and so on. Where do they break the rule?


    I can't say they do & I see a reasonably broad selection of authors there. I've caught myself speaking the same way over the last few evenings... when Dallas didn't catch me first. In such circumstances we both find it more aesthetically pleasing if the verb tenses agree than if they don't. But a lot of native speakers find it puzzling when one can't be sure e.g. what became of item xxx or who's still vegetarian in the absence of further data, and while I must have been taught that way I'm not sure there's a rule about it.

    We've often had people say to us, in casual conversation, "I didn't know you're a teacher." I doubt they are the only people who do this.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Anton Shepelev@2:221/6 to Ardith Hinton on Sun May 31 02:15:46 2020
    Ardith Hinton to Anton Shepelev:

    I should fear to hear it -- what if the inheritance
    turns out to have another magickal item?

    Nah. Just a few ordinary household items made of xxx,
    yyy, and zzz .. none with magic(k)al powers, but all of which we
    are still using. :-)

    Then I won't pursue this quotidian matter any futher. But may I
    make so bold as to question the grammar in the quoted sentence?
    Feel free to ignore my questions if I may not. They are:

    1. Is it correct to use "but.. which" without a prior occurence of
    "which" in the sentence?

    2. Is it correct to express the continued use of these items in the
    present progressive tense? This distinction causes me serious
    doubts in my own writing, but in your case I should without
    vaccilation say: "and we still use all of them."

    If this woman thinks it's imperative that "forgot" agree with
    "was" she may be adhering to a "rule" which native speakers
    break routinely

    Whithersoever I look, I see adherence, quite sticky
    adherence, nigh sufficient to catch flies:

    [...]

    and so on. Where do they break the rule?

    I can't say they do & I see a reasonably broad
    selection of authors there. I've caught myself speaking the same
    way over the last few evenings... when Dallas didn't catch me
    first. In such circumstances we both find it more aesthetically
    pleasing if the verb tenses agree than if they don't.

    Here is another example, which I encoutered but five minutes ago, in
    an early short story by Peter Taylor, titled "Cookie". Cookie is a
    black cook working for a married couple whom the author never names
    (the text is Taylor's, but the typos mine:)

    Cookie put her hands under her apron, looked at her feet a
    moment, and then looked up at him, her own eyes wet. Her words
    came almost like screams: "Hattie say she seen ya! But she's a
    lier, ain't she, Boos-Man?

    Her mistress sat down, put one elbow on the table, and brought
    her napkin up to cover her face. "I'm disappointed in you,
    Cookie. Go to the kitchen."

    Cookie went through the swinging door without looking at her
    mistress.

    In a moment, his wife looked up at him and said, "I'm sorry. I'd
    not thought she was capable of a thing like that."

    Mark the last sentece, which, again, is uttered by an apparently
    educted person.

    But a lot of native speakers find it puzzling when one can't be
    sure e.g. what became of item xxx or who's still vegetarian in
    the absence of further data,

    How about this:

    a. I forgot he was vegetarian. (he still is)
    b. I forgot he had been vegetarian. (he has reverted)

    Addison in a psalm of his addresses God:

    I knew thou wert not slow to hear,
    Nor impotent to save.

    I don't think that substituting `art' for `wert' would harm the
    sound and rythm so much as to justify `wert', were it
    ungrammatical...

    and while I must have been taught that way I'm not sure there's a
    rule about it.

    There ought to be one, but I am not now in the shape to find it.

    We've often had people say to us, in casual
    conversation, "I didn't know you're a teacher." I doubt they are
    the only people who do this.... :-)

    Hardly so, but such is the nature of causual conversation that one
    has little time, and even less desire, to ensure grammatical
    accuracy.

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://news.fidonet.fi (2:221/6.0)