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  1. #11
    Theo Book is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    I would be inclined to agree with orangutan. Thus "X equates to Y", "2 + 2 = 5", and "Ted is Alice" present equations, irrespective of whether those equations are true or false.

    MrP
    ok.
    But the real issue is, suppose there is an hypothetical case where 2+2 was five, but no longer is five. Is the verb (was) "past tense of is" still equative?

    I do not think it is, but I never studied this stuff in 1940's school. It's kinda foreign to my thought processes.

    When something is said to be "was" equal to something else, and one side changes, is that "was" equative, or suggestive of some other quality? Like for example, similarity, or "some quality in common?"

  2. #12
    Theo Book is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    People taking part in this discussion might be interested in:
    [had to snip links in order to post - TB]
    Those threads are about 'linking' rather than 'equative' verbs, but some consider them to be two different names for the same thing.

    For what it's worth, I think that the writers who coined the names for this small group of verbs were not really concerned with 'equativeness' in the way a philosopher would be.
    I think the problem I am having is in trying to establish the difference between "equative" and "equated" by virtue of the tense of the verb "To Be." One "is," and the other "was," but is there a difference between "equative" and "equated" implied in the difference between "is" and "was?"

  3. #13
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo Book View Post
    [...] is there a difference between "equative" and "equated" implied in the difference between "is" and "was?"
    If the question is directed at me, I can't answer.

    My personal opinion is that we can get sidetracked by labelling and definition when considering language at times; that's why I am not joining in this discussion.

    But, as I said, that's only an opinion. It doesn't stop me following the thread.
    Last edited by 5jj; 13-Jan-2011 at 16:33. Reason: typo

  4. #14
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo Book View Post
    ok.
    But the real issue is, suppose there is an hypothetical case where 2+2 was five, but no longer is five. Is the verb (was) "past tense of is" still equative?
    If we consider a typical equative construction, e.g.

    1. Prince Philip is the Duke of Edinburgh.

    we have three elements: the subject (Prince Philip), the copula (is), and the subject complement (the Duke of Edinburgh).

    In this case, then, the equative verb is "is", the copula.

    If someone expresses the same thought in 2099, the sentence may well be:

    2. Prince Philip was the Duke of Edinburgh in 2011.

    Though the tense changes, the three elements are exactly the same: subject, copula, and subject complement. The copula is no less a copula and no less equative because it relates to the past.

    Similarly, if our 2099 correspondent happened to have only limited historical knowledge, and wrote:

    3. Prince Philip was the Duke of York in 2011.

    the three elements would still be defined as subject, copula, and subj. complement. Thus the truth of the statement is no more relevant to its equativeness than its temporality.

    All the best,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  5. #15
    Theo Book is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    If we consider a typical equative construction, e.g.

    1. Prince Philip is the Duke of Edinburgh.

    we have three elements: the subject (Prince Philip), the copula (is), and the subject complement (the Duke of Edinburgh).

    In this case, then, the equative verb is "is", the copula.

    If someone expresses the same thought in 2099, the sentence may well be:

    2. Prince Philip was the Duke of Edinburgh in 2011.

    Though the tense changes, the three elements are exactly the same: subject, copula, and subject complement. The copula is no less a copula and no less equative because it relates to the past.

    Similarly, if our 2099 correspondent happened to have only limited historical knowledge, and wrote:

    3. Prince Philip was the Duke of York in 2011.

    the three elements would still be defined as subject, copula, and subj. complement. Thus the truth of the statement is no more relevant to its equativeness than its temporality.

    All the best,

    MrP
    Is there a difference in resulting application between "equative" and "equated?"

  6. #16
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    I would say that a statement is still equative in form, even if the things equated in that statement no longer equate at the time of speaking (because "equative" refers to the function of the verb, not the truth of the statement).

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  7. #17
    Theo Book is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    I would say that a statement is still equative in form, even if the things equated in that statement no longer equate at the time of speaking (because "equative" refers to the function of the verb, not the truth of the statement).

    MrP
    o.k. If I comprehend what you have stated, I could make an untrue statement using equative verbs, which have nothing to do with the truth or veracity of the statement itself.

    Example: "Ray is a scholar of the first sort" has nothing to do with establishing the truth of the statement "Ray is a scholar?"

  8. #18
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    That's right. Ray could be your pregnant pet iguana, and the statement would still be "equative".

    All the best,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  9. #19
    Theo Book is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    That's right. Ray could be your pregnant pet iguana, and the statement would still be "equative".

    All the best,

    MrP
    Thank you for your patience. May I try one more time? I am almost there.

    In an untrue sentence, "My grandfather was my grandmother" "Was" is an equative verb. True or false?

  10. #20
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: equative verbs effected by tense?

    I would say that "was" is equative irrespective of the truth of the statement: it equates the grandfather and the grandmother.

    (Hence the possibility of saying "it falsely equates".)

    The statement would not necessarily be untrue, of course, in the case of barnacles, certain species of gastropod, etc.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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