Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Mercury is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default "won't" in Present/Past Tenses

    Greetings to everyone.

    I'm new to this site, and this is my first question asked here. I'm an English-learner from Russia.

    I've tried searching for an answer over the Internet, but didn't succeed in getting an answer.

    My question is about "won't" used in Present and Past tenses.

    I'll give you two exapmles:

    1) "I tried talking to him but he won't listen." The meaning is - I tried talking to him but he didn't want to listen / didn't listen / was not listening. So if I understand correctly, here "won't" used as the Past Tense.

    2) - Where is Mr. A?
    - He is stuck in his room and won't come out. The meaning is - he's stuck in his room and he doesn't want to come out /is not coming out. Here is the Present Tense.

    I'd like to know the rules when "won't" is generally used as Present and Past tenses in order to make correct sentences myself, as for now I only understand the meaning in context but don't know how to use it.

    Thank you all in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "won't" in Present/Past Tenses

    1) "I tried talking to him but he won't listen." The meaning is - I tried talking to him but he didn't want to listen / didn't listen / was not listening. So if I understand correctly, here "won't" used as the Past Tense.

    No. The meaning is: I tried talking to him but he does not want to listen/ refuses to listen. This general characteristic of his caused my attempt to fail in the past (and may cause any future attempts to fail).

    We could also say: I tried talking to him but he wouldn't listen.

    We are now restricting his refusal to listen to one past occasion.


    A similar example is:

    I wanted him to retire, but he is stubborn, and he refused.
    General characteristic
    I wanted him to retire, but he was stubborn, and he refused.
    Single past occasion

Similar Threads

  1. present / past tenses
    By Ju in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Jun-2011, 16:09
  2. present and past tenses???
    By thomas615 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 31-Jan-2011, 00:05
  3. [Grammar] Difference between "ing"&"simple present" after "to"
    By Gavin1705 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 21-Jul-2010, 23:51
  4. past and present tenses - which one is this?
    By linjie in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2009, 16:18
  5. "could" in the present and past tenses
    By Mazen in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Apr-2004, 06:48

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •