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  1. #1
    morecoffee is offline Newbie
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    Default Past tense verbs for present action

    Hi

    Some verbs often use the past tense verb for an action which is occurring now, in place of the present continuous verb.

    e.g.

    "I am worried about A." Instead of "I am worrying about A"

    "I am headed to A." instead of "I am heading to A."

    Is there a grammatical/technical term for this usage? (such as "historical present tense" for present used to describe past event.)

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Past tense verbs for present action

    They're present tense not past tense. Headed/worried are past participles functioning as adjectives. The tense is determined by the verb is in both cases:

    I am worried. (present)
    I was worried. (past)

  3. #3
    morecoffee is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Past tense verbs for present action

    Thanks Tdol.

    May I ask why they are particles in your examples and not adjectives? I have always thought of that pattern as being "S V Adj" with the linking be-verb modifying an adjective. I am confused now when they would be considered adjectives.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Past tense verbs for present action

    Please, re-read my answer. If you want to discuss something, at least read what the person has said to you- there's no mention of particles in my answer at all. You will get confused if you don't read things properly.

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