Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • South Africa
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 8
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    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.)

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 44,950
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    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)

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • South Africa
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 8
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    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.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 44,950
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    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.

Similar Threads

  1. [General] Can past tense be used to describe future action?
    By cubezero3 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2010, 13:54
  2. past or present tense verbs
    By kohyoongliat in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 16-Apr-2009, 18:20
  3. [Grammar] present tense, past tense, past participal
    By aisog in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Dec-2008, 00:59
  4. using the present tense to express future action
    By Applejoy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Mar-2006, 05:25
  5. using present prog. tense to express future action
    By Applejoy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-Mar-2006, 05:55

Posting Permissions

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