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Thread: tense and worth

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default tense and worth

    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    I find the sentence difficult to analyze:
    I did it for all I was worth.
    I know the phrase: for all one's worth, which means with all one's efforts. But this sentence is different. It is 'for all + n. + v.+ worth'. Could you please explain this to me?
    No.2
    I am getting a great idea.
    I am falling in love with her.

    My teacher has told us that words such as 'stand', 'get' , 'join' ,'fall' etc. can't be used in continuous tense. Could you please explain why they are used in continuous tense here?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: tense and worth

    1)1) The idiomatic phrase “for all I was worth” means “with all my effort”


    2)2) The present participle form of English verbs ends in -ing. Its most basic use is to describe an action in progress, whether as part of a compound verb, an adjective, or in a participial phrase.
    • She was humming and smiling at the sun when he walked up to the bench.
    • We saw the running boy trip and fall, mere seconds before the bell rang.
    • The ship sailing past us tooted its horn in welcome.

    I hope this helps

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tense and worth

    Dear Carl,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    No.2
    I was taught words that suggest 'action' that lasts only a second can't be used to describe an action in progree. I guess your examples do not belong to this type of verbs. Could you please kindly give me examples of them?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Hi_there_Carl View Post
    1)1) The idiomatic phrase “for all I was worth” means “with all my effort”


    2)2) The present participle form of English verbs ends in -ing. Its most basic use is to describe an action in progress, whether as part of a compound verb, an adjective, or in a participial phrase.
    • She was humming and smiling at the sun when he walked up to the bench.
    • We saw the running boy trip and fall, mere seconds before the bell rang.
    • The ship sailing past us tooted its horn in welcome.

    I hope this helps

  4. #4
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    Default Re: tense and worth

    [quote=jiang;228374]Dear Carl,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    No.2
    I was taught words that suggest 'action' that lasts only a second can't be used to describe an action in progree. I guess your examples do not belong to this type of verbs. Could you please kindly give me examples of them?

    Jiang,

    I am not sure I understand your question but most actions that I am aware of can last a second or be continuous for example:

    Lasts a second: ........ Continuous:
    I will jump..................I am jumping.
    I had a thought. ........I am thinking.
    I will wink at you. ......I am winking at you.


    So it depends on what you want to say.

    I hope this helps,

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: tense and worth

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    I was taught words that suggest 'action' that lasts only a second can't be used to describe an action in progree. I guess your examples do not belong to this type of verbs. Could you please kindly give me examples of them?
    Often they won't be, but we can use progressive forms for short actions. If, say, you were looking at a photo of someone performing a very short action, what form would you use?

  6. #6
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tense and worth


    Dear Tdol,

    I am afraid I can't express myself clearly.
    The way I was taught was this: stative verbs can't be used in progressive.

    1. join:
    He join the army last year. (correct)
    He has joined the army. (correct)
    He has been joining the army (incorrect) for two years. This has to be expressed the following way:
    He has been in the army for two years.
    2. Do you see anyone over there? (correct)
    Are you seeing anyone over there(incorrect)
    Are you seeing someone off (correct)
    Here the meanings of 'see' are different.
    3. He is looking well today (incorrect).
    What you are looking at ? (correct)
    jump, arrive, die belong to words that can't be used in progressive. But they are exceptions. That means they can be used in progreesive to indicate repetition and near future.

    I don't know if I have explained it clearly.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Often they won't be, but we can use progressive forms for short actions. If, say, you were looking at a photo of someone performing a very short action, what form would you use?
    Last edited by jiang; 18-Nov-2007 at 08:53.

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tense and worth


    Dear Carl,
    I am afraid I can't express myself clearly.
    The way I was taught was this:

    1. join:
    He join the army last year. (correct)
    He has joined the army. (correct)
    He has been joining the army (incorrect) for two years. This has to be expressed the following way:
    He has been in the army for two years.
    2. Do you see anyone over there? (correct)
    Are you seeing anyone over there(incorrect)
    Are you seeing someone off (correct)
    Here the meanings of 'see' are different.
    3. He is looking well today (incorrect).
    What you are looking at ? (correct)
    jump, arrive, die belong to words that can't be used in progressive. But they are exceptions. That means they can be used in progreesive to indicate repetition and near future.

    I don't know if I have explained it clearly.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    [quote=Hi_there_Carl;228453]
    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear Carl,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    No.2
    I was taught words that suggest 'action' that lasts only a second can't be used to describe an action in progree. I guess your examples do not belong to this type of verbs. Could you please kindly give me examples of them?

    Jiang,

    I am not sure I understand your question but most actions that I am aware of can last a second or be continuous for example:

    Lasts a second: ........ Continuous:
    I will jump..................I am jumping.
    I had a thought. ........I am thinking.
    I will wink at you. ......I am winking at you.

    So it depends on what you want to say.

    I hope this helps,

  8. #8
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    Default Re: tense and worth

    Dear Jiang,

    1. He joined the army last year. (correct)

    He has joined the army. (correct)

    He has been joining the army (incorrect) for two years.
    either:
    He has been in the army for two years.
    or
    He has been trying to join the army for two years.
    (do you see how either meaning could be inferred from the first statement?)

    2. Do you see anyone over there? (correct)
    Are you seeing anyone over there? (incorrect) It could be correct if you are using seeing to mean dating.
    Are you seeing someone off? (correct)
    Here the meanings of 'see' are different.

    3. He is looking well today (correct). If you mean that he looks healthy.
    What you are looking at? (correct)

    jump, arrive, die belong to words that can't be used in progressive. But there are exceptions. That means they can be used in progressive to indicate repetition and near future past or continuous.

    I am jumping. They are arriving. He is dying.

    We have all been dying since the day we were born.
    They have been jumping like crazy.
    They will be arriving in forty minutes.

    Does this help?

  9. #9
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tense and worth


    Dear Carl,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. I understand your explanation and examples. Could you please kindly read my examples again?

    I am getting a great idea.
    I am falling in love with her.

    Could you please tell me the meaning of 'get' and 'fall' so that I know when they can be used in progressive.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Hi_there_Carl View Post
    Dear Jiang,

    1. He joined the army last year. (correct)

    He has joined the army. (correct)

    He has been joining the army (incorrect) for two years.
    either:
    He has been in the army for two years.
    or
    He has been trying to join the army for two years.
    (do you see how either meaning could be inferred from the first statement?)

    2. Do you see anyone over there? (correct)
    Are you seeing anyone over there? (incorrect) It could be correct if you are using seeing to mean dating.
    Are you seeing someone off? (correct)
    Here the meanings of 'see' are different.

    3. He is looking well today (correct). If you mean that he looks healthy.
    What you are looking at? (correct)

    jump, arrive, die belong to words that can't be used in progressive. But there are exceptions. That means they can be used in progressive to indicate repetition and near future past or continuous.

    I am jumping. They are arriving. He is dying.

    We have all been dying since the day we were born.
    They have been jumping like crazy.
    They will be arriving in forty minutes.

    Does this help?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: tense and worth

    The sentence "I am getting a good idea." could be restated "I am acquiring a good idea." 'To get' in the case you describe means 'to acquire'

    To fall in love is to begin to experience feelings of love towards; "She fell in love with her teacher"

    The word fall is used to to convey the idea of passing suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind

    Here are some examples of using the word fall in this way:
    "fall into a trap"; "She fell ill"; "They fell out of favor"; "Fall in love"; "fall asleep"; "fall prey to an imposter"; "fall into a strange way of thinking"; "she fell to pieces after she lost her work"

    Does this help?

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