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Thread: Verb tense

  1. #1
    MissyK8 is offline Newbie
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    Question Verb tense

    Had two questions on a quiz recently and wasn't sure of the answers. Here goes:

    1) My legs are sore because I _________ tile in the kitchen all day. (lay)

    Is it: was laying
    have laid or
    laid?
    AND whichever one is IS, why ISN'T it the other ones?

    2) The level of the river _____ because of the heavy spring rains. (rise)

    Is it: rises
    rose or
    has risen?

    Could there be more than one answer for this one?
    Again, if not, can you tell me why?

    Appreciate any help! thanks!

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Re: Verb tense

    In 1, the answer is lay. It is spelt the same in the present and past. Laid is transitive, not for when you lay down yourself, but when you lay something on something else, like "I laid my cat on the floor."

    For the second, it could be any tense, but is likely "has risen".
    Last edited by konungursvia; 20-Apr-2009 at 14:13. Reason: Wrote intransitive when I meant transitive.

  3. #3
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    Re: Verb tense

    The speaker's perspective will determine the tense used:

    1. 'was laying' is the best choice. The Past Continuous emphasizes that the action took place over a length of time (and so, likely to cause soreness), and that the action is complete and the speaker is left with soreness.

    The Present Perfect, "have laid", sounds odd to me, because the use of ..."all day" calls for the Present Perfect Continuous, "have been laying". This is not a choice, and if it was, it would imply that the action of laying the tiles is not complete.

    Again, the Past tense "laid' is not grammatically incorrect, but with sore legs, I doubt that the speaker would see the tile laying as beng in some remote past, completely unrelated to and separate from the moment of speaking. Hence, 'was laying' as my choice.

    2. Either Past Tense "rose", if this event is done and dusted and the river has returned to normal; if not, and still in flood, then "has risen".
    With the use of "because", then "...river rises because..." is Historical Present , being used for specific effect in recounting some adventure involving 'the rising of the river'. (Compare, "The level of the river rises with the heavy spring rains each year.")
    Last edited by David L.; 20-Apr-2009 at 05:05.

  4. #4
    MissyK8 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Verb tense

    David L.
    You know, "was laying" was my first choice, but then I found another website that said past continuous refers to past actions that are still in progress, and the sentence, to me, sounds like the tile job has been completed.
    So, then I went with "laid" - but got all wigged out about that, because, like you said, the speaker is talking about the sore legs that he/she has now - which is present.
    My only other choice was have laid and you cleared that one up too! So...once again, should of just gone with my gut.

    The second sentence now makes sense...I just needed a second set of eyes. Thank you so much. Have a good week.

  5. #5
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: Verb tense

    Yes, she's right, I missed the word tile for some reason. I thought you were just laying around on the kitchen floor. Not so unusual here in Canada, if you like beer. The answer that fits best, as Missy is suggesting, seems to be "was laying" tile all day. Or you can say "laid tile" all day.

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