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  1. #1
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    present tense ??

    I saw this on TV. Benjamin attended the court hearing yesterday. Later, Sharon asked him how the suspect performed during the hearing and she replied:

    "Overall, he presents as a sympathetic figure"

    My question is why did she use "presents" and not "presented"

    thank you

  2. #2
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I saw this on TV. Benjamin attended the court hearing yesterday. Later, Sharon asked him how the suspect performed during the hearing and she replied:

    "Overall, he presents as a sympathetic figure"

    My question is why did she use "presents" and not "presented"

    thank you
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon.

    (1) I think that native speakers often use the present tense when

    they think of a situation as continuing and not finished.

    (2) I assume that the trial is still going on. Therefore, the person

    answered with "presents" because the trial is something that is currently

    happening every day at this period of time. Presumably, the

    suspect is going to have the same conduct every day.

    (3) After the trial, and the jury has made its decision, then it would

    be appropriate to use "presented."

    Have a nice day!

  3. #3
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: present tense ??

    I think Benjamin would have said: 'He presents himself as a sympathetic figure.'

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote Originally Posted by bertietheblue View Post
    I think Benjamin would have said: 'He presents himself as a sympathetic figure.'
    Only if you want to imply that he is doing it deliberately.
    The original sentence means "He appears as a sympathetic figure."

  5. #5
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Only if you want to imply that he is doing it deliberately. True, I take the 'himself' back. Indeed, it might sound like he was putting on a show to arouse sympathy.
    The original sentence means "He appears as a sympathetic figure." I don't think 'he presents as a sympathetic figure' is correct English. Instead I would say 'he seems/appears to be a sympatheitc figure'/'he gives the impression of being a sympathetic figure'.
    Bertie

  6. #6
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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote "I don't think 'he presents as a sympathetic figure' is correct English. Instead I would say 'he seems/appears to be a sympatheitc figure'/'he gives the impression of being a sympathetic figure'."

    I don't entirely agree that it's not correct English. Certainly in official/legal terms (in my old job) I heard phrases such as "He presents as a very sympathetic figure", "She presents as very credible yet her story is full of holes", quite regularly.

  7. #7
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: present tense ??

    Yeah, come to think of it - the 2nd time this morning I'm having to retract and accept I'm wrong. However, I would say this is very formal English - would you at least accept that?

  8. #8
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    Re: present tense ??

    It's also widely used in medicine, psychiatry, etc.
    "He presents as a depressed, unkempt man ...."
    "She presents as a middle-aged woman with an abnormal mass in the right side of the abdomen."

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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote Originally Posted by bertietheblue View Post
    Yeah, come to think of it - the 2nd time this morning I'm having to retract and accept I'm wrong.
    One never stops learning!

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: present tense ??

    Quote Originally Posted by bertietheblue View Post
    Yeah, come to think of it - the 2nd time this morning I'm having to retract and accept I'm wrong. However, I would say this is very formal English - would you at least accept that?
    I would absolutely agree on its formality!

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