Student or Learner
"Some members refused to participate."
Without more context what is the verb tense of this sentence? Though the tense is in the simple past, it is not clear to me. There are lots of examples in the dictionary. There is not enough context, so sometimes I get confused. Because the verb tense can be changed (from place to place) depending on the context.
Hope you understand me.....
I forgot to say something. When we read newspapers, the context might be in past tense or simple past, but it may indicate
the present situation. Doesn't it happen to dictionary examples? Then.........
Last edited by sumon.; 02-Mar-2012 at 09:42.
(1) As you said, a newspaper article describing a present situation may contain the present, past, and
future tenses. (P.S. Some people say there is no future tense, but we ordinary people use that term.)
(2) IF I understand your question, I believe that you are correct: a dictionary entry could be referring to
a present situation, but we will never know because of space and time problems.
(a) Where did the dictionary get the sentence "Some members refused to participate"? Maybe from a
newspaper article describing a current situation. But a dictionary does not have enough space to print the
whole article. Furthermore, by the time a dictionary is printed, the situation would be completely past.
(3) I congratulate you on being such a thoughtful student.
Thank you so much. It is very helpful for me.As you said, the situation would be completely past, nevertheless, may it vary from speaker to speaker(I mean English native speakers)?
(1) I am very sorry, but I do not understand your question. It is true, of course, that native speakers often
have different interpretations (as you know from reading the many posts at this website!).
(2) Here is an example that may interest you.
(a) Let's say that last week, Joe told you that he planned to marry Mona next month.
Now let's say that today you meet Mona at the supermarket. Which sentence would you say to her:
(i) Hi, Mona. Congratulations. I hear that you are going to marry Joe next month.
(ii) Hi, Mona. Congratulations. I heard that you are going to marry Joe next month.
Well, most native speakers would probably say (i) because they feel that the news is still connected to the present.
But some native speakers might say (ii). And they would be right, too.
(3) If you asked most native speakers about "They refused to participate," they would probably tell you that it
describes a past event. But if you asked them whether or not such a sentence could be part of a context related to
a present situation, probably they would answer: Sure! Why not?
(4) Let's pretend that we turn on the TV. We listen to the newsreader say:
An hour ago, the students refused to participate in honoring our great leader of the nation. So the principal called the
police. The police have just arrived. If you look carefully, you can see the police entering the cafeteria where the
students are sitting. Sorry, dear viewers, the government has ordered us to turn off the cameras. We will now show a