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    #1

    Coil: Action Or State

    I have a question about the usage of the verb "coil". In this:

    1. "Ivy coils around the column."


    could the present tense of "coil" be potentially ambiguous as to whether it is the activity sense (the one-time act of coiling) or state sense (state of having been coiled) that is intended?

    But, in the following:

    2. "Ivy stretches across the wall."
    3. "The path stretches along the coast."


    it seems the present tense of "stretch" pretty much definitely refers to the state sense (state of being of a certain length), rather than the activity sense (the one-time act of "stretching" across the wall or along the coast).

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    #2

    Re: Coil: Action Or State

    I do not see the ambiguity there. "Coils" and "stretches" are both verbs to describe the actions.
    What do you mean by:
    the one-time act of coiling?
    the one-time act of "stretching" across the wall or along the coast ?

    "Stretch" implies something is pulled taut, so it is not a suitable verb to describe how ivy grows.
    Last edited by tedmc; 07-Jun-2015 at 06:36.
    I am not a teacher.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Coil: Action Or State

    Ted, change "bother" to "both". Put a question mark after "coiling".

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Coil: Action Or State

    Quote Originally Posted by learningspirit View Post
    1. "Ivy coils around the column."
    2. "Ivy stretches across the wall."
    3. "The path stretches along the coast."
    <Not a Botanist>
    The 'normal' state of ivy, if it alive, is that the older woodier parts will be statically coiled, while the growing tips will be actively coiling - in which case, you may take the verb to mean either, or both.
    The sentence could also potentially be using the present tense to express a timeless truth - "Ivy coils around columns". But since we have "the column", it's a specific plant, so that understanding is wrong.

    "Stretch", I think, can also be understood in the same way. But naturally, ivy stretches in a way that paths don't, since ivy is organic.

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