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    #1

    Question embedded present tense under past tense

    Hi: Could you explain why the present tense ("lives") is used in the embedded that-clause in the following sentence: "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would free any slave that lives in the South. " Thank you.


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    #2

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Hi: Could you explain why the present tense ("lives") is used in the embedded that-clause in the following sentence: "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would free any slave that lives in the South. " Thank you.

    It is a very poorly worded sentence:
    'he would free any slave that lives in the South if they write to their Congressman requesting emancipation, giving date of arrival in the U.S., and enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope for speedy reply.'

    It was not 'any' slave, but all slaves.

    "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would abolish slavery in the southern states."

    "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would free all slaves in the South. "

    And forget the use of tenses in this sentence. I don't think it is an instance of Present Tense 'newspaper-style reporting' but just part and parcel of the poor sentence construction.

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    #3

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Hi: Could you explain why the present tense ("lives") is used in the embedded that-clause in the following sentence: "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would free any slave that lives in the South. " Thank you.

    It is a very poorly worded sentence:
    'he would free any slave that lives in the South if they write to their Congressman requesting emancipation, giving date of arrival in the U.S., and enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope for speedy reply.'

    It was not 'any' slave, but all slaves.

    "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would abolish slavery in the southern states."

    "In 1862, A. Lincoln said that he would free all slaves in the South. "

    And forget the use of tenses in this sentence. I don't think it is an instance of Present Tense 'newspaper-style reporting' but just part and parcel of the poor sentence construction.
    I don't think there is anything grammatically wrong with the sentence. (I claim no historical expertise.)

    1...One can correctly say "any slave". If there were requirements, like David suggested, it is not likely that all slaves would have met them and been freed. (Any slave)(All slaves) that met the requirements would presumably be freed.)
    2...Saying "lives" is not wrong because at the time Lincoln said that, the slaves that Lincoln referred to were still living in the south.
    3...If A. Lincoln said "I would free any slave that lives in the south.", the sentence is reporting what Lincoln said.


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    #4

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    that met the requirements

    Exactly. There were no requirements - hence, my facetious sentence about the absurdity of applying, as if, 'apply if you're interested in gaining your freedom, and full citizenship.'

    To say 'any' implies extending them a choice; and "Those opting not to be set free will still be able to pick cotton on farms set aside for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Slavery."
    Last edited by David L.; 22-Oct-2008 at 05:03.

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    #5

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    that met the requirements

    Exactly. There were no requirements - hence, my facetious sentence about the absurdity of applying, as if, 'apply if you're interested in gaining your freedom, and full citizenship.'

    To say 'any' implies extending them a choice; and "Those opting not to be set free will still be able to pick cotton on farms set aside for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Slavery."
    Well the question is whether we are talking about historical realities or about grammar/sentence structure. Your "poorly worded" comment suggested that you objected to the latter.


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    #6

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Then let me make it quite clear.
    Semantically, and in full cognizance of the historical realities to which the sentence refers, 'any' is not the appropriate word. It should be 'every' or 'all slaves'.

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    #7

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Then let me make it quite clear.
    Semantically, and in full cognizance of the historical realities to which the sentence refers, 'any' is not the appropriate word. It should be 'every' or 'all slaves'.
    Aside from your "facetious" sidetrack, one of the definitions of "any" is 'all, every' and at least in North American English "any" is widely used to mean 'all, every'.

    (Any person)(All persons/people)(Every person) who saw what you saw would have reacted just as you did.


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    #8

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    one of the definitions of "any" is 'all, every' and at least in North American English "any" is widely used to mean 'all, every'.

    For the benefit of all in this forum (as opposed to 'any of us'), would you please cite your dictionary reference for this. (I am less concerned with the fact that 'had went', or that 'all' = 'every' actually occur in speech in America - bad grammar, like weeds, grow in the best of back yards.) But I would be interested in knowing who your authority is.

    mine says:
    used to refer to one or some of a thing or number of things, no matter how much or many

    Let's ask Lincoln himself what he thought was appropriate:

    The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, states:
    That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part of a state, the people whereof thenceforward, and forever free;
    "all persons" versus "any state".
    Perhaps Americans had better grammar in those days.
    Last edited by David L.; 22-Oct-2008 at 07:55.

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    #9

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    one of the definitions of "any" is 'all, every' and at least in North American English "any" is widely used to mean 'all, every'.

    For the benefit of all in this forum (as opposed to 'any of us'), would you please cite your dictionary reference for this. (I am less concerned with the fact that 'had went', or that 'all' = 'every' actually occur in speech in America - bad grammar, like weeds, grow in the best of back yards.) But I would be interested in knowing who your authority is.

    ...
    Oh dear, it must be the rutting season again.
    Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style, Berkley edition (July 2000):
    any
    ...(3) In affirmative sentences, it means "every" or "all"
    b


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    #10

    Re: embedded present tense under past tense

    No rutting going on. I genuinely thought, this cannot be, show me where!

    I give up on American usage. How do they know exactly what anybody is saying when words blend meanings?
    I'm off on a 7 week holiday there in a few weeks. I hadn't envisaged needing the services of an interpreter.

    Can we have separate forums, one for communicating in Amer. Eng and one for Brit. Eng. so this talking at cross-purposes (when a Brit. doesn't know the latest assaults on the English language being perpetrated there: but mainly -(
    Last edited by David L.; 22-Oct-2008 at 16:57.

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