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    #1

    Come

    According to the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 'come' is a preposition. It means 'at a particular time in the future or when a particular event happens'.

    Come time to board the ship, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.

    Based on the definition of the dictionary, is the above sentence correct since 'come' is used about something that happened in the past?
    (The definition states that 'come' is about the future or when an event happens. It doesn't talk about something that happened in the past.)


    Many thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Come

    Could someone please help?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Come

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    According to the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 'come' is a preposition. It means 'at a particular time in the future or when a particular event happens'.

    Come time to board the ship, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.

    Based on the definition of the dictionary, is the above sentence correct since 'come' is used about something that happened in the past?
    (The definition states that 'come' is about the future or when an event happens. It doesn't talk about something that happened in the past.)


    Many thanks.
    I would say it should be 'came'. Is it from a novel?

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    #4

    Re: Come

    Hi Bhaisahab

    I don't where my friend got the sentence from. He asked why the verb is 'Come' when the sentence relates to the past.

    I referred to my dictionary and it doesn't state that 'come' can be used with a past event. That's why I'm confused.

    Come time to board the ship, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.


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    #5

    Re: Come

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    According to the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 'come' is a preposition. It means 'at a particular time in the future or when a particular event happens'.

    Come time to board the ship, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.

    Based on the definition of the dictionary, is the above sentence correct since 'come' is used about something that happened in the past?
    (The definition states that 'come' is about the future or when an event happens. It doesn't talk about something that happened in the past.)


    Many thanks.
    Elaine,

    The use of this word in this context is difficult to teach. 'Come' is an irregular verb.

    In English, regular verbs consist of three main parts: the root form (present), the (simple) past, and the past participle. Regular verbs have an -ed ending added to the root verb for both the simple past and past participle. Irregular verbs do not follow this pattern, and instead take on an alternative pattern.

    The word 'come' in the sentence you asked about is being used in the 'past participle'. A past participle indicates past or completed action or time. It is often called the 'ed' form as it is formed by adding d or ed, to the base form of regular verbs, however it is also formed in various other ways for irregular verbs.

    The sentence reads very formally, not the way most people speak these days, but no, it's not a mistake!

    Hope this helps!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Come

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    According to the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 'come' is a preposition. It means 'at a particular time in the future or when a particular event happens'.

    Come time to board the ship, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.

    Based on the definition of the dictionary, is the above sentence correct since 'come' is used about something that happened in the past?
    (The definition states that 'come' is about the future or when an event happens. It doesn't talk about something that happened in the past.)


    Many thanks.
    No. Based on the definition in the dictionary, the above sentence is not correct.
    My explanation for this would be that a dictionary cannot give every possible context in which a word or phrase can be used, and therefore the user must use some judgement.
    "Come time to board the ship ..." means (in this case) "When the time to board the ship had come ..."
    This sounds quite natural to me in a colloquial setting in which the narrative no doubt appears.
    I would also say that this is grammatical. 'Come' can be seen to be a participial adjective.

    Compare some of these possible constructions:
    The ice cream set, we scooped it up and ate it. (When the ice cream had set ...; Given that the ice cream was set (adj) ...)
    The soldiers on both sides armed, the battle began. (When the soldiers had armed ...; Given that the soldiers were armed (adj)...)
    Time to board the ship come, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. (When the time had come ...; Given that the time was come (adj) ...)

    The original sentence has the same underlying structure as this last sentence.
    Last edited by Raymott; 03-Jul-2009 at 20:57.


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    #7

    Re: Come

    Haha! I love this!

    We have a question from a Malaysian in Hong Kong and answers from (or representing) France, England, Canada, the US and Australia.

    I do stand my ground however, that this is an irregular verb and is used correctly as a past participle in this context - though no, I am not an English teacher.

    I wonder if the difference of opinion comes from usage in different countries?


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    #8

    Re: Come

    This one's still bothering me! Here's the same sentence at another site with various comments.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Come

    Quote Originally Posted by wmuench View Post
    This one's still bothering me! Here's the same sentence at another site with various comments.
    I agree with Ferero on that site:
    "But in the sample sentence, I see come as the past participle in an absolute construction, like "(once/having) come the time to board"

    That is; "the time to board having come ... " But I've recast it as a participial adjective "the time to board being come ... " in order to make an analogy with the other example sentences.
    I think it's legitimate to do this even though we don't normally use "come" as an adjective. We do use "our newly-come visitors", "our lately-come neighbours", so why not "the come time" as an illustration?
    "Newly come, our visitors did not know the area well".
    "The time come, we boarded the ship".
    "Come the time, we boarded the ship".
    Leap to:
    "Come, the boarding time signalled us to board the ship".
    as in "Green, the sign meant we could walk".


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    #10

    Re: Come

    I need to refrain from trying to use grammatical terms I'm not fully familiar with!

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