Diana Manister wrote:
> Peter I'll allow that I'm confused about simple present tense. In the
> sentence "I am drinking a glass of water right now" is it progressive
> present because of the participle "drinking"? Even though the action
> does not continue?
Yes. To be + present participle = present progressive.
To be (in past tense) + present participle = past progressive (I was
I have been drinking.
I will have been drinking.
I had been drinking.
All prgressive tenses.
And in all languages that I know of the simple present has a bewildering
range of meaning.
> Sent from my iPod
> On Mar 11, 2010, at 7:23 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
> > In a sense the inversion isolates US. He doesn't devour anything
> > else, just
> > US.
> > P.
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:23 AM
> > Subject: "Us he devours" was ....Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical
> > Accuracy
> >> (Ignoring all Diana's comments on this.)
> >> The present tense in English (as in most languages) has a number of
> >> different uses, and identifying the use in a particular case offers
> >> or
> >> can offer interpretive problems, especially when, as here, there is
> >> deliberate departure from normal English word order of
> >> subject-verbv-object. Obmect-subject-verb wold be perfectly normal
> >> and
> >> non-ambiguous in Latin, That English has an objective (accusative)
> >> case
> >> in pronouns (though not in nouns) makes the Latin word order
> >> here, and the use of non-English word order is surely the most
> >> strikig
> >> feature of the phrase. US he devours -- ie., not "them." But since
> >> the
> >> antecedent of "he" is itself an interpretive crux it's hard to know
> >> where to_begin_ om cconstruing the phrase, that is, which is the
> >> dependent, which the independent variable here. Le's leave the
> >> regarding "he" aside for a moment and focus on the word order and
> >> verb. "Devours" here has an iterative feel: He is in the practice
> >> devouring, not just anyoen, but _us_ (emphasized by word order).
> >> iterative feel and the emphasis on us (rather than someone else)
> >> suggests something like an regularly repaeated action, annual in
> >> case.
> >> I don't know where to take it from here, except to note that here
> >> have the kind of ambguity Empson was concerned with -- ambiguities
> >> that
> >> _function_ significanty in the text, not ambiguties 5that are
> >> pulled out
> >> of the air for the fun of it by someone who just thinks ambiguity
> >> regardless of purpose is groovy. Weighing the various alternatives
> >> clearly part of theaction that counts in this poem: not the action
> >> mimed
> >> by the poem (there is none) but the action of reading. Like so many
> >> romantic and modernist poems, the poem is about the act of reading
> >> (we
> >> are back to cunning passages).
> >> *Carrol