Jan. 1, 2019

Sentence 001 Let the cat out of the bag

Leslie: Please look at the sentence and answer my questions. Which option is totally bad, or which is the worst?

Tamara (11): The worst choice is ’boiling’.

L: Why?

T: Because it’s a grammatical nonsense.

 

L: What’s wrong with it? If that is in the ’Sentence’, what is the ’Verb’?

T: Aha! There is no Verb. The word ’boiling’ is not a Verb. That’s why it is the worst.

L: You are right here. Which ones are also bad? 

T: ’Boil’.

L: Why?

T: Because the Subject and Verb are not in tune. They don’t match. Water is 3rd person singular and ’boil’ is not.

L: Right. Anything else?

T: Yes. ’Have boiled’ and ’Has boiled’. Both are bad for the Tense, but ’Have boiled’ is double-bad because the Verb ’Have’ is also a mismatch with the Subject. Same way as ’Boil’.

L: Right. Maybe yet another one?

T: Yes, and it is ’Boiled’, and it is bad because the Time here is not Past.

L: How do you know?

T: There is no Time in the Sentence.

L: There is Time, but there is no Time Marker.

T: Yes, that’s what I wanted to say.

L: Can we say that the last three look like correct?

T: Yes, but I can’t tell you why.

L: I partly agree with you. Three of the Sentences are grammatically correct, but only one of them is correct both grammatically and situationally.

T: Please tell me more.

L: OK. ’Water is boiling at 100 Degrees Centigrade at mean sea-level atmospheric pressure.’ is grammatically correct but it is situationally incorrect because the situation is not ’HERE and NOW’.

In our Pedagogical English Grammar, TIME is not the same TENSE, what is more, TIME makes the TENSE, and it is very often marked by a Time Marker.

Funnily, the Time marker is always there: either in the Sentence or in the Paragraph, or in the Story, or in History, or in our Culture. In this Sentence, the Time Marker is in the Laws of Nature that are part of our Culture.

Also, ’Water is to boil at 100 Degrees Centigrade at mean sea-level atmospheric pressure.’ is grammatically correct but it is situationally incorrect because there is nothing to suggest that the boiling point of water depends on logics.

T: Then, ’Water boils at 100 Degrees Centigrade at mean sea-level atmospheric pressure.’ is correct because it is correct both grammatically and situationally.

L: Sure. There is no grammar mistake in it and it is a Law of Nature. In Nature the boiling point of water doesn’t depend on Time. It was true in any Time in the Past, it is true Here and Now, and it will be true in any Time in the Future. We call it All-Inclusive Time.