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 Post subject: TENSE AGREEMENT
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 12:04 pm
Posts: 2578
DS and I had much pleasure to read recently Clockwork by Philip Pullman... What a gripping story! :D
However, there is a grammatical point which retained my attention in two sentences (English is not my mother tongue). :?

Here is the quote (p83):

There in the middle of the room stood Sir Ironsoul, with his helmet shining blankly and his sword slanting down. He was holding it like that because the point was in the throat of Karl the apprentice, who lay stark dead beside him.
Gretl nearly fainted, but she was a brave girl, and she had seen what lay in Karl’s hand.


My problem:
I don’t understand why the author uses a present tense and not a past one in the two relative clauses:
because the point was in the throat of Karl the apprentice, who lay stark dead beside him.
she had seen what lay in Karl’s hand.

Personally, I would have written (may be influenced by my native tongue?)
because the point was in the throat of Karl the apprentice, who laid stark dead beside him.
she had seen what laid in Karl’s hand.

What is your reaction? :oops: Is it possible to have past verbs (as well as a present ones like Pulman) in these two clauses? :oops: :?:


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 Post subject: Re: TENSE AGREEMENT
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:31 am
Posts: 57
'Lay' here is the past tense of 'to lie'. 'Laid' is the past tense of 'to lay'. Quick guide here: http://www.aimpublishing.com/word-usage ... d-lain.php.


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 Post subject: Re: TENSE AGREEMENT
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:15 am 
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A big thank you! It's crystal clear now! :D


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 Post subject: Re: TENSE AGREEMENT
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:31 am
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I doubt many native speakers would be so confident!


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