Thursday, September 2, 2010

Present continuous and trending


Joey and Gaynor drive Orchard Road.

Joey: Auction. Saturday.

Gaynor: Bet it’ll go.

Joey: Bet it doesn’t, too.

Gaynor: Mainlanders. Some mainlander will grab it. Just like that bank building in Hong Kong last month.

Joey: Hmm. They aren’t snapping up everything.

Gaynor: They’re everywhere. They’re buying properties in Hong Kong and I hear they’re buying properties here in Singapore.

Joey: You’re using the present continuous again. You’re always doing that. Makes it look like a trend.

Gaynor: What should I say?

Joey: You should say, “Some mainlander bought the bank building last month.” Leave it at that. Simple past. One case doesn’t prove a trend.

Gaynor: But it is a trend.

Joey: Got another example?

Gaynor: Well, there’s… umm.

Joey: No trend? Only one case? Rest is hearsay? Simple past is what you use.

Gaynor: Pedant.



Joey has a point. Unattributed source + Verb-ing = unsubstantiated rumor.

But Gaynor also has a point. The unfelt earthquake far away under the sea can arrive suddenly as a tsunami.



rolenzo said...

Barolo sama!
Orchard Road seems fitting for present continuousing; but I am confused...being from Japan, a former 'is buying' country, should I say Japan is a 'bought' country now? As in sold the farm? Or does that not transl8 into Antipodeanismus?
At any r8 greetings from Lille. Tried to comment from Lyon but the ipod couldn't read the verification graphic.

Barry Natusch said...

Greetings Lorenzo of Lille but latterly of Lyon. Your observation is very apt, those 'mainlanders' who are popping up and buying up large in Honkers and Singers have also been snapping up bargains in a certain J-land (which does not include Jamaica, Jersey or Jordan). Continue your good work in the present! Brgds, Bry