Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Tenses (5).

Tenses (5). Today: Sequence Errors with “seemed” and “appeared.” The infinitive-related problem with sequence of tenses occurs frequently with the verbs “seemed” and “appeared” — e.g.: o “Ripken appeared to have enjoyed [read ‘appeared to enjoy’] passing Kinugasa more than he enjoyed passing Gehrig.” Mark Maske, “Officially, Ripken Is on Top of the World,” Wash. Post, 15 June 1996, at H1. o “Other residents, however, seemed to have enjoyed [read ‘seemed to enjoy’] the storm as they ventured into the hail-covered streets.” Ibon Villelabeitia, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It . . . Er, Hail,” Orange County Register, 16 Jan. 1997, Community §, at 1. Finally, some writers mistakenly ignore the ongoing-truth exception — e.g.: “It hadn’t escaped my notice that many modern texts, like many older ones, were [read ‘are’] self-referential, or concerned with the pleasures of ‘recognition.'” Letter of Claude Rawson, London Rev. of Books, 18 May 1989, at 5. Next: Threatened Obsolescence of Perfect Tenses. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Stilted style, like all fake styles, is a confused acknowledgment of timid admiration.” Sidney Cox, Indirections for Those Who Want to Write 49 (1947).
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