General Writing and Grammar Help/parsing

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QUESTION: Dear Ted,

My question is about the following sentence:

“The woman is standing.”

I am wondering how to parse the word “standing” in this sentence. Can you please explain to me how one is able to know whether  the word “standing” is a present participle being used as an adjective in this sentence,  or if the present participle “standing” is being used as part of the present progressive verb tense as in “is standing”.

Is it possible that this can be parsed either way?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Present Progressive
Present Progressive  
ANSWER: Dear Rich:

My question is about the following sentence:

“The woman is standing.”

I am wondering how to parse the word “standing” in this sentence. Can you please explain to me how one is able to know whether  the word “standing” is a present participle being used as an adjective in this sentence,  or if the present participle “standing” is being used as part of the present progressive verb tense as in “is standing”.

Is it possible that this can be parsed either way?

*** Yes, because some people believe "standing" is a predicate adjective modifying the subject, and other people believe "standing" is part of the progressive verb "is standing."

Rich, you have asked a good question.  However, grammarians have argued over this point for a long time.  I don't think there ever will be agreement.  Whether to call it one way or the other depends on how the writer/speaker views it. In my mind, "is standing" is a verb in the present progressive form.

Let me give you two websites:

http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/present_progressive_tense.htm

The above site clearly states that your example is that of the present progressive tense.  Try taking the short quiz on the right side of the screen.  It is "fun."


http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/tenses/present_progressive.htm

The above site is a little more complicated.  There is a link at the site that takes you to a discussion of "stative" verbs.  Frankly, I think this site adds to the confusion.

As a test of my belief that "is standing" is a present progressive verb, I tried this sentence at the diagramming page.  She is standing over there.  Check out the screen shot I am attaching.

Ted



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Ted,

Thank you, once again, for your help with this question.

Can you please tell me if the same type of reasoning can be applied to the present participle – “sitting”.

For example:  The woman is sitting.

Can the present participle -  “sitting” once again be considered either a predicate adjective or part of the present progressive verb tense “is sitting”  in this sentence?

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
sitting
sitting  
Dear Rich:

Happy Easter!  I trust that you and Mrs. Rich have your eggs dyed and hidden.  Watching my neighbors' four-year old, running around with his little basket, has been joyful and TIRING.  Four-year-olds should NOT have that kind of energy.

*****************

  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Ted,

Thank you, once again, for your help with this question.

Can you please tell me if the same type of reasoning can be applied to the present participle – “sitting”.

For example:  The woman is sitting.

Can the present participle -  “sitting” once again be considered either a predicate adjective or part of the present progressive verb tense “is sitting”  in this sentence?

*** The answer is YES.  My preference is to consider "is sitting" a present progressive verb, but I acknowledge that other people would see "sitting" as a predicate adjective modifying the subject "woman."

I tried the sentence diagramming for "The woman is sitting in a wheelchair."

The image is attached.

Don't eat too much candy!

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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