188.8.131.52. Stative as the past
This expresses stative unlike the acts in the previous subsection. See the following examples.
a. She resembled her sister.
b. Mary looked happy.
The above expresses the past states. Although these does not have the past time adverbials, M as the speaker's point of mind is put at the past and simultaneously s/he has a certain past in mind.
Moreover, this usage can also be represented as follows.
In the above, another time line is put on E, it means the duration which is parallel to the state.
This time representation is similar to that of the progressive form. It is explained in the chapter 6.
Now, M at the past means the speaker's mind separated from the present, because the focus is put at the past. For example, "She resembled her sister. (8a)" means the resemblance is the past event, that is, it also means she does not resembled her sister in the present usually.
"Mary looked happy. (8b)" is the same. Her look is the past and in the present her feeling is unknown.
Moreover, see another example. These use the perception verbs with "could."
a. If you can tell me the initials of my name, you can have what's in this bag. Momentarily staggered, she rose to the challenge, and I could feel her mind racing feverishly.
b. He could hear strange music coming from behind dark trees and could hear people screaming and laughing, and shouting out his name.
In the above, "could" is used to express stative, because the past tense of the perception verbs like "feel" and "hear" expresses active. The past tense has the completive meanings since it treats the events as the past.
The different meanings can be seen as follows.
a. I heard a door slam.
b. I could hear a door slamming.
The two examples use "hear" but only (11b) uses "could." Therefore, (11a) means once as the act of the door, but (11b) means continuous. If (11b) is changed into the next examples, these become unacceptable.
a.*I could hear a door slam.
b.*I was hearing a door slamming.
"Slam" of (12a) is not parallel to "could hear" in view of the state and one time act.
(12b) uses the progressive form to express the duration, but the perception verbs can not usually be used as it. It can be said that "could" is used instead of the progressive form.
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