UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO RIO GRANDE DO SUL INSTITUTO DE LETRAS INGLÊS VIStudent: Ilenice Gicélia Trojahn.Group: A.Date: 09-22-08.Analysis of Tense Verbs of sentences of the book Interview with theVampire, by Anne Rice (Ballantine Books, 1997). 1. Now, Im getting into the coffin, he said to me in his most disdainful tone, and you will get in on top of me if you know what is good for you. (page 25) The construction in relief remains an action of the future, but its expressed with present simple continuous. The decision has already been made, Lestat choosed to get into the coffin and hes saying he will do it just before he begins to do it. This usage of the present tense continuous in order to express something about the immediate future happens with the verbs of movement as go, leaves or phrasal verbs as get into. 2. Once he had caught the slave, he gagged him and held him, baring his neck. (page 30) That sentence proves what VINCE (1999) says about the past perfect tense: is used when we need to make clear that one event in the past (in this case, Lestat catches the slave) happened before another event in the past (Lestat bars the slave’s neck). Using this verb tense, the writer is expressing an action that is already complete and that happened before another action that is also complete. 3. That is how I became a vampire. (page 35) In that case, we must use past simple tense because that’s a complete action in the past that can not continue in the present. Louis is now a vampire, since that time it happened, it’s already done and can not be changed. The focus here is on the consequence, on his body and soul transformation. It’s similar when we talk about birth: you born just one time, so you have to say I was born in February, not I have born in February. 4. You’re talking madness. The fact is I want you gone from here. (page 51) Here we can notice the present simple continues. In this moment of the book, Louis is telling the interviewer a discussion he had once had with Lestat, when the second was complaining that Louis could not stop saying non-sense things, that is, he’s talking about a continuous action that is having a frequency in that moment of the present. We can see this present aspect mainly because it’s an arguing, where emotions are being spread, as we can see in the second part of the sentence which shows an impulsive feeling of the personage. 5. But he’ll never let us leave, I whispered. (page 118)
MURPHY (2007) argues that we use will when we decide to do something at the time of speaking and that we do not use will to say what somebody has already arranged or decided to do in the future. It can be explained with this sentence: Louis is assuming he thinks that probably Lestat will arrest him and Claudia, but the can not be sure it will happen, it is just and assumption according to his intuition and knowledge about his friend’s personality.6. And we’ve been his puppets, you and I; you remaining to take care of him, and I your saving companion. (page 118) Here, the exact time where it has happenned does not matter: the focus is on the duration of the fact. This sentence confirms what AZAR (1989) says about the present perfect continuous tense, that it gives the idea that one event is in progress immediately before, up to, until another time or event. Lestat has been playing with Louis and Claudia during a continued time and it will now make a consequence, in the present.7. I’ve never laughed at you, he said. (page 285) This confirms what VINCE (1999) says about using the present perfect tense to express experiences. An exact time is not mentioned and the main thing is the fact that this kind of situation never happened before.8. By thinking of only one thing, the sickness in my stomach and head and the tightening in my throat was I able to return to a state of calm. (page 306) This usage of the –ing clause shows something that happens because of another thing. Because Louis was thinking about certain thing, he could be calm again. MURPHY (2007), about this kind of structure, adds the information that it is more used in written English than in spoken English.
REFERENCES: AZAR, B. S. Understanding and Using English Grammar. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents, 1989. MURPHY, Raymond. English Grammar in Use. Cambridge, 2007. RICE, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. Ballantine Books, 1997. VINCE, Michael. Intermediate Language Practice. Heinemann, 1999.