Dear Contributors! Would you please do me a favour?

1. Covering 75% of the surface of the earth is the vast stretch of water. (✓)

2. The vast stretch of water is covering 75% of the surface of the earth. ( ×)

3. The vast stretch of water covers 75% of the surface of the earth. (✓)

We have known that Sentence 1 and Sentence 3 have the same meaning, and that Sentence 2 is wrong with the present coutinuous tense.

Now, I have a question that is most intriguing:

Is "covering...is" in Sentence 1 is in the simple present tense or the present continuous? 
 
I would appreciate it if you could give me an explanation.
Original Post

Interesting question, Sunshine.

I see "covering" in (1) as adjectival. The verb is "is," and "covering" does not express an action but a property attributable to "the vast stretch of water." The present participle "covering" needs to be placed in front position, causing full inversion for the sentence to work. The style is somewhat literary. The same thing happens with similar sentences:

- Taking up 75% of the property is the large backyard = The large backyard takes up 75% of the property.

Living in the mountains are bears, moose, wolves and even mountain lions. (Source) (= Bears, moose, wolves and even mountain lions live in the mountains.)

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

Interesting question, Sunshine.

I see "covering" in (1) as adjectival. The verb is "is," and "covering" does not express an action but a property attributable to "the vast stretch of water." The present participle "covering" needs to be placed in front position, causing full inversion for the sentence to work. The style is somewhat literary. The same thing happens with similar sentences:

- Taking up 75% of the property is the large backyard = The large backyard takes up 75% of the property.

Living in the mountains are bears, moose, wolves and even mountain lions. (Source) (= Bears, moose, wolves and even mountain lions live in the mountains.)

Thank you a lot, GUSTAVO. Your explanation is extremely convincing.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×