Hello, could you please tell me the difference between these following 2 expressions?

The prfterite, as used to express anteriority.(a subtitle, from CGEL)

The prfterite, used to express anteriority.

I feel the meaning is the same with or without "as".

Last edited by Robby zhu
Original Post

Hello, Robby zhu—I assume you intended to type "preterite," not "prfterite," which is not a word in the English Language and is not found in CGEL. The preterite is the past-tense form of a verb, and the past-tense form of a verb is not always used to express anteriority. ("Liked," for example, expresses anteriority in "He liked the song yesterday," but it does not express anteriority in "I wish he liked the song" or in "If he liked the song, I would buy him the CD.") Therefore it is more appropriate to speak of the preterite as it is used to express anteriority than to use a formulation which implies that the preterite always expresses it.

David, Moderator posted:

Hello, Robby zhu—I assume you intended to type "preterite," not "prfterite," which is not a word in the English Language and is not found in CGEL. 

Sorry, my fault.

David, Moderator posted:

Therefore it is more appropriate to speak of the preterite as it is used to express anteriority than to use a formulation which implies that the preterite always expresses it.

Sorry again, because I don't understand.

Are you saying that to use

- The prfterite, used to express anteriority.

as a subtitle is like to use a kind of formulation?

 

 

Last edited by Robby zhu
Robby zhu posted:

Sorry again, because I don't understand.

Are you saying that to use

- The prfterite, used to express anteriority.

as a subtitle is like to use a kind of formulation?

What? I'm saying that "The prfterite, used to express anteriority" is equivalent to "The prfterite, which is used to express anteriority," which implies that the prfterite, whatever it is, is always used to express anteriority, and it is not, since it (or the word you intended to type in both your first post and your second -- namely PRETERITE) has the other uses I described. That is why it is important to speak of the preterite AS it is used in certain ways.

Last edited by David, Moderator

So "as" in that case is similar to "when"? as in:

Preterite, when used to express anteriority.

I think I kind of recognize the difference.

 

Here is another pair, where, similarly,  "as" is used before a past participle:

 The sentence structure of the sentence is as shown above.  

The sentence structure of the sentence is shown above.  

My guess is that, they mean about the same, but there is a subtle difference: the first sentence convey a comparative meaning, while, in the second it doesn't.

 Am I correct?

Last edited by Robby zhu
Robby zhu posted:

So "as" in that case is similar to "when"? as in:

Preterite, when used to express anteriority.

Yes.

Robby zhu posted:
Here is another pair, where, similarly,  "as" is used before a past participle:

That example is different in grammatically important ways: a copula is involved.

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