Finding your comments

July 25, 2013|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

Jan Freeman has taken exception to something I wrote about sequence of tenses:

Your footnote says, "*The exception is to use present tense for statements that remain true over time: 'She said she believed in demonic possession' suggests that she no longer holds the belief. 'She said she believes in demonic possession' suggests that she still does."

I have to disagree with this generalization; "She said she believed" is normal sequence of tenses (except in JournoLand?), with the subodinate verb following the main one into the past. I wrote about this a month ago, noting that the Times is hard-line on following sequence of tenses, while Garner leans far to the opposite side. But the traditional usage is "she said she was," which doesn't imply that she isn't any longer.

It's possible that I didn't pick the best example. In "She said the earth moves around the sun," would you make moves past tense? But that's not why I bring this up.

The post, "Well said," went up on July 11, and Ms Freeman commented nearly a week later. I might have missed it if she hadn't sent me a note.

One of drawbacks of the current software* is that I get no notification when a reader posts a comment, so I have to scroll through to posts to check the numbers. And since the website shows only a limited number of posts, if you comment on something a couple of months or more back, there's no indication at all that I can see. 

I still get notifications of comments on the first iteration of this blog, the December 20, 2005-February 1, 2012 posts,** though they tend to be almost exclusively Asian spam and links to term paper services. I also get notification of comments to the one-year [cough] hiatus [cough] site. I see when you respond to posts through links to Facebook and Twitter, which many of you find more convenient.

But if you comment on one of the older posts here and would like me to know about it, it would be best for you to send me a note.

*Oh, don't get me started.

**Unfortunately, the older videos there no longer seem to work.

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