Introduction to Tenses: Action vs Inaction

Can inaction take place?

If inaction is no action, there isn’t an existence of such, so it can not take place, go on etc. Well, not quite so….

He never goes to grocery stores.

In the sentence “He never goes to grocery stores,” is there an action? Well, he doesn’t go, so there is no action, you might think. If we look at this sentence grammatically, we can see that the action is there. It is “go.” But it is just in the negative form, “never goes.” So we can invert the concept by saying that by not doing something we still do something. We perform an inaction. So there is still a process. It’s important to understand that there is still a process. It means we can describe this process by the means of negative tense formation. This is the negative form of the verb / action. And this process is when an inaction takes place. This explanation is too long, I would need to shorten it somehow and make it sound simple.

Well, let me try to explain it this way:

Inaction = action in the negative form.

He never goes to grocery stores.

He does not go to grocery stores.

Why do we need this lesson? Because the verb expresses an action, and one might think if there is no action, there is no verb …

Also talking about this example

He never goes to grocery stores.

you might want to study a lesson on double negatives too.

Back to: Introduction to Tenses – a must-learn course

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