The Joys of Grammar
I am spending this weekend studying for finals. It’s a fairly dreary thing to do under these circumstances, isolated in my room away from the world. As such, it’s the little things that cheer me up.
Today, in reading my Sallust, I came across an imperfect that seemed out of place and when I looked it up, the commentary told me it was an “epistolary imperf[ect] standing for present at the time of writing, but the act is described as past relative to the time when the recipient of the letter will read about it ” (Ramsey, 35n5 p.158). I just love that (1) there is a name for this tense and (2) the Latin writer considered the question of the relative relationship with time between the author and reader.
I am sure that English speakers do this without thinking in letters and it’s not as awesome as it appears. However, it amused me for a moment, so I thought I would share it.