Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Wed Mar 13 16:47:45 EST 2002

At 4:23 PM -0500 3/13/02, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>I've gotten a few off-list replies, and I appreciate them.  But I can
>see from those replies that the point of my question is somewhat
>missed.  I'm asking a deeper question.
>In English, if I negate a progressive form, especially if the verb is
>already inherently progressive (like `go', `walk', `run'; unlike `die',
>`stop', `slap'), the entire action becomes perfective.  "I'm not
>walking" means I'm in a STATE of "not walking".  It seems to me it
>doesn't quite mean "I'm currently doing the activity of `not walking'."
>In other words, in English, at least with certain verbs, when you negate
>a progressive, you get something that looks kinda perfective.

I, for one, don't understand this formulation any more than I understood it
originally. It sounds to me like it's wholly a matter of some abstract
linguistic theory and doesn't reflect standard usage of these verbs.

"I am not walking" certainly doesn't mean to me, "I'm in a STATE of 'not
walking'", but takes its sense from the context in which it appears; it may
be a response to a question, "How are you goint to get to the concert
tonight?" Or it may be a response to a question, "Are you waiting for a
ride?" ("Yes, if I can get one, I certainly am not walking."

>This issue is made more difficult since in English, when I say, "I'm
>going" or "I'm not going" I also convey intention.  This is unlike when
>I say, "I'm walking" or "I'm not slapping."  So, in English, when I say
>"I'm not going" I'm not only negating the action of going, but I'm also
>negating the intention.  This is problematic when translating this
>sentence.  It may have also been problematic for the Greek since there
>appears to be a textual issue.  For everyone's information some
>manuscripts have OUPW for OUK.

The text you originally cited does in fact have OUPW--or do you mean has
OUPW ANABAINW instead of OUK ANABAINW--yes, I see that there is that
variant in p66; but that still doesn't seem to me to alter the situation:
"I'm not going yet because my time hasn't yet come round."

I'm still, yet, and again having a problem figuring out where you're coming
(walking?) from with this question.

>Also, John 21:17 has a negated perfective ANABAINW and a progressive
>Furthermore, first person aorists appear to be "I went" and I can't
>imagine a way of meaning a punctiliar present `going' in the first
>person.  Though it works in a second person imperative:  "you go".
>So, my question has to do with whether the negation of 1st person
>present ANABAINW reflects the sense of "not presently doing the action
>of going."  Sort of a "I"m currently not going."
>On Wed, 2002-03-13 at 14:24, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>> John 7:8
>> I noticed the second ANABAINW is present tense while the first is
>> aorist.  In English we can't say, "you go up to the feast, I not go up
>> to this feast."  I suspect that one CAN say that in Greek and therefore
>> there is a distinction in tense here.  What I'm wondering is this:  is
>> the sense of this sentence along the lines of:
>>     You go up to the feast; I'm not presently going up to this feast
>>     since I have some things I need to complete.
>> If it's translated as "you go up...I'm not going up..." the sense of the
>> second verb is actually more perfective in English than I think the
>> Greek conveys.  Here, the English means, "I'm not now, nor ever, going
>> up."  But the Greek isn't perfective, it's imperfective, being in the
>> present tense.
>> Does this make sense?  What are your thoughts?
>> Thank you a head of time for your feedback.
>Mike Sangrey
>msangrey at
>Landisburg, Pa.
>                        "The first one last wins."
>            "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."
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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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