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Hi teachers,

Could you check my use of tenses in the situations below, if they are correct?

Situation A:

If I walk into a gallary now, in there there are (already) paintings on the walls so you could look at them.

- I would say: Paintings are hanging on the walls. (Should I use 'passive'?)

Situation B:

If I walk into a gallary now, I see a few people in there busy hanging (hang ) up the paintings on the walls. And I'm watching them at that moment when they are hanging up the paintings.

- I would say: Paintings are being hung on the walls. (Is this correct?)

Situation C:

If a clerk in the gallary saw some unpacked paintings lying against one of the walls, and he asks his newly come colleague,

- Clerk: Why are those paintings lying there?

Colleague: "I'm sorry I thought those belonged in that section."

Clerk: No, the paintings are always hung on the walls (Is this usage correct?)

Thank you so much for your help.

Tinanam
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First of all, it's gallery. OK? Emotion: smile

Situation A:

If I walk into a gallary now, in there there are (already) paintings on the walls so you could look at them.

- I would say: Paintings are hanging on the walls. (Should I use 'passive'?)
There is no passive. to hang is used intransitively here. The sentence is fine as it is.

Situation B:

If I walk into a gallary now, I see a few people in there busy hanging (hang ) up the paintings on the walls. And I'm watching them at that moment when they are hanging up the paintings.

- I would say: Paintings are being hung on the walls. (Is this correct?) Yes, it's correct.

Situation C:

If a clerk in the gallary saw some unpacked paintings lying against one of the walls, and he asks his newly come colleague,

- Clerk: Why are those paintings lying there?

Colleague: "I'm sorry I thought those belonged in that section."

Clerk: No, the paintings are always hung on the walls (Is this usage correct?) Yes, it's correct.

CJ
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Non-causative: The ball dropped.

I understand "Julia dropped the ball" and "The ball was dropped (by Julia), but the ball "dropped"? This is basically the same as "The ball fell". When a heavy truck passed by, it created a vibration. As a result, the ball that I had placed on the kitchen table dropped off the table. (Or fell off the table.)

On New Year's Eve in Times Square a big ball drops from a tall building to announce the new year. (Actually it is lowered, but people call the event "the ball drop".)

Can I think of it in examples like (please tell me if they are not logical or they are not in the right situation):

- "A vase dropped from the top of a building and hurt a passer-by". This would sound unintentional? Yes. While

- "A vase was dropped from the top of the building and hurt an innocent passer-by", which would make the listener feel it is rather intentional in the act itself. Yes.

- Please don't put the vase on the rooftop, it would drop easily (not sure this usage of "drop" correct?) I'm not so sure either. It could fall easily would be the more likely word choice.

- A ball drops at 9.8 ms-1 Yes. Perfect.

______

Are the following correct?

- "The bell rings" implies the function of a bell, which makes sound.

- "The bell rang" implies its function worked well in the past, but now it is not working, it maybe broken.

- "The bell is ringing" implies the bell is making sound non-stop. (momentarily)

Your question here is less about non-causative usage and more about tense usage.
The bell rings. Used to indicate a habitual occurrence. Examples: The bell rings every day at 6 am. The bell (always) rings when you push this button. The bell rings best if you strike it like this.
The bell rang. There was one occurrence in the past in which the bell was heard making a ringing sound. (It's still working, and it's not broken. The sentence has nothing to say about the present state of the bell.)
The bell is ringing. At the moment of my speaking this sentence the bell is making its sound ('non-stop', as you say, or intermittently).

Non-causative: The cup broke.

1. I can't think of an example for this. Would you tell me an example?

Ellen had just put lotion on her hands, so her hands were slippery. When she picked up the cup, it slipped out of her hand and fell to the floor. The cup broke (into pieces) when it hit the floor. Ellen was angry at herself that she had broken the cup. [The act was clearly unintentional here.]

2. Would you think of "The pictures are hanging on the wall" as in "When I walk into the room, I see a wall of pictures" so you would say: there are / I saw pictures hanging on the wall in the room. Yes. As I write this, in fact, there is a reproduction of a painting by Kandinsky hanging on the wall behind me.

3. Would you, istead say "The pictures are hung on the wall" in the above situation when a wall of pictures are there on the wall when you walk in the room? No. However, I would use a sentence like that in the past tense if I wanted to focus attention on the action of placing those pictures on the wall. Thus, that work by Kandinsky that I told you about was hung on the wall ten years ago -- by me. (I hung it on the wall. I did the work of hanging it on the wall. I caused it to hang on the wall.)

A context in which the present tense might be used is one like this: I ask some workmen to hang several pictures. I check on their progress several times, but each time they tell me that they have not finished. I check on their progress after many hours and see the pictures on the wall. I see that they have finished the job. I might say, "Well, finally the pictures are hung on the wall". That is like saying, "Well, finally the workmen have finished hanging the pictures on the wall". As in the past tense, the focus is on the action of placing the pictures in a certain location.

Thank you so much. You're welcome.

CJ
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Hello CalifJim,

Thanks for correcting them.
CalifJimSituation C:

If a clerk in the gallary saw some unpacked paintings lying against one of the walls, and he asks his newly come colleague,

- Clerk: Why are those paintings lying there?

Colleague: "I'm sorry I thought those belonged in that section."

Clerk: No, the paintings are always hung on the walls (Is this usage correct?) Yes, it's correct.

CJ

In this Situation C, Can I say "No, the paintings hang on the walls"?

Thank you.

Tinanam

AnonymousCan I say "No, the paintings hang on the walls"?
It's grammatically correct, but it doesn't fit the situation as well. I would say it the way you wrote it the first time.

CJ
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Hi CalifJim,

I now see my trouble is with "passive". When I was in high school, our teacher used to tell us to use "passive" with things "that can help themselve", thus an agent should be present. So I might have interpreted it the wrong way.

When I see "Pictures are hanging on the walls" on the other thread, I immediately think of "why active", because the pictures must have been hung up by someone, not by themselves.
CalifJim
AnonymousCan I say "No, the paintings hang on the walls"?
It's grammatically correct, but it doesn't fit the situation as well. I would say it the way you wrote it the first time.

CJ

1. Could I know by "grammatically correct", do you mean I could use in other situations?

2. A man is hanging up some pictures on the window, which block the light coming into the room. His company feels annoyed and says: "Pictures hang on the wall, not on the window." or "Pictures are hung on the wall, not on the window"

Thank you.

Tinanam

AnonymousI now see my trouble is with "passive". When I was in high school, our teacher used to tell us to use "passive" with things "that can help themselve", thus an agent should be present.
Sometimes teachers give simple explanations of complicated things. That's fine for beginners. Eventually, though, you will learn the more complicated aspects of the passive. There are several different kinds of passive voice constructions, and not all of them have explicitly stated agents.
Anonymousby "grammatically correct", do you mean I could use in other situations?
In a way, yes. By itself, "grammatically correct" means there are no mistakes from the point of view of grammar. That is, all the words are correct and they are placed in the right order to make a coherent sentence. If the situation is appropriate for the use of that grammatically correct sentence, then yes, you can use it in that situation.
AnonymousA man is hanging up some pictures on the window, which block the light coming into the room. His company feels annoyed and says: "Pictures hang on the wall, not on the window." or "Pictures are hung on the wall, not on the window"
Both are correct and appropriate in the situation you describe. Only the focus is different.

The first says, It is customary for pictures to hang on the wall, not on the window. (This is the proper place for pictures. -- focus on location)
The second says, It is customary for [us / people] to hang pictures on the wall, not on the window. (This is the proper thing to do. -- focus on behavior)

CJ
AnonymousI now see my trouble is with "passive".
Yes. You seem to be stumbling on verb patterns that participate in so-called "Causative Alternations".

Non-causative: The ball dropped.
Causative: Julia dropped the ball. (Julia caused the ball to drop.)

Both of these are active, and only the causative type can be made passive (with or without an agent). Don't confuse the non-causative form with the passive form. The passive must have a form of the verb to be, for example, was, were, is, are, etc.

Causative passive: The ball was dropped (by Julia).
_____

Others:

Non-causative: The bell rang.
Causative: Fred rang the bell. (Fred caused the bell to ring.)

Causative passive: The bell was rung (by Fred).

Non-causative: The painting hung on the wall.

Causative: David hung the painting on the wall. (David caused the painting to hang on the wall.)

Causative passive: The painting was hung on the wall (by David).

Non-causative: The cup broke.
Causative: Susan broke the cup.* (Susan caused the cup to break.)

Causative passive: The cup was broken (by Susan).

*This may be interpreted as either intentional or unintentional. It is ambiguous. The exact meaning may be determined by context.

CJ
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Hi CalifJim,

First of all, thank you for your time.

I'd like to understand "Non-causative" usage.
CalifJim
Non-causative: The ball dropped.

I understand "Julia dropped the ball" and "The ball was dropped (by Julia), but the ball "dropped"?

Can I think of it in examples like (please tell me if they are not logical or they are not in the right situation):

- "A vase dropped from the top of a building and hurt a passer-by". This would sound unintentional? While

- "A vase was dropped from the top of the building and hurt an innocent passer-by", which would make the listener feel it is rather intentional in the act itself.

- Please don't put the vase on the rooftop, it would drop easily (not sure this usage of "drop" correct?)

- A ball drops at 9.8 ms-1
CalifJim
Non-causative: The bell rang.

Are the following correct?

- "The bell rings" implies the function of a bell, which makes sound.

- "The bell rang" implies its function worked well in the past, but now it is not working, it maybe broken.

- "The bell is ringing" implies the bell is making sound non-stop. (momentarily)
CalifJimNon-causative: The cup broke.

CJ

1. I can't think of an example for this. Would you tell me an example?

2. Would you think of "The pictures are hanging on the wall" as in "When I walk into the room, I see a wall of pictures" so you would say: there are / I saw pictures hanging on the wall in the room.

3. Would you, istead say "The pictures are hung on the wall" in the above situation when a wall of pictures are there on the wall when you walk in the room?

Thank you so much.

Tinanam

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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