Present Indicative: The Conative Present

The Conative Present

The Present Indicative is occasionally used of action attempted, but not accomplished. This use is, however, not to be regarded as a distinct function of the tense. The Conative Present is merely a species of the Progressive Present. A verb which of itself suggests effort, when used in a tense which implies action in progress, and hence incomplete, naturally suggests the idea of attempt. All the verb-forms of the Present system are equally, with the Present, capable of expressing attempted action, since they all denote action in progress. John 10:32, λιθάζετε, and Gal. 5:4, δικαιοῦσθε, illustrate this usage in the Present. Similar is the use of the Present in Rom. 2:4, ἄγει, leadeth, i.e. such is its tendency.

For examples of the Imperfect see Conative Imperfect. Respecting the resultative force of such verbs in the Aorist see The Resultative Aorist.

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