How to literally bend time (with grammar)
The other day, a colleague came and asked me about a sentence I had written.*
“It deploys instantly, scanning all servers, discovering their hardware and showing you what needs fixing.”
His question was why all the verbs didn’t agree. If it was “deploys” shouldn’t it also be “scans”, “discovers”…?
Good question. But I had my reasons.
If I had done it that way it would sound like a list of steps.
But I wanted to convey this idea of instantly. So by choosing “deploys” to be in the present simple, and having the rest of the verbs in the present continuous (i.e. …ing) this communicated that in the instant it deployed, all those things happened at once. Not one after the other.
It’s also the reason why Island‘s tagline “Changing one thing changes everything” works so well.
The first changing implies something instant, but the second change is more concrete. It lasts.
So yeah, that’s how to bend time using grammar.
Pretty cool, huh?*Above sentence was changed to mask what the stealth startup I’m at actually does. Don’t worry, you’ll find that out soon enough.