I get confused about tenses so I'm going to post an example of what I'm working on. My question will follow.

Example text: Surely, I’ve been gone long enough for someone to notice my absence. Perhaps, time has passed more then I suspected and they are searching for me at this very minute. Could that be the reason for his frequent ventures to the outside world? Is he ensuring I am hidden away beyond their detection?

I believe my story is in a present-past tense? Whatever that would be called. But I'm a little strung up on the proper word usage for this tense in the following sentence. I would be grateful for any advise pertaining to the matter.

Question:"I have to wonder if his constant vigilance was the driving force behind the rage he bears towards me."

Is this usage of the word "bears" correct with this tense? Or would it be more appropriate to say 'the rage he bores towards me' or should it be reworded to say 'the rage he has borne towards me'?

I'm told that borne is considered past participle (not to sure on what that is exactly) but if this last option is the current usage then it could possibly change the way I address the remainder of the story and save a lot of time on corrections. I'm only asking about this because online search examples have only taken me out of context and I've already had to correct this story twice due to tense changes midway through, so I'm trying to become more diligent and aware of my structures.

  • Well, “he bores” is definitely wrong; it would be "he bore" (see Past tense of “he bears ...”).  Otherwise, interesting question.  “I have to wonder if his constant vigilance was the driving force behind the rage he bears towards me.” sounds better to my ear than either of the others, but, analytically, it seems to be wrong. Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:29
  • ...Yes; rage still borne still needs a driving force, so either 'is' + 'bears' or 'was' + 'bore'. // As an aside, I can't see how constant vigilance in itself can be a driving force for rage. Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:43
  • @EdwinAshworth it's not the constant vigilance in a vacuum. It's the constant vigilance which compels the guy to venture into the outside world in order to ensure the speaker is hidden. So I think it's the venturing outside that makes the guy rage; and the vigilance compels the venturing.
    – jqning
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 1:13
  • jqning, that's exactly what that line was implying! I'm pleased to hear that people are understanding where I'm going with that. With that in mind, would the use of 'bore' be the appropriate usage since his 'vigilance' is the driving force in the sentence? Or would you suggest I take a different approach to the sentence and just change it completely? Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 3:37
  • @jqning I'd say that's over-stretching a metaphor. And in a passage confusing the verbs 'bore' and 'bear', stretched metaphors are far better avoided. Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


i think u should change "was the driving force" to "is the driving force"

  • 1
    I think you should not give advice on grammar when your orthography needs such serious work. This post is appalling. It doesn't answer the question. The fact that it is the accepted answer is completely nonsensical.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 15:47

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