1

I often see "is gone" used in past and future constructions. Could such usage be considered grammatical?

For example:

  • Bring the money or else the hostage is gone. (the hostage will be killed)

  • I went out and the marker is gone. (the marker disappeared)

Are these sentences correct?

  • Your first example uses a loose metaphor in which is means will be to say the hostage will die/disappear. The second is not grammatical although the second half might be interpreted as the historical present - in which the present tense is used to describe past events.. – Ronald Sole Mar 10 '18 at 23:07
  • Sorry, but what do you mean by "marker"? To me, a marker reminds me of an indelible felt-tip pen, short for "magic marker" but that doesn't make much sense here, or does it? Things often disappear when you leave a room momentarily, the "it was here a minute ago" cry :) – Mari-Lou A Mar 13 '18 at 19:19
2

Bring the money or else the hostage is gone. (the hostage will be killed)

The grammatical sentence would be in the future tense, "the hostage will be killed", which is what you wrote. "is gone" is sort of slang or idiomatic.

I went out and the marker is gone. (the marker disappeared)

If everything were in the past tense, it would be grammatical: "I went out and the marker was gone."
Or, you could pivot into a present tense clause by saying "I went out for a moment, and now the marker is gone."
Or even, shift everything into the historical present: "I go out, and the marker is gone."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.