In the song Honey You by The Dead South there is a line that goes like this:

"Then I looked into your eyes never understanding why
You would never run with me"

Is that a correct way to say? If so, can anyone explain it to me?

  • 2
    Song lyrics sometimes use non-standard grammar. But I don't see anything odd about this quote. Please explain what you think might be wrong about it.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 29 '18 at 10:16

I see nothing wrong about your sentence. The tense of the first part of your sentence:

Then I looked into your eyes...

is "simple past" and the tense of the second part is "future in the past":

why you would never run with me...

which is used to express the way you thought something would happen in the future.

So the tense of your whole sentence is past. (simple past + future in the past)

  • I meant "never understanding why" part. Is it a continuous or a gerund? I didn't quite get it.
    – Alex Exlot
    Aug 29 '18 at 10:27
  • @AlexExlot No, I think it is not gerund. It's present participle. (Participles have no tense, we understand the time referred to from the context)
    – helen
    Aug 29 '18 at 10:36

Then I looked into your eyes never understanding why you would never run with me.

The structure: Past Indefinite (looked) + adverbial participle with negation (never understanding) + Subjunctive Mood (would never run).

Probably, 'never understanding' is the unclear part for you here. In other words, it's 'without any understanding' or 'while absolutely not understanding'.


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