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I groped for a handkerchief, and not finding one,pulled off my apron and handed it to him to wipe his face.

Why does this use "not finding" in a past tense sentence?

1 Answer 1

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and not finding one

finding in this case is a present participle, but "present" with a participle is generally understood relatively to the main verb.

Thus a present participle indicates an action occurring (or not occurring in this case) at the same time as the main verb(s) (groped, pulled, handed)

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