In the sentence below, in what tense form should this sentence be written in to show past or present tense?I usually order ice cream for dessert, but the cherry pie (appeal) to me today. 1....

In the sentence below, in what tense form should this sentence be written in to show past or present tense?

I usually order ice cream for dessert, but the cherry pie (appeal) to me today. 1. appealed 2. appeals 3. is appealing 4. was appealing

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In English, present tense for third person (talking about someone or something that is not you) is indicated by the morphemes -s or -es. In this sentence, cherry pie indicates third person since cherry pie is not you. The verb appeal, in present tense for third person, requires the -s/-es construction: "... the cherry pie appeals to me today."  

To illustrate this further, we can turn this around with the nonsensical example, "I appeal to the cherry pie." Now we are talking about you in first person, so appeal retains its base form of appeal, the same base form as in the infinitve to appeal. We can also talk about a group of us, you, me, and Tushar and Betty, in second person and say, "We appeal to the cherry pie." In second person, the verb appeal also retains its base form.

These examples are nonsensical because cherry pie has no preferences about people. Yet these examples do illustrate the use of person (first, second, third) in determining verb formation in present tense. 

In English, past tense is ususally indicated by the morphemes -ed or -t, as in American English learned and spilled or learnt and spilt in British English. The verb appeal, in past tense for third person, requires the -ed/-t construction: "... the cherry pie appealed to me today." In first person and third person, the -ed/-t construction is also used; first person, "I appealed ..."; second person,  "We appealed ...."

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