"We have had a very severe dust-storm all across the eastern states a few days ago... ."
It's often said that the present perfect doesn't collocate with past time adverbials. That certainly is generally true, but there are times when that strong prohibition is set aside.
Here is one such example, above. I had another excellent one from Tony Blair but my other computer crashed and I've lost it. Perhaps I can find it ,
[... oops, I've been told that no one is supposed to use a modal/semi-modal to comment on anything tentative. We have to wait until all the facts are in.]
I will look on the internet for it. Michael Swan also discusses this in his Practical English Usage.
Given that such structures are unusual, learners should avoid using them anyway.
As for the "discussion" on this, it's on page 443. I've read it before and have found again, easily enough.
On second thought, I suppose I could modify my statement. I could speak of this sort of thing with the right students at the right time even if it weren't raised as a question in the first place. Each minute is money, however, and they want practical information. I know what you mean, though.
Last edited by PROESL; 28-Sep-2009 at 18:42.
That's one of the important points to remember. Learning a foreign language is a collosal undertaking. In my experience, many students prefer simple do's and don't's in certain situations, rather than having to read 50-odd posts about bent rules, exceptions, less common cases, and the like.
We have to try to judge what the learner is asking for, or needs, at times.
As for posting, I would say that it's inevitable that some student or learner questions will turn into discussions. I think the ones that have not turned into discussions by far outnumber the relatively small number of student or learner questions that have turned into discussions. Also, the idea of a forum is get more than one viewpoint. Wha 'd' y' want for nothin'? Know what I mean? It's a free service. So if we express our opinions or open a student or learner question up for discussion, I don't think there's any harm done.