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  1. #1
    Rinoceronte is offline Banned
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    Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    (continued)

    11. “It has been hot for two hours” is Present Perfect tense, and thus, Present Perfect can render the ongoing actions”

    No. This is not Present Perfect, although it looks like one. It’s Present Perfect Continuous, where the gerund of the lexical verb “to be” was omitted for “euphony reasons”. The complete sentence should look: “It has been being hot for two hours”. If you don’t like the combination “been being” (which does not speak well for your grammar knowledge, by the way), omit it, but don’t claim that the tense has changed as well. It hasn’t..

    12. English Tenses Table
    Once again, please, have a look at it:
    tenses_table -
    One of the biggest English verb system problems is in the fewness of those who can surely say, what category is represented by the columns in this Table. If you decide to present some data in form of a 2D table, the first thing to do would be to understand those 2D, i.e., to name the rows category and the columns category. Rows are known by everyone. It’s time. Columns are known by no one. It’s aspect.

    13. “Active verbs sometimes can be used in Present Perfect for an ongoing action”
    The main vice of the Stative Verbs Rule which “permits” some ongoing actions to be rendered by Present Perfect, is that ordinary people, who never heard about “stative verbs”, nor care about them, use such cases as models to follow, and erroneously admit that they can do it with any verb, even with an active one. Hence, we got totally ungrammatical constructions like “I have lived here for 20 years (meaning I’m still living here)”, “I have worked here for 2 years (meaning, I’m still working here)”, etc. Among such “ordinary” people you will find the authors of “TOEFL Preparation Guide”, issued in 1982.

    14. “Perfect Continuous tenses are not used in Passive Voice constructions”
    That’s blatant. They are not fully legitimate. They are irreplaceable, since there is no legitimate way to replace the continuity. The rephrasing of the sentence into Active Voice is neither a good idea, since the reason of the Passive Voice is that we don’t know who the doer of the action is, or don’t want to reveal him.

    15. “Passive Perfect Continuous tenses may be replaced by Passive Perfect tenses”
    That would be the same as if you would have replaced night with day. Or white with black. Perfect tenses and corresponding Perfect Continuous tenses are as diametrical, as perfect and imperfect aspects are.

    16. “Aktionsart solves the aspectlessness problem”
    No way. Although this approach is based on sound sense, it does not give you the possibility to group the verbs automatically. Besides, the representatives of the aspectful grammars would reasonably insist that the difference between the aspects is significant even for those verbs which Aktionsart considers “aspectly disregardable”.

    17. “The “perfective” postpositions solve the aspectlessness problem. They give you the possibility to tell the aspects in Simple tenses”
    An idea that sounds good too, but neither works. You can do this only with particular verbs. And which postposition to use with which verb: “I smoked off”? “I smoked out?”. No need to mention that postpositions (including the “perfective” ones) change verbs unrecognizably.

    18. Passive in Simple Tenses.
    A trap. Passive Present Simple, Passive Past Simple and Passive Future Simple all can be understood ambiguously, i.e., translated into other languages with both perfect and imperfect aspect verbs. Compare:
    The work is done (the action is over, i.e. past). – The work is done regularly (the action is ongoing, i.e., present).
    The table is made of wood. – The key is kept under the rug.
    Warning your students about this ambiguity would reduce the number of sleepless nights for them in future.

    19. “The combination “been being” does not exist”
    It does exist. And what’s more, the ability to use it shows your level of English grammar proficiency. Take this “being”-brick out, and the whole house collapses. Better not to touch it.

    20. “We can trust English tenses names”
    Do it – and you are doomed. Present Perfect is not present, Perfect Continuous is not perfect, Continuous tenses are Moment tenses.

    Artem Ivantsov. All Rights Reserved. Quoting is permitted with the proper reference only.
    Last edited by Rinoceronte; 03-Oct-2010 at 21:31.

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    I'd better start using "been being" more often. I don't want my house to collapse. But I sure didn't experience any sleepless nights because of the passive voice even though it did confuse me.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 04-Oct-2010 at 10:58.

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I'd better start using "been being" more often. I don't want my house to collapse. But I sure didn't experience any sleepless nights because of the passive voice even though it did confuse me.
    Don't believe everything you're told (Incidentally, I don't have time to plough through all this, but I detect that in some cases 'disproofs' is being used with the 'meaning' unfounded assertions to the contrary; I'm sure some of it's true though. Indeed, I'm quite a fan of unfounded assertions to the contrary.

    b

  4. #4
    Rinoceronte is offline Banned
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    In fact, I would like to support BobK. Don't believe, think yourself.

    Needless to mention, I admit there might be something to correct, to rephrase or to be better worded or deeper founded. Whoever wants to participate in perfecting it, be my guest and friend. Cheers.

  5. #5
    Rinoceronte is offline Banned
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Sorry for a misprint. The paragraph 14 should read "...they are not only fully legitimate...".

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Here we go again, Rinoceronte. Unlike Bob K, I did have time to plough through it all - and time to respond to some more of your points.


    11. No, Rinoceronte, there is no being in the sentence, and it is therefore not Continuous. You cannot just arbitrarily decide that one tense or aspect is another. Compare:

    a. He has been naughty. and: b. He has been being naughty.

    Verbs used with a stative meaning are, almost by definition, not used in a Continuous form. Here the Continuous-isation (what a splendid word!) of BE in [b]suggests that it is not being used statively. Indeed, it is being used with a similar meaning to behave.

    In your exampleBE is being used statively, and the form is NOT Continuous.

    12. Once again you are giving your personal views on aspect not facts.

    13. You write: we got totally ungrammatical constructions like “I have lived here for 20 years (meaning I’m still living here)”, “I have worked here for 2 years (meaning, I’m still working here)”. They are NOT ungrammatical, Rinoceronte. They are almost classic examples of the way the so-called Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous is used in English today.

    14. Nobody who really knows the language suggests that “Perfect Continuous tenses are not used in Passive Voice constructions”. What we suggest (and know from observation to be true) is that they are rare. Whether you like it or not, except by older people (including me), the passive is being used less these days, even in some academic writing.

    15, The Passive Perfect Continuous and the Passive Perfect (presumably you mean Non-Continuous’) are not as different as night and day. Whilst longer constructions have been being used for many years by language illuminati such as you and I, many less enlightened people will replace a Continuous with a Simple or a Passive with an Active with almost no change of meaning.

    By the time it arrives in Prague, the car will have been being driven for 23 hours non-stop.

    That is a possible utterance, but I feel that most people would actually say either:

    By the time it arrives in Prague, the car will have been driven for 23 hours non-stop. Or
    By the time Fred arrives in Prague, he will have been driving for 23 hours non-stop.

    16. OK, I take back what I said about my being one of the language illuminati. I don’t understand your point 16

    17. Nor 17


    18. Most English verb constructions can be ambiguous, and I suspect the same is true of many languages. So long as we teachers do not fall into the trap of insisting that each tense or aspect can convey only one meaning, then context and co-text can help establish the meaning. To take a more basic example: I am responding to Rinoceronte could have several meanings when we have no context or co-text. However, when it is the answer to one of these three questions, we know which of three possible meanings it conveys.

    What are you doing over there? I am responding to Rinoceronte (at this very moment)
    What are you doing these days? I am responding to Rinoceronte (though not actually at
    this very moment)
    What are you doing after I leave? I am responding to Rinoceronte (an activity arranged
    for the future)

    19. I am afraid I am one of those weird people who do not judge a person’s proficiency in English by his or her ability to use appropriately the combination ‘being been’. I’d be more inclined to have doubts about the ability of people who write,” One of the biggest English verb system problems is in the fewness of those who can surely say, what category is represented by the columns in this Table.


    20. I agree that our current names for the tenses are not very helpful. Nor is the idea of Continuous tenses (?) being Moment tenses.

  7. #7
    Rinoceronte is offline Banned
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    No, Rinoceronte, there is no being in the sentence
    No, no, no, dear Fivejedjong, I do know about the difference between "He has been naughty" and "He has been being naughty"! The problem is that people throughout the globe don't know about it! For most of them the phrases are equal, although in the first he is not naughty anymore, while in the second he keeps being naughty. But people don't know that, since the gerund for the lexical verb "to be" has been decided to be allowed to be omitted in Present Perfect Continuous.

    They are almost classic examples of the way the so-called Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous is used in English today.
    Yep. The classical ungrammatical use. Sorry, it's ungrammatical, I insist.

    What we suggest (and know from observation to be true) is that they are rare
    On many English language forums the native speakers insist such forms do not exist. That's the problem.

    By the time it arrives in Prague, the car will have been driven for 23 hours non-stop. Or
    By the time Fred arrives in Prague, he will have been driving for 23 hours non-stop.
    That is true. But seeing that, people equal also "The game has been being played" to "The game has been played". That's the problem.

    16. OK, I take back what I said about my being one of the language illuminati. I don’t understand your point 16

    17. Nor 17
    I will address this a bit later, ok?

    Most English verb constructions can be ambiguous, and I suspect the same is true of many languages
    Not of Slavic ones.
    I’d be more inclined to have doubts about the ability of people who write,” One of the biggest English verb system problems is in the fewness of those who can surely say, what category is represented by the columns in this Table.
    So far it has been (being?) a pleasure. Do you try to insult me here?

    Nevertheless, thank you very much for the thoughtful dialogue.
    Last edited by Rinoceronte; 15-Oct-2010 at 13:18.

  8. #8
    Tullia's Avatar
    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post


    19. I am afraid I am one of those weird people who do not judge a person’s proficiency in English by his or her ability to use appropriately the combination ‘being been’.

    Sacrilege! Clearly that is the single most important factor in judging *anyone* on *any* matter, not just their English proficiency or lack thereof? I feel you should leave this board at once, hanging your head in shame.


    P.S. I'm neither old nor a fuddy-duddy and still manage to be an enthusiastic advocate for the Passive .

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    P.S. I'm neither old nor a fuddy-duddy and still manage to be an enthusiastic advocate for the Passive .
    I think the passive has been unfairly victimised and vilified.

  10. #10
    Tullia's Avatar
    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disproofs (part II)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I think the passive has been unfairly victimised and vilified.
    Perhaps some form of cross-media campaign, including of course viral marketing, to raise awareness of the passive is required?

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