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  1. #121
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    :) As for the strange capabilities of Present Perfect, many grammar writers would not use one stone to kill the two birds:

    Ex1: He has lived in Japan in the past five years. (a continuity)
    Ex2: He has lived in Japan in the past. (a finish)

    They would explain the tense separately in a few directions, as in:
    Use 1: Actions which started in the past and are still continuing
    Use 2: Actions which happened at some unknown time in the past
    Use 3: Actions which happened in the past, but have an effect in the present

    http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzo...mar/upperf.htm
    My reply: Here Use#1 can explain my Ex1, and Use#2 my Ex2.
    Oh, of course, they will not tell you clearly, there are contrarieties in their items of Uses. :?
    However, if you point out that Use#1 and Use#2 are not compatible, then they will admit, yes, they are aware of that. "The tense is very useful, isn't it?", they would join you.

    However, I am afraid they themselves even don't know, Use#1 has unknowingly confused with use of Simple Present. Actually, Use#1 is the use of Simple Present:

    Ex: Jack lives in Japan.
    == Though in Simple Present, the living started in the past and are still continuing.
    That is, Jack couldn't just live there only by the moment we speak or write. He must have started the living in the past, and are still continuing up to now.
    Unknowingly or secretly, grammar writers borrow the definition of Simple Present to define Present Perfect, so that it looks like to have a difference from Simple Past. It has passed most people.

    As for Use#2, again unknowingly or secretly, it is the use of Simple Past and can explain all Simple Past structures that don't carry a known time:
    Ex: He lived in Japan.
    Ex: She met him in the park.

    In dealing with Present Perfect now, grammar writers are quite safe and self-contented, for usually students cannot see through the magic. Since writers have collected explanations and definitions prepared for both present and past time, what kind of Time situation Present Perfect cannot explain?

    The tense can even stay with the Past Family, specific past time adverbials. As for the Past Family, including "since 1987", clearly telling the Time, they clarify the myth that Present Perfect is an Aspect which is not about Time/Tense. Actually, Present Perfect is a tense, which tells the time.

    The exact reason why we have a hard time in explaining Present Perfect is that the tense seems able to express any Time. In fact, it does.

    Present Perfect has a dual function, expressing either present or past. It then functions as either Simple Present or Simple Past. And this is why I have promised that, whatever you say to Present Perfect, can be said word for word again to either Simple Present or Simple Past.

    Most people know we have a difficulty to tell Simple Past apart from Present Perfect. People admit this, in various forums or discussions.
    But few people know there is another difficulty: to tell a difference between the use of Simple Present and Present Perfect. As the latter difficulty is known to few persons, in various forums, readers thought it was easy to prove me wrong. They just couldn't. Whatever they say to Simple Present can be word for word said again to another tense.

    Ironically, when we bring the two difficulties together side by side, there is the answer emerging, a simple answer to the three tenses: Simple Past, Present Perfect, and Simple Present. In various forums readers eventually agreed, after looking at the simple answer, that it is nonsensical not to put the three tenses together for contrast.

    :D

  2. #122
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    "It then functions as either Simple Present or Simple Past."

    I'd say it is a bridge between the two.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    "It then functions as either Simple Present or Simple Past."

    I'd say it is a bridge between the two.
    :D I have a second thought: the metaphor is not good enough. If it is a bridge, the past can reach the present by crossing the bridge, but this is not feasible. When we say it is the present, any time before the present is the past. The past cannot come to the present. YESTERDAY cannot come to TODAY. No bridge can do that.

    :D

  4. #124
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    The Origin Of The Difficulty Of Tenses

    Reminder from above:

    As for the Uses of Present Perfect, actually, Use#1 is the use of Simple Present.
    As for Use#2, again unknowingly or secretly, it is the use of Simple Past.
    We have only Time past and present, but we have three tenses -- Simple Past, Present Perfect, and Simple Present. There is a problem of sharing. If there is no Present Perfect, I bet anything that we all conclude simply, and most important correctly:
    Simple Present is to tell present time.
    Simple Past is to tell past time.


    Yes, English tense should have been that simple.

    Unfortunately, we have three tenses. Between present and past, we want to create some kind of time for Present Perfect. That is the trouble. If there is any difficulty in tenses, it is how to cut TWO timings into THREE shares. Now and then, there come grotesque jargons, and unprecedented theories created whenever needed. Their purpose is the same, to create enough confusions that, between past and present, students vaguely see the third kind of time.

    Unable to cut TWO timings into THREE shares, some ingenious grammarians call Present Perfect as Aspect (Perfective Aspect), which they claim doesn't talk about Time, so it is not a tense. This is why we have Aspect. However, the term has now become so vague that any person who has an opinion to Present Perfect, would call the opinion an Aspect. Nowadays, everyone has his own say to Perfective Aspect. :D Over the web, I have visited many Aspect tycoons (who have deep knowledge in Aspect) and asked them exactly what Aspect means. No one could explain the word. They didn't even try. Actually, the word is not for understanding. If you know well its meaning, they have to create another jargon. They know they had better not explain to you.

    :agrue: And I ask them, when Present Perfect tells the time as in "He has lived there since 1980", is it an Aspect or a tense? Again, they would always avoid the answer. A very few would try the stereotype: "He has lived there before, in a period up to now, but we don't say he is still living there or not". I then reminded them, even if they are correct, which is not, they are still talking about time -- not Aspect.

    Much more than a would-be Aspect, Present Perfect is a tense, unfortunately.

    Usually, by way of a method of borrowing, this is how the present-day grammar writers do it: :D When they want to tell the difference between Simple Past and Present Perfect, they borrow Simple Present to explain Present Perfect, so we see a difference from Simple Past. (See the reminder above.)

    :D On the other hand, if they want to tell the difference between Simple Present and Present Perfect, they borrow Simple Past to explain Present Perfect, so we can see a difference from Simple Present. (See also the reminder above.)

    So far so good. But the drawback is, grammar writers will not, and can not, put the three tenses together for contrast. Obviously, they are still unable to cut TWO timings into THREE shares. However, it is quite OK, because students cannot find anything funny for grammars not to put the three tense together for contrast. Now they 'understand' Present Perfect, and this is the most important.

    In many forums, however, tenses are a frequent subject from students. They actually don't know much about tenses, the ABC of English.

    The question only emerges when students have to use tenses, choosing among three tenses that are stored together in their minds. Still, they don't know the question is in present-day grammar writers. On the contrary, students think the problem is in their own understanding. As I have seen enough, one gave students a difficult term they don't understand, and students would say thanks and leave, with the question being "answered". Students can never expect that present-day grammar writers are using methods of borrowing, and method of hiding away evidence, to cover up what they don't understand. They don't know that learners or experts are still arguing the basic part of English -- tenses. After so many years of using English tenses, we are still deeply confused, circling around at the starting stage, testing new explanation, and hiding away the unknown.

    And worst of all, as grammars would not openly admit the failure, even deep learners don't even know why or where we have the problems. Evidence? In any forum as they claim they discuss Present Perfect, they are inevitably talking about also Simple Past, but they wrongly thought they could leave Simple Present alone for the time being. They don't know the whole problem is to cut TWO timings for the THREE tenses. Not to compare the three tenses together is not knowing what is going on here about tenses.

    :D When we compare the three tenses together, the method of borrowing is over, and the whole tenses system is collapsed. This, many learners don't even know about.

  5. #125
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Simple Present is to tell present time.
    Simple Past is to tell past time.

    I don't agree with this- we can use the present for the future and, occasionally, the past. We can also use the past for present time (Impossible) or the unlikely future, or just to be polite.

  6. #126
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Aspect shows whether something is finished (perfect) or unfinished (progressive) for actions. For states, the perfect is unfinished but seen as long-term, while the progressive is temporary.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shun
    YESTERDAY, LAST WEEK, and LAST YEAR also don't tell me exactly when.
    On the contrary. "last" is known. It tells us specifically when: It's not the first or the second or the third. It's the last. That's exact. Specific. :D

  8. #128
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    Cas,

    You wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by Shun
    YESTERDAY, LAST WEEK, and LAST YEAR also don't tell me exactly when.
    On the contrary. "last" is known. It tells us specifically when: It's not the first or the second or the third. It's the last. That's exact. Specific. :D
    My reply: Your counting of first, second, third, ......last, is numeration, not a kind of Time.

    Compared with the present year 2003, LAST YEAR is 2002. However, are you still sure about this in 2008? By that time, you will change your mind and agree that LAST YEAR is 2007. We don't have a specific LAST YEAR. Time is comparative. Past depends what is present. As the present time is forever on-going and changing, so is other timings.

    Please understand I am not suggesting that LAST YEAR be not so-called Specific Past Time by conventional grammars. I agree to their opinion, but point out that they shall not hide away the Past Family. However, as you were arguing that "in the past hour/ day/ week/ month/ year/ etc", member of the Past Family, is not specific enough, I had to explain that YESTERDAY or LAST YEAR can also be not so specific after all.

    If you questioned about IN THE PAST YEAR, you had to question also LAST YEAR. This is what I wanted to say. Actually, they both are Specific Past Time, there is no question about this.

    :wink:

  9. #129
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    "Compared with the present year 2003, LAST YEAR is 2002. However, are you still sure about this in 2008? By that time, you will change your mind and agree that LAST YEAR is 2007. We don't have a specific LAST YEAR. Time is comparative. Past depends what is present. As the present time is forever on-going and changing, so is other timings."

    But at any point, the reference is clear.

  10. #130
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    TDOL,

    I recommended my simple definitions:
    Simple Present is to tell present time.
    Simple Past is to tell past time.


    You commented:
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I don't agree with this- we can use the present for the future and, occasionally, the past. We can also use the past for present time (Impossible) or the unlikely future, or just to be polite.
    My reply: :? Before this, you cannot see any loophole in your advanced definitions of the three tenses, or any tense at all? I haven't yet seen your definition for Simple Present, but I am sure it is much worst than mine.

    However, it was you who said in another thread here: "Do we have Future Tense?":

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It's a very difficult subject. I, for one, do not believe we have a Future Tense.....
    :P How comes you now remind me of some tenses that can refer to future? I am not avoiding your point. I won't. Give me examples and we'll have a good talk.

    ----------------------
    By the way, in "Do we have Future Tense?" you also wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    However, having been through and seen this argument time and time again, I think of it as more a question of faith\belief, rather than logic.
    My reply: Please let me try the logic. Are you aware that we literally have no future time, because all kinds of future time are within the present time? For example, is the coming December a future time? Yes? But it is still within "this year", a present year, a present time. That is, since a future time must be within a present time -- Simple Present can do that!

    Again, will "next ten years" be a future time? But it is within this present century, a present time. That is, future time must be within present time. Or would you tell me the correct way how to define future time?

    :x Since we cannot logically define a future time, how can we logically use a tense to say it? Therefore, it is more than faith or belief. It is logic that we don't have Future Tense.

    [Note: YESTERDAY/IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS/etc. can also be recognized as a time within this present year, but we have a clear way to separate the past from the present time, while it is not possible to do so with the future. We may even use a stopwatch to mark a passing second, but never a coming second.] :)

    ----------------------
    Another point is, even if we have Future Tense, it is obvious we are now talking about past and present. Personally, I think we can leave Future Tense alone for the time being. By leaving it behind, I clearly understand I do not secretly use its definition to explain other tense, while you know that people are unknowingly or secretly borrowing Simple Present definition to explain Present Perfect, as I explained in my previous message.

    ----------------------
    As for your "occasionally use Simple Present to tell past time", please give examples. Perhaps I know what you meant, but it is better for you to give examples.

    ---------------------
    You wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Aspect shows whether something is finished (perfect) or unfinished (progressive) for actions. For states, the perfect is unfinished but seen as long-term, while the progressive is temporary.
    :D I want to explain what Aspect is in tenses.

    In dictionary, ASPECT means direction, viewpoint:
    Ex: We love the valley in all its aspects.
    == We love the valley if viewing it in all directions.

    Therefore I agree Present Progressive is a kind of Aspect. Most Simple Present can be repeated in Present Progressive without making a big mistake in expressing Time. That is, Present Progressive is another direction to look at Simple Present:

    Ex: "He lives in Japan" compares with
    "He is living in Japan"
    Ex: "She writes stories for children" compares with
    "She is writing stories for children"
    Ex: "We discuss the use of Aspect" compares with
    "We are discussing the use of Aspect"


    All of above are referring to the present time.

    However, since Present Perfect has a dual function, it is at best half an Aspect. Or better to say, people want to use one stone (Aspect) to kill two birds (the dual function).

    As you claim "Aspect shows whether something is finished (perfect)", how you can explain the unfinished indication of the tense:
    Ex: Jack has lived there since 1980.
    == This is a continuity and Aspect tycoons had to avoid encounter with it.
    A very few of them explained, as I said in the previous message, that Jack's living there is too a finish. But they will add "I am not sure whether now he still lives here or not", to give an implication he may still live there -- it may be unfinished.
    I want to make it simple to understand: tycoons want to say Perfective is finished, but may be unfinished.

    As I have explained, vagueness or confusion is the purpose of using Perfective Aspect.

    --------------------
    You wrote:

    For states, the perfect is unfinished but seen as long-term
    My reply: :x As I explained the method of borrowing, here you borrow Simple Present to explain Present Perfect. That is to say, your Present Perfect definition fits Simple Present perfectly:

    Ex: He lives in Japan.
    == In Simple Present, the living is unfinished but seen as long-term, word for word as you've described Present Perfect.

    As I promised, whatever you say to Present Perfect can be said word for word again to either Simple Present or Simple Past. It is because Present Perfect has a dual function, indicating both present and past.

    :)

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