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  1. #21
    jwschang Guest

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    It's like TDOL explained "The polls show support for Bush....." compared to "The polls are showing...".

    Between the Simple Past and the Present Perfect, the difference may not always be there (which Shun thinks is always not there!). Where it is, it is subtle (that's how I see it). The Simple Past can be more "final" than the Present Perfect. For example,

    1. I enjoyed talking to you. Done, finished, over.
    2. I have enjoyed talking to you. So far, could go on enjoying (if we carry on talking). Therefore, although completed (up to whatever stage), does not convey the same finality as the Simple Past. This is, I think, because the tense still brings us to (or keeps us at) the present time. The Simple Past has no connection whatsoever with the present.

    Grammar is the death of me. That's why in the not too distant past, communication experts threw grammar out of the window altogether. They said people are better taught without grammar glue sticking like Tarzan glue, not to say the confusion caused by trying so hard to explain something that can be so subtle as human speech! They said, learn by just using, using, using.....

    Grammar has returned to "fashion" because the foregoing didn't work, standards fell, etc, etc.

    IMO, we have to teach basic grammar because it is a framework, foundation, reference benchmark for what's right and what's not right in order to know what WENT wrong in your sentence, and in order to MAKE sentences based on understanding of the basic rules, etc.

    You'll take a long, round about, and trial and error way to build a house without.......

  2. #22
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    Also, the Present is Now, one and only specific point in time. The Past is a certain point of time (may be other points: yesterday, last night, when the cat was sitting on the roof, etc) in the past. :wink:
    Wait a mo'. Hold that thought :D What if, that is, time were expressed differently in English? Imagine for a moment that time is a line (I know it isn't but it's a simple, albeit traditional, way of describing Tense). Along this time line, there are three divisions, Past | Present | Future. Within these divisions there are points along the line representing things like "today", "now", "last week", "yesterday", "a minute ago" and so on. Those are points in time. These points can also be connected, giving a span of time (e.g. for a week, since Monday). The divisions themselves can also connect up. Past can be connected to Present (Present Perfect) and spans within divisions can be connected (e.g. Past can be connected to Past (Past Perfect).

    The way I see Time is like the structure of a three tiered chess game. One tier represents Past, another, Present, and yet another Future. The squares on the respective boards represent specific points in time (e.g. now, yesterday), which can be connected to form a span of time (e.g. since yesterday, up until now), and divisions can be connected across divisions to form events connected in time, such as the Present Perfect and the Past Perfect.

    Cas :D

    Apologize in advance for typos and unconventional ideas.

  3. #23
    jwschang Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Ok. Cas1. fits definition A. and Cas2. fits definition B.; but, that's not the humble point I was trying to make. Sorry. Lemme try again.

    jws IHHO provided:

    I define the Present Perfect tense as

    A. expressing an action that is already COMPLETED at the present time,

    OR

    B. an action BEGUN earlier and spanning a period to the present time.
    The A. part of the definition had me wondering, and still has me wondering what makes the Present Perfect different from the Simple Past, since we can replace the words Present Perfect with the words Simple Past:

    The Simple Past tense expresses an action that is already COMPLETED at the present time.(I would drop the last four words in defining the Simple Past, and I would say "an action that HAPPENED in the past (deliberately not using COMPLETED, because that's "aspect".)

    Given that the A. definition for the Present Perfect also houses the Simple Past, how would we explain (to students) the use of the Simple Past and the Present Perfect in the sentences below? That's sort of my point.

    Cas3. I ate. (finished, over, ended)
    Cas4. I have eaten. (finished, over, ended)

    Moreover, both 'ate' and 'eaten' are finished, over, ended. I started it and I ended it. The task was completed, if you will allow me to use that term, by me, but my use of the term 'completed' here is different from the one expressed by the conventional definition(s) for the Present Perfect. Herein is where learners, even teachers, come across the fuzzy boundary between the Present Perfect and the Simple Past. "Completed" refers to frames of time. Two timeframes to be exact, as does the Past Perfect.

    In short, the word "completed" is ambiguous. In reference to the Perfect, it has nought to do with actions but rather the coming together of two separate points: time frames, if you will, the Past and the Present, as in the making of a perfect circle, and hence the origin of the grammatical term "Perfect". Given this, I wonder if we should modify our definition so as to provide a better understanding of the ambiguous term "completed".

    Cas :D

    p.s. I apologize in advance for any typos. (It's late.)

  4. #24
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    The Simple Past tense expresses an action that is already COMPLETED at the present time.

    I would drop the last four words in defining the Simple Past, and I would say "an action that HAPPENED in the past (deliberately not using COMPLETED, because that's "aspect".)
    Ok, but...

    Given that definition, how would we explain the use of the Simple Past and the Present Perfect in the sentences below?

    Cas3. I ate. (finished, over, ended)
    Cas4. I have eaten. (finished, over, ended)

    'ate' is an action that HAPPENED in the past "action" has got to go.

    Cas :)

  5. #25
    jwschang Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Also, the Present is Now, one and only specific point in time. The Past is a certain point of time (may be other points: yesterday, last night, when the cat was sitting on the roof, etc) in the past. :wink:
    Wait a mo'. Hold that thought :D What if, that is, time were expressed differently in English? Imagine for a moment that time is a line (I know it isn't but it's a simple, albeit traditional, way of describing Tense). Along this time line, there are three divisions, Past | Present | Future. Within these divisions there are points along the line representing things like "today", "now", "last week", "yesterday", "a minute ago" and so on. Those are points in time. These points can also be connected, giving a span of time (e.g. for a week, since Monday). The divisions themselves can also connect up. Past can be connected to Present (Present Perfect) and spans within divisions can be connected (e.g. Past can be connected to Past (Past Perfect).

    The way I see Time is like the structure of a three tiered chess game. One tier represents Past, another, Present, and yet another Future. The squares on the respective boards represent specific points in time (e.g. now, yesterday), which can be connected to form a span of time (e.g. since yesterday, up until now), and divisions can be connected across divisions to form events connected in time, such as the Present Perfect and the Past Perfect.

    Cas :D

    Apologize in advance for typos and unconventional ideas.
    I think it's not unconventional, only thing being that grammarians (that's just speaking broadly and jokingly) fear treading on unfamiliar territory that is the domain of mathematicians (or graphic artists!!), such as graphical representation of an idea.

    I agree with you entirely. Perhaps because I had studied the "pure" sciences (but still ended up as a finance/accounting person!), some of my thinking is in graphic terms. I had thought of using the horizontal line (great minds think alike) to pictorise the explanation of tenses, but I have decided very decidedly not to, because experts will look on it not just with disdain but total consternation!! And my poor text will be still-born, looking more like a book on geometry!!!

  6. #26
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    Sure. That's just to have the Past Perfect sit alongside the Present Perfect in the bus, which is taking all of us on a wonderful holiday to Dalian, where Shane is.
    It sure is, isn't? :D

    Wow! The man studied Chinese for six years before going off to China! I hope I have the chance to meet him.
    Amazing! I've heard Chinese is somewhat difficult given it's a tone language, not to mention that fact that it takes a body 18 or so years just to get the kanji down. Is that true? I'm in Japan, and I gotta tell ya, I've been studying kanji for going on 4 years now, which means to say I know about as much kanji as a fourth grader in elementary school T'morrow I am giving a speech in Japanese to the Mayor and the City council, and I gotta tell ya, I'm shaking' in me boots just thinking about it. My hat goes off to Shane!

    Just a side issue: Dalian is one of the cleanest and most beautiful of Chinese cities, I'm told. It's in the northeast, on the southern coast of Liaoning province in the old Manchuria. I have yet to visit the place (supposed to have gone early this month). I just think that TDOL (whose students include Chinese), Ronbee, Red5, yourself....... should one day visit China. :)
    Dalian sounds wonderfully peaceful, not to mention eye staging gorgeous. I'm considering a trip soon. Japan ain't that far away from China. :D I had Chinese speaking students in Canada. They taught me a few words--I just can't seem to get around the dialects, though. When I greet someone in Mandarin, for example, they reply in Cantonese Ni haw ma? Shei shei lee How'dya like my Chinese

    Cas :D

  7. #27
    jwschang Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Ok, but...

    Given that definition, how would we explain the use of the Simple Past and the Present Perfect in the sentences below?

    Cas3. I ate. (finished, over, ended)
    Cas4. I have eaten. (finished, over, ended)

    'ate' is an action that HAPPENED in the past "action" has got to go. (I don't understand what you mean by "action" has got to go.)

    Cas :)
    No difference. That's what I meant by saying that the difference may not ALWAYS be there between the two tenses. Which is very true, because we often have a choice of saying the same thing in more than one way.

  8. #28
    jwschang Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Wow! The man studied Chinese for six years before going off to China! I hope I have the chance to meet him.
    Amazing! I've heard Chinese is somewhat difficult given it's a tone language, not to mention that fact that it takes a body 18 or so years just to get the kanji down. Is that true? I'm in Japan, and I gotta tell ya, I've been studying kanji(What's kanji? All I know is Japanese is subject-object-verb, like "I fish eat".) for going on 4 years now, which means to say I know about as much kanji as a fourth grader in elementary school T'morrow I am giving a speech in Japanese to the Mayor and the City council, and I gotta tell ya, I'm shaking' in me boots just thinking about it. (Not so bad, give my regards to them!) My hat goes off to Shane!


    Dalian sounds wonderfully peaceful, not to mention eye staging gorgeous. I'm considering a trip soon. Japan ain't that far away from China. :D I had Chinese speaking students in Canada. They taught me a few words--I just can't seem to get around the dialects, though.(Don't worry about dialects. Every Chinese (99.9%) understands Putonghua, i.e. "Mandarin".) When I greet someone in Mandarin, for example, they reply in Cantonese Ni haw ma? Shei shei lee How'dya like my Chinese (Nope, not Cantonese but excellent Mandarin, though in Hanyu Pinyin (romanized Chinese) its Ni hao ma? Xie xie ni.)

    Cas :D

  9. #29
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    I wrote an ordinary example:
    Ex: I live in Hong Kong.

    You answered: (Do you say:"I live in HK for two years"? In Chinese or some other language, yes; in English or some other language, no.)

    My reply: "I live in Hong Kong" is grammatical in English.
    Both the structures are alright:
    Ex: I live in Hong Kong.
    Ex: I have lived in Hong Kong for two years.
    Both are "an action BEGUN earlier and spanning a period to the present time".

    That is to say, your definition for Present Perfect collides with Simple Present.

    -----------------
    I sincerely reminded you:
    Present Perfect doesn't stay with past time expression:
    Ex: *I have visited there last week.

    You answered: (I have not heard of this rule, at least not in the way that you have put it as "past time expression". Correct rule would be: Past Perfect goes with Simple Past: I had eaten when he arrived.)

    My reply: Let it be written: You have not heard of this rule.

  10. #30
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