Page 7 of 15 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 70 of 144
  1. #61
    jwschang Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Jws,
    1. I think most (all??, including scientific ones?) definitions will have limitations. If we apply the Pareto Principle, it may be good enough that the definition covers the main gist; I think it cannot be completely comprehensive. Exceptions, specific contexts, etc will have to be dealt with by qualification, illustrations, etc.
    Ain't that the gawd's honest truth! However, the present definition hasn't come close to covering the 'gist', as Shun's examples attest to.
    Cas :D
    Shall we continue discussing definitions under a fresh topic/new thread? This thread has got kind of long, and the original heading's not appropriate to what's here. :P

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jwschang
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    He was a big-short person: 4 feet tall and 310 pounds.

    :D
    Big shot, head cheese, top dog, head honcho, numero uno, what else?
    Red 5

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Cas explained:

    Well, not necessarily. Just because a given speaker, native or non-native, feels there is no difference between, say, "I ate" and "I have eaten" doesn't prove they are the same. That is, the similarity is apparent only. Both actions ended, finished, are over. They seem similar, don't they, but they aren't.
    Do we eat dinner? Yes, we do, always do. But how come we sometimes say "I ate / have eaten dinner"? I don't eat dinner anymore? No, I will keep eating dinner every day. But why do we sometimes say "I ate / have eaten dinner"? I can't figure how to explain it. Would you help?

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

    Shun wrote:
    I doubt that. "For the past week" is a member of the Past Family, which are compatible with Present Perfect:
    Ex: They have stayed in this hotel for the past week.
    == The structure is perfectly alright.
    Cas answered:
    Yes. It's perfectly fine. :P Have you checked the verb's semantic structure? The use of the participle 'stayed' is synonymous with 'been', meaning existed, which expresses continuity in the past, and the reason it's compatible with 'for the past week'.
    My reply: I guess you missed my point. But it is because my bad expression. What I wanted to say is, "for the past week" is a past time expression, why shall it stay with Present Perfect?

  5. #65
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,263
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    For the past\last week is an unfinished time period that began 7 days ago and continues up to the present. It is not the same as 'last week', which is finished.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you Tdol.
    You wrote:
    For the past\last week is an unfinished time period that began 7 days ago and continues up to the present. It is not the same as 'last week', which is finished.
    My reply: I hope people here can understand this: I agree to you that it is an unfinished time. I know very well.
    But please answer a straight question: Is it a past time adverbial or not? If it has an adjective 'past', how can we say it is a present or future time adverbial? I myself cannot do it, so do all other grammar writers. And therefore all grammar writers will not talk about examples like I have posted at first:
    Ex1: I have seen him in the past few days.
    It is because we all know Present Perfect cannot stay with past time adverbials:
    Ex2: *I have seen him yesterday.

    If you can help explain "in the past few years" is a present or future adverbial, then you will have helped me, and many grammar writers, and most of all, many students. If not, we can only keep cheating our students reluctantly and helplessly. :eggface:

    Do you know what the situation now is? Because "in the past few years" looks clearly like a past time adverbial, many students in Asia are using Simple Past to say it:
    Ex3: ?I saw him in the past few days.
    == We don't even have a grammar book to explain to them. Even worse, many Asia teachers themselves mostly use Ex3. They are bad. But whose fault it is? :?

    Is it very hard to understand what I am saying and begging? :agrue:

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

    Shun:
    I guess you missed my point. But it is because my bad expression. What I wanted to say is, "for the past week" is a past time expression, why shall it stay with Present Perfect?
    Well, there's more to a sentence than its parts. We need to look at how the parts function together and as a whole.

    Your example sentences are fabulous! Truly. They appear to buck the general rule. But, and here's a hurdle we need to overcome, just because a given sentence doesn't appear to satisfy the rule, doesn't necessarily mean the rule is faulty. That is, it may be a case of 'hidden evidence' that we, the reader, not the rule writer, have overlooked. For example, guess what's hidden in:

    :D I have seen him in the past week.

    We know the sentence above doesn't fit the rule we're given; that rule being something like, 'past time expressions', specifically adverials, are incompatible with Present Perfect verbs. In other words, don't use adverbs expressing Past time to modify have -ed/-en verbs.

    :( I have seen him yesterday.


    But, we hear native speakers using adverbs like "in the past" to modify have -ed/-en verbs,

    :D I have seen him in the past week.

    so we wonder, "What's with that? Who's the authority here? The rule writers or the native speakers? Who do I trust? How can I learn English if people keep changing the rules? It's frustrating!

    Well, the answer is always hidden in the question asked. The original question was something like "Why do they hide...?" If we take another look at one our example sentences, say

    :D I have seen him in the past week.

    we'll notice that (1) it's grammatical, and (2) that if it's grammatical there must be (a) something wrong with the rule and/or (b) something wrong with the way we are analysing the sentence.

    Let's give the rule writer the benefit of the doubt for the present time since s/he has way more knowledge about the topic than we have put together at the present moment. So, let's assume the rule is correct. If so, then, the problem with,

    :D I have seen him in the past week.

    has to do with the way in which we are analysing the sentence. Which brings me back to my previous statement that 'the answer is always hidden in the question.'

    If 'in the past week' is grammatical in a sentence with a Present Perfect verb, and yet cannot modify a Present Perfect verb, then it has to be modifying something, something that's hidden. What could be hidden? Adverbs modify verbs. So what verbal form could be missing? Oh wait, doesn't the verb 'see' take a present participle? Yes. It does. I studied that when I was learning English verbs. Ok, so let's add a participle and see what happens:

    :D I have seen him jogging in the past week.

    Aha! "in the past" modifies "jogging", a non-Perfect form. Unbelievable! The rule is correct. It stands unchanged. It was my original analysis that was off. I placed too much focus on the verb and no focus at all on the sentence's structure.

    So, is 'in the past week' still an exception to the rule? No. It fits the rule quite nicely. It would be nice, however, if rules such as the one you found were followed by examples like the ones you've provided, Shun.

    We need to move on to another example. Test our analyses. That's what this is all about, right? We're investigating language in use.

    Cas :D

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

    Cas,

    I do believe I have to wear a smiling icon to hide my face if I have to explain the thing in the class as you did.

    I have answered this your example:
    Ex: I have seen him jogging in the past week. (grammatical)
    If we can do this, we can also explain:
    Ex: I have seen him jogging yesterday. (grammatical)
    However, this grammatical example enables us to say:
    Ex: I have seen him yesterday. (ungrammatical)
    == Therefore I don't think the analysis is a good one.

    You wrote:
    :P I have seen him in the past week.
    We know the sentence above doesn't fit the rule we're given; that rule being something like, 'past time expressions', specifically adverials, are incompatible with Present Perfect verbs. In other words, don't use adverbs expressing Past time to modify have -ed/-en verbs.
    My reply: The example does fit what I call the Past Family. It is a past time, even I don't know how to explain it can stay with Present Perfect, neither do grammar writers. If a time which has the djective 'past' and is still not past, then what is past?
    "I have seen him in the past week" is a past time and stays with Present Perfect. I agree the action is not past, but the time is past. Why? To me, it is compatible, because a present action can be started in the past, that's why. In other words, we do use adverbs expressing Past time to modify have -ed/-en verbs.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

    Shun:
    1. Ex: I have seen him jogging in the past week. (grammatical)

    If we can do this, we can also explain:

    2. Ex: I have seen him jogging yesterday. (grammatical)
    Oh, Yes. I see your logic quite clearly. Nice point, indeed. :D What you're saying is,

    Since "in the past" and "yesterday" both belong to the past family of adverbs, we should be able to use them in the same way. So you tested that assumption by replacing "in the past" with "yesterday", expecting the same grammatical result:

    2. :( I have seen him yesterday. (iff 'in the past' is grammatical in this position , then 'yesterday' is grammatical in that position)

    but it wasn't or isn't grammatical, which is your point.

    Okay. Now that we understand each other, here's why sentence 2. is faulty. "yesterday" modifies "jogging", a present participle, which just happens to be hidden, or omitted from the sentence.

    Present participles (-ing) express continuity, wheres "yesterday" can not:

    3. :( I am going jogging yesterday. ungrammatical

    In short, even though "in the past week" and "yesterday" belong to the same past time club, they do not express past time in the same way. "in the past" expresses continuity, whereas "yesterday" can not. The former is compatible with -ing words, whereas the later is not.

    "I have seen him yesterday" is ungrammatical because 'yesterday' modifies an -ing word, which is hidden, or omitted from the context.

    Shun:
    "I have seen him in the past week" is a past time and stays with Present Perfect. I agree the action is not past, but the time is past. Why?
    Well , the action started in the Past and continues up to the Present. Past time (-en) is used to start the continuum and Present time (have see) is used to complete it. Time is used in this way to create a span of time, of which a start point and an end point is needed.

    The adverb "in the past week" is not compatible with the PP verb; it's compatible with the PP verb's extension: have seen someone doing.

    -ing words express continuity as does "in the past week". That is, we don't know when in the span of the past week the event started. It started at some unknown time within the past week. The word 'within' refers to a span. So you see,

    :D I have seen him in the past week

    is okay. "in the past" modifies an -ing word that is hidden, or omitted from the context.

    :D I have seen him jogging in the past week

    Shun:
    In other words, we do use adverbs expressing Past time to modify have -ed/-en verbs.
    On the surface it appears that they're modifying have -ed/-en verbs, but underlyingly, they're modifying something else. So, technically, adverbs expressing Past time do not modify have -ed/en verbs. Sorry

    Do you have more examples?

    :D

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

    Cas,

    You wrote:
    Past time (-en) is used to start the continuum and Present time (have see) is used to complete it. Time is used in this way to create a span of time, of which a start point and an end point is needed.
    My reply: I guess your explanation is solely for the examples such as "I have seen him in the past week", example for the Past Family. :? All the resources have now been turned to the Past Family for the time being. But what about the normal Present Perfect?

    In many other examples of Present Perfect, the time doesn't show "a start point and an end point":
    Ex: He has seen Mary recently/just/lately.
    Ex: We all have met John before/earlier.

    Actually, normally, most Present Perfect sentences don't link to any time. They don't imply such a span of time, "of which a start point and an end point is needed".
    :wink: Ex: I have lived in Japan. (I live in HK now.)
    :wink: Ex: They have been to Paris. (They are back to HK now.)
    == Present Perfect structures normally don't reveal a time and they just don't "span".

    I am afraid we cannot ignore the normal structures for Present Perfect and, in order to explain the Past Family, say something strange, created solely for the Past Family. I am afraid it is not fair. They are the same Present Perfect tense, I suppose. They deserve the same treatment.
    They are of the same tense that, as you analyzed, Past time (-en) is used to start the continuum and Present time (have see) is used to complete it. The analysis works only for the Past Family, but violates most of normal Present Perfect structures. This is why even grammar writers would not do it.

    Or we may put them together for contrast: sometimes we span, sometime we don't:
    :P Ex: I have seen him in the past week. (we span.)
    :P Ex: I have lived in Japan before. (we don't span.)

    What is it? A freedom of using tense?

Page 7 of 15 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Past Participle
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-Apr-2010, 11:22
  2. My family are (or is)
    By bmo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-Dec-2009, 09:31
  3. past perfect and past perfect contian
    By deer in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Oct-2004, 11:17
  4. royal family
    By Lenka in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 19-Jun-2004, 00:36

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •