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  1. #1
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    Default A strange use of tense

    I want to put the following statements at once:
    -- He has found a new restaurant.
    -- He has ordered noodle.
    -- He has eaten the noodle.
    And I find this:
    Ex: "He has found a new restaurant. He has ordered noodle. He has eaten the noodle."

    Is there any problem?

    Please don't criticize the short sentences. I just want to talk about the tense.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    In this case, there is not much difference between the past participle has eaten and the simple past ate.

    He found a new restaurant, ordered noodle[s], and ate them.

    Always try to use the simplest expression that will convey your exact meaning.

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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner
    In this case, there is not much difference between the past participle has eaten and the simple past ate.

    He found a new restaurant, ordered noodle[s], and ate them.

    Always try to use the simplest expression that will convey your exact meaning.
    This is what I meant. May you tell me the exact reason why we use Simple Past? It is a strange use.

    Simple Present is also simple enough. Can we use Simple Present to link them up?

    My exact meaning is of course Present Perfect, obviously.

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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner
    In this case, there is not much difference between the past participle has eaten and the simple past ate.
    In what case exactly? Why can we use Simple Past to replace Present Perfect? If they are the same, why are there two tenses?

  5. #5
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    dr_linguista is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    First of all, it is not a strange use of tense.

    Secondly, the first sentence "He has found a new restaurant." should be used in the simple past tense.

    As for the second and the third senteces, they can be used either in the simple past or the present perfect.

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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_linguista
    First of all, it is not a strange use of tense.



    Secondly, the first sentence "He has found a new restaurant." should be used in the simple past tense.

    As for the second and the third senteces, they can be used either in the simple past or the present perfect.
    No, I don't think so. Mykwyner's example is correct. Yours is incorrect.

    Even you are correct, which is actually not, why will you have to use Simple Past for the first sentence? Can you name a reason at all?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    I call it strange because you cannot tell the correct reason.

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post
    I want to put the following statements at once:
    -- He has found a new restaurant.
    -- He has ordered noodles.
    -- He has eaten the noodles.
    And I find this:
    Ex: "He has found a new restaurant. He has ordered noodle. He has eaten the noodle."

    Is there any problem?

    The only problem, Shun, is that we would not, in this case, use 'noodle' without an 's'.

    Please don't criticize the short sentences. I just want to talk about the tense.
    The present perfect is fine in this situation, but that doesn't mean it's the only choice. Often, to relate a progression of events like this [simplicity of the sentences aside], we use the present perfect.

    The PP is used for a number of reasons but we need not go into all of them now. The ones that have a bearing on the present discussion is the one already mentioned and a second which will answer your question, "why have two tenses?"

    One of the jobs of the PP is to make past actions seem more important, more current, more a hot topic. This is something that only the speaker can decide so we really can't state categorically that these examples must be either the PP or psat simple.

    Last edited by riverkid; 20-Aug-2006 at 18:44.

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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    The only problem, Shun, is that we would not, in this case, use 'noodle' without an 's'.


    There is no problem in using "noodles", please check "noodles" on internet. Or you may check exactly "order noodles". I always order two kinds of noodles at once.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    The present perfect is fine in this situation, but that doesn't mean it's the only choice.


    Of course we may any kinds of tenses in news. But I am pointing at the usual expressions of tenses in news, where they mostly use Simple Past, as in the following:

    France wants EU meeting over Lebanon By Swaha Pattanaik
    2 hours, 14 minutes ago

    PARIS (Reuters) - France CALLED on Sunday for a European Union meeting next week to co-ordinate what member countries plan to do about a U.N. force for Lebanon.

    "We ask that European solidarity is expressed as soon as possible about Lebanon," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy TOLD France Info radio, adding he had asked EU president Finland to call a meeting in Brussels early next week.

    France WANTED "to know what our different European partners count on doing as quickly as possible about Lebanon," he said.

    France has pledged to send only 200 extra troops to Lebanon, disappointing Washington and the United Nations, which had hoped it would form the backbone of an expanded U.N. force.

    On Saturday, President Jacques Chirac SPOKE to leaders from several countries, including Italy's Romano Prodi and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, to stress the need for a clearer mandate for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

    In Rome, Prodi's office SAID he discussed the force in separate telephone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

    Both men TOLD Prodi they appreciated that Italy was ready "to assume a role of primary importance" in the mission.

    Italy's chances of leading the force have increased following France's apparent reluctance to commit more troops.
    1. In the news, the two Present Perfect actions -- Has Pledged and Has Increased -- have happened before Sunday's Simple Past actions, but why don't they reporters use Past Perfect? In grammars, we understand that those things finished before Simple Past should be in Past Perfect, don't we?

    2. My theme question is, however, as in "In Rome, Prodi's office SAID he discussed....", when will the reporter use Simple Past SAID? Is it at once when he hears it? If so, it is ungrammatical. This also hardly explains why do reporters use Simple Present "says" sometimes.

    Or is it when the reporter is back in press room, pretending the saying is now over? If so, however, why is the news headline in Simple Present "wants"?


  10. #10
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: A strange use of tense

    You've raised a lot of complicated language issues in this posting, Shun, so please read what I've written carefully and if there are more questions don't hesitate to ask.


    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post


    There is no problem in using "noodles", please check "noodles" on internet. Or you may check exactly "order noodles". I always order two kinds of noodles at once.

    Good day, Shun.

    Your original posting had no 's' on noodles. Of course you can use 'noodles' but it must be plural, not the singular form, 'noodle'.




    Of course we may any kinds of tenses in news. But I am pointing at the usual expressions of tenses in news, where they mostly use Simple Past, as in the following:

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    France wants EU Meeting Over Lebanon by ...

    2 hours, 14 minutes ago

    PARIS (Reuters) - France CALLED on Sunday for a European Union meeting next week to co-ordinate what member countries plan to do about a U.N. force for Lebanon.

    We usually eschew the PP with an adverb of time; here "on Sunday" was used, hence past simple.

    "We ask that European solidarity is expressed as soon as possible about Lebanon," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy TOLD France Info radio, adding he had asked EU president Finland to call a meeting in Brussels early next week.

    France WANTED "to know what our different European partners count on doing as quickly as possible about Lebanon," he said.

    For "wanted", it's not semantically significant enough to warrant the use of the Present Perfect. [see the discussion below on this]

    France has pledged to send only 200 extra troops to Lebanon, disappointing Washington and the United Nations, which had hoped it would form the backbone of an expanded U.N. force.

    Here, it is sematically significant. This pledge has had an important effect on the US and the UN.

    On Saturday, President Jacques Chirac SPOKE to leaders from several countries, including Italy's Romano Prodi and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, to stress the need for a clearer mandate for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

    Again, it's not semantically significant enough to warrant the use of the Present Perfect. [see the discussion below on this

    In Rome, Prodi's office SAID he discussed the force in separate telephone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

    Both men TOLD Prodi they appreciated that Italy was ready "to assume a role of primary importance" in the mission.

    Again, it's not semantically significant enough to warrant the use of the Present Perfect. [see the discussion below on this
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    1. In the news, the two Present Perfect actions -- Has Pledged and Has Increased -- have happened before Sunday's Simple Past actions, but why don't they reporters use Past Perfect? In grammars, we understand that those things finished before Simple Past should be in Past Perfect, don't we?

    Shun, you've either misunderstood the reasons for using the past perfect or your teachers have misled you. Certainly the latter is a strong possibility. As you can see from this and many other news articles, we don't automatically use the Past Perfect as you've described it.

    We sometimes use the past perfect WHEN IT IS NEEDED to mark one action as coming before another. Often, when the situation you mentioned comes about, other things in the sentence make it clear and the Past Perfect is not used. [There is another reason but let's leave it for now.]

    The present perfect is used, as I mentioned, to mark importance, to make a past action seem more current, more important.

    You've studied it / You studied it [notice that I have a choice here] as 'Kekka' [if I remember it correctly] which translates roughly as 'consequence' [correct me if I'm wrong].

    Now on this, I know that the teachers in Japan have taught this really poorly. None of the Japanese teachers I ever taught with, and there were many, had any idea how this aspect of the present perfect works.

    [Actually the teachers around the world are not really to blame for this as traditional/prescriptive grammar taught it, as they did many other things, REALLY badly. To see this one only has to take a gander at the old bible for American schools, Warrick or something like that]

    Every past action has a consequence, but not all of them have a SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH consequence for any given ENL to choose the present perfect. Also, what one person views as significant, another may not, or even when the past action is viewed as significant, the speaker wishes to downplay it.

    BUT, AND THIS IS CRUCIAL. Not every sentence uses the present perfect. Often we introduce, highlight, give importance to a story/newspaper article by using the Present Perfect to introduce and thereafter we switch to the simple past.

    This is why we almost always avoid using distinct past adverbs of time [eg. yesterday] with the Present Perfect. It's job is to add importance. We then use past adverbs of time with the simple past.

    BUT REMEMBER. Speaker/writer choice, along with semantic considerations, plays a vital role in whether the PP or the simple past is used.



    2. My [theme] mainquestion is, however, as in "In Rome, Prodi's office SAID he discussed....", when will the reporter use Simple Past SAID? Is it at once when he hears it? If so, it is ungrammatical. This also hardly explains why do reporters use Simple Present "says" sometimes.

    With, "Prodi's office SAID", we now have another issue of English that comes to bear, that of reported speech. Let's leave this can of worms for a later time.

    Or is it when the reporter is back in press room, pretending the saying is now over? If so, however, why is the news headline in Simple Present "wants"?

    Two questions here. For choosing simple past - "said" or past perfect FORM - "had said", it doesn't matter at all, not one little bit, how long after it is that the speaking occurred.

    We also use the "present simple for stories/news" to make things seem more alive, more important, more current.

    So, I walk into this bar and I see the most beautiful lady that I've ever seen. [here present perfect maybe for two reasons; experience - keiken & consequence/importance -kekka]

    So I says/say to her, would you like a drink and she says "All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die," ...

    Here's a song that shows how we often tell stories of finished actions but we use the simple present to make it seem more alive.



    "Sheryl Crow: All I Wanna Do"

    Hit it!
    This ain't no disco
    It ain't no country club either
    This is LA!

    "All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die,"
    Says the man next to me out of nowhere
    It's apropos
    Of nothing
    He says his name's William but I'm sure,
    He's Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy
    And he's plain ugly to me
    And I wonder if he's ever had a day of fun in his whole
    life
    We are drinking beer at noon on Tuesday
    In a bar that faces a giant car wash
    The good people of the world are washing their cars
    On their lunch break, hosing and scrubbing
    As best they can in skirts in suits

    They drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks
    Back to the phone company, the record store too
    Well, they're nothing like Billy and me, cause




    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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