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    #21

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    We can use past tense FORM to be more polite, more deferential.
    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    "Did you want something to eat?"
    By using 'did' instead of 'do', it's a softer question but the reference isn't past time. It's asking now about a near future.
    My reply: Politeness!! I want to say how excellent a reason it is. But I don't want to create confusion now. It is a very bad explanation. Politeness is a kind of Meaning. As I have repeatedly pointed out, you can never use Meaning to explain tense.

    Are you aware how frequently we use "Do you want something to eat?", rather than "Did you want something to eat?"? So, according to your reasoning, may I presume, using Simple Present "Do you want something to eat?" will be less polite? Then why do we usually want to be impolite?

    Look at the Time:
    Will you ask the so-called 'softer' question that violates the time: "Did you eat something?", instead of "Did you want something to eat?"
    Can't you see the time implications of the two statements are different? It is about Time, rather than Politeness.

    Using Time, I have explained for so many times examples like these:
    Ex: Did you want something to eat?
    Ex: I was going to buy some beef for dinner.
    Ex: Where did you want to travel, sir?

    But to you, they are the whales. "The very great danger in someone studying whales is that they are never sure if the behavior they are describing is truly whale-like until they ask the whales."

    -----------------
    By the way, it seems that you have missed the following point of using Past Perfect. Allow me to recap the time flow:

    I talked about Past Perfect: "In the news, it is when we needed to use Past Perfect now, which indicates things happened before a past case."

    You replied: "You will have to provide examples, Shun. In the one example that you gave before, Past Perfect would have been grammatically inappropriate."

    Then I reminded you of the example. But it seemed you have missed it, so I want to ask again. In the news I have quoted (and posted on the previous page), why are there Past Perfect used, as in the following?
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

    ------------------
    Of course, there is also another important point you have missed.

    I am afraid you have to quote some examples or explanations of the Past Family, like "in the past three years", to prove your point:
    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    Yes, there are even some grammars that have screwed this up. But any decent descriptive grammar points up these prescriptive mistakes and rectifies them. Both the CGEL and Michael Swan's book do this.

    What are the rectifications? Don't you think you need some examples and explanations to illustrate this?

    As you talked about mistakes and their rectifications, you can't argue you don't know what I am talking about, can you?


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    #22

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post

    Are you aware how frequently we use "Do you want something to eat?", rather than "Did you want something to eat?"?

    Actually, , Shun?
    Results 1 - 10 of about 4,560 English pages for "Did you want something to eat?".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 952 English pages for "Do you want something to eat?".

    But actually, frequency has nothing at all to do with the fact that we DO USE the past tense FORM to be more deferential.



    So, according to your reasoning, may I presume, using Simple Present "Do you want something to eat?" will be less polite? Then why do we usually want to be impolite?



    "less polite" and "impolite" are completely different things, Shun. Just as in Japanese, casual speech does not always require the more formal 'masu' ending.

    Both 'may' and 'could' are more polite than 'can' for permission yet 'can' is used more in speech than both of them; "may is especially rare in the sense of permission". [LGSWE - pg 493]

    When we use less polite collocations, no one thinks that they are impolite. That is just nonsensical.

    Here's another example.

    "I was wondering if you could just drop me off over there."

    The 'wondering' is not a finished event; 'was', a past tense FORM is used to make a more deferential request, a more polite request. It has nothing at all to do with time.

    And another; we use a backshift to past tense FORM to mark reported or indirect speech.

    A: I want to go for sushi.

    B: What did he say?

    C: He said that he wantED to go for sushi.

    Here again the past tense FORM 'wanted' has nothing to do with tense/time. "wanting to go for sushi" is a yet to be, future event. But again, we make use of a past tense FORM to mark this for something other than past tense.


    Look at the Time:
    Will you ask the so-called 'softer' question that violates the time: "Did you eat something?", instead of "Did you want something to eat?"
    Can't you see the time implications of the two statements are different? It is about Time, rather than Politeness.

    I don't have the faintest idea what you're trying to say here, Shun.



    -----------------
    By the way, it seems that you have missed the following point of using Past Perfect. Allow me to recap the time flow:

    Please start a new posting for this issue.
    #
    Last edited by riverkid; 29-Aug-2006 at 20:03.


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    #23

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    Here's another example.
    "I was wondering if you could just drop me off over there."
    The 'wondering' is not a finished event; 'was', a past tnese FORM is used to make a more deferential request, a more polite request. It has nothing at all to do with time.
    My reply: I am afraid you have totally lost the idea why you brought up the idea of discussing the pattern of "Did you want something to eat?"

    What is the pattern of these examples as in the following?
    Ex: "Did you want to eat something?"
    Ex: "I was wondering if you could just drop me off over there."
    Ex: "Where did you want to travel?"
    Ex: "I were phoning to ask..."

    See also the following point:

    I compared "Did you eat something?" with "Did you want something to eat?". You wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    I don't have the faintest idea what you're trying to say here, Shun.
    My reply: Now I do believe that you don't have any idea why you have bought up and discuss "Did you want something to eat?"

    You came to the food shop, and the shopkeeper asked "Did you want something to eat?" You didn't eat anything yet, but he already used Simple Past to ask, so some people find it is hard to explain. Therefore, they use 'politeness' to explain that.

    So I have pointed out, if in the same situation, will the shopkeeper use Simple Past "Did you eat something?" to ask you? No, because it is not past.

    Or why did you bring up "Did you want something to eat?" at all? I am afraid you have not the faintest idea.
    Did you just want to claim Simple Past is more polite than Simple Present? Or what?

    ---------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    Please start a new posting for this issue.
    My reply: This present thread discusses the use of tenses in news. I have also posted the news example in this thread, so I think it is a proper place to discuss the tenses in it here. You may have skipped it, but it is more proper for you to start a new thread for discussing "Did you want something to eat?"

    Here I go back to the tense of the news and remind you of the time flow:

    You replied: <<You will have to provide examples, Shun. In the one example that you gave before, Past Perfect would have been grammatically inappropriate.>>

    Then I reminded you that in the one example of news, there are also Past Perfect, which you incorrectly judged as inappropriate.

    In the news, Past Perfect is used side by side with Present Perfect, as mystical as SAYS is used in some other news side by side with SAID. You can explain none of the two pairs.

    Here are the Past Perfect examples that you have missed and asked me to provide:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    == What is the difference between Present Perfect and Past Perfect?

    Will you still insist "In the one example that you gave before, Past Perfect would have been grammatically inappropriate"?


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    #24

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post
    [FONT=Verdana]

    My reply: I am afraid you have totally lost the idea why you brought up the idea of discussing the pattern of "Did you want something to eat?"

    What is the pattern of these examples as in the following?
    Ex: "Did you want to eat something?"
    Ex: "I was wondering if you could just drop me off over there."
    Ex: "Where did you want to travel?"
    Ex: "I were phoning to ask..."

    In all of these sentences, [except for the last one, which isn't grammatical English], which are happening at the present time, we see the highly common use of past tense FORMS to show greater deference/more politeness.


    You came to the food shop, and the shopkeeper asked "Did you want something to eat?" You didn't eat anything yet, but he already used Simple Past to ask, so some people find it is hard to explain. Therefore, they use 'politeness' to explain that.

    So I have pointed out, if in the same situation, will the shopkeeper use Simple Past "Did you eat something?" to ask you? No, because it is not past.

    You obviously don't have the necessary grasp of English to discuss this because this deferential use of past tense to discuss a present wish would almost certainly never occur between a shopkeeper and a customer.

    Here are some examples where this type of interavtion would occur:

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    http://www.firthessence.net/EssenceR.../Essence8.html

    What was I supposed to do? "Are you being all moral and noble on me?" He just smiled and headed for the room. I followed and we held each other for awhile is all I remember before sleep came.

    I was roused from sleep by a gentle shaking of my shoulder.

    "What time is it?" I looked up.

    "It's two. Did you want something to eat? I've some things in the kitchen."

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

    http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/libr/a...eeds1.htm.html

    Seeming to relax just a bit, she nodded mutely and then moved to sit down, but perched herself on the edge of the couch, not leaning back into it. Large brown eyes watched him as he moved back to his desk, closed her folder, and then rolled his chair out so he would talk directly to her, and not sit behind the desk like an imposing authority figure.

    Did you want something to eat?” He motioned to the food with a slight chuckle. “I find my appetite for fast food waning these days, I’m afraid it may go to waste if you don’t take it.”

    “I’m fine, really.”

    He sighed inwardly, knowing this was not going to be easy. “I’m told you have nightmares of boogeymen? Monsters in your room?”

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


    #
    Last edited by riverkid; 17-Sep-2006 at 03:30.


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    #25

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post
    Here are the Past Perfect examples that you have missed and asked me to provide:

    1. 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.

    The first part is a direct quotation [I think, as you only have one set of quotation marks]; TOLD is a common reported speech usage. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

    The part with 'had asked' is reported speech and as newspapers are wont to do, a backshift to the past perfect is used to mark reported speech.


    2. 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.
    == What is the difference between Present Perfect and Past Perfect?


    "France has pledged" is what has been done "up to now". Simple past tense could be used but using the present perfect shows a past action that has importance now, a past action that has current relevance. Newspapers often make use of this.

    "Washington & the UN had hoped ...". Here the present perfect can't be used because the hoping is finished; France put the kaibosh on the US & UN hopes. Here the past perfect points to the situation that was in place before France decided to send only 200 troops.




    Will you still insist "In the one example that you gave before, Past Perfect would have been grammatically inappropriate"?
    [/FONT]

    I can't comment on that because I don't have the one example before me, Shun and I sure as hell don't remember that example.
    #


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    #26

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    Simple past tense could be used but using the present perfect shows a past action that has importance now, a past action that has current relevance.
    My reply: I have talked about this disappointing chant here very often.

    Even a young would-be teacher can notice that everything you say now is of importance. But you are not aware of it.

    Can I listen only to you Present Perfect structures because they are important and have current relevance, but not those in Simple Past because they are not important and have no current relevance? It doesn't make any sense. Everything you said, in whatever tense, has importance now.

    A big storm yesterday, being expressed in Simple Past, had no current relevance, but a small storm in the past, expressed in Present Perfect, has current relevance. Is it your logic?

    -----------------
    Most important, as you can utter "current relevance", can you define "the present time" at all?

    Or do your logic and explanation depend on what you don't know how to define?


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    #27

    Re: A strange use of tense

    Quote Originally Posted by shun View Post

    A big storm yesterday, being expressed in Simple Past, had no current relevance, but a small storm in the past, expressed in Present Perfect, has current relevance. Is it your logic?

    I can't say for every situation because this usage, Shun, like most language uses is user dependent. It may well be that a small storm has much much more current relevance to someone than a huge storm which kills hundreds.

    You're confusing human emotions with how language works.


    -----------------
    Most important, as you can utter "current relevance", can you define "the present time" at all?

    Sure, I can but the meaning of 'the present time' is not the same for all situations. At the present time, I'm typing a reply to you. At the present time, I'm sitting.
    #

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