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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    The present perfect always has a relation to the present time, so a single sentence without further information is 'decontextualised'.
    Then every tense is decontextualised as it must have a relation to the present time. By the time we use a tense, it must have a relation to the present time. It goes without saying.

    It follows that every tense is plugged in the present. The twin towers collapsed in 911 is a past for example, but as we mention it now, it is plugged in to the present. Those who claim the case, in Simple Past, has no relation to the present must be out of his mind. By the way, I am sure that Simple Past "I ate dinner" can answer 'Are you hungry'.

    Then the three tenses are all plugged in the present, as all are used by the present time:
    I eat dinner.
    I have eaten dinner.
    I ate dinner.

    As you said, they all are decontextualised, so it is puzzling why we can use every tense to refer to the present. :(

  2. #12
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    If something is plugged in, it has a direct connection. The past has a relation of contrast woith the present, but the relation is broken by the use of the tense. The present perfect bridges past and present.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    If something is plugged in, it has a direct connection. The past has a relation of contrast woith the present, but the relation is broken by the use of the tense. The present perfect bridges past and present.
    Do you mean I have eaten dinner means I am still eating now? Or what? Try to tell me and let me check Simple Past I ate dinner.

    On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.

    What a confusion and hardship in the basic part of English!!

  4. #14
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    • Tdol: Ron, are you hungry?
      Ron: No, I ate dinner just an hour ago.


    :)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    • Tdol: Ron, are you hungry?
      Ron: No, I ate dinner just an hour ago.


    :)
    What does this commonest dialogue tell use? :P

  6. #16
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    It tells us that we use the past with 'ago'.

  7. #17
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    Do you mean I have eaten dinner means I am still eating now? Or what? Try to tell me and let me check Simple Past I ate dinner.

    If I say I have eaten dinner, I am describing a past action that I see as having current significance. I am not eating dinner, but I am probably digesting it.

    On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.

    The simple present can be seen as existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    If I say I have eaten dinner, I am describing a past action that I see as having current significance. I am not eating dinner, but I am probably digesting it.
    I find it often that when you explain one tense, you seldom do comparison with others, while it is my intention to compare them. You usually wait for me to do the job. If you do some comparison, you will not say such thing as above. What is then about Simple Past? Are you sure that if yesterday there was a great earthquake in our place that claimed many lives, because of Simple Past, it is of no current significance? It is absurd that we use a tense to denote it is of no current significance at the present?
    If it is not significance to the present, why do I say it at all?
    If it is not significance to the present, I don't care about what has been said?

    I guess you want to say Simple Past expresses of course current significance, but much more than Present Perfect. But why didn't you speak up? If people do comparison themselves, they will not talk about current significance or current relevancy.
    ----------------------

    I realized a case of habit:
    Quote Originally Posted by Shun
    On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.
    And you took it as the usual way of all Simple Present cases:
    Quote Originally Posted by You
    The simple present can be seen as existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future.
    It is simply not true. You know of the manner of a dinner, so you describe about it and take it as the function of Simple Past. That is, you have over-generalized a case of Simple Present. However, what about the usual Simple-Present uses being always seen in newspapers:

    Ex1: Recent polls show Bush’s standing with the public has weakened as Americans.....
    Ex2: Several groups, including the National Abortion Federation and the Center for Reproductive Rights, plan to challenge the measure in court as soon as it is signed into law.
    Ex3: The reality remains that Tung [Hong Kong Governor] will be at the helm until and unless Beijing leaders think otherwise.
    Ex4: The 30 new candidates come from around the world, from Australia to Zagreb, Vietnam to Venice, and on the whole follow John Paul’s conservative bent.
    Ex5: Seventy percent of Americans support a ban on partial-birth abortion.
    Ex6: Italy’s U.N. Ambassador Marcello Spatafora, whose country holds the EU presidency, moved between the two groups, sometimes with the British or French ambassadors alongside......


    They happen today, the day the news printed. How can anyone ever regard them as, in your words, "existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future"? Not everything in Simple Present is dinner, and this is a big problem to your explanation.

    Why can we say the three tenses at the present is a mystery:
    I ate dinner.
    I have eaten dinner.
    I eat dinner.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It tells us that we use the past with 'ago'.
    What then is the difference between the use of the three tenses?

  10. #20
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    I eat dinner at eight- statement of fact, implying that this is my normal time for dinner.

    I ate dinner at eight- statemnt about dinner on an occasion in the past. This does not implyu that this is my usual time.

    I have eaten dinner- a recent past action

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