Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 15 of 15
  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Excellent topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    One is aspectual yes. However, by asking this question and answering this question we find out whether or not someone ate or did not eat. I have eaten, yes. I ate, yes. In this context both are completed actions.
    So really the same in the sense that both produce the expected response (i.e., If one ate/has eaten or not), right? OK. I get it. :D Thanks. 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    The "up until now" meaning of the present perfect is rather insignificant in this particular context - in this particular case.
    What if, 'up until now' has nothing to do really with why speakers choose "Have you eaten? over "Did you eat?"? In comparison with how aspect works in other languages, including English, we find that speaker choice has more to do with culture, specifically, and in the case at hand, how we perceive the person to whom we're asking the question:

    Son: Have you eaten?
    Grandmother: Yes, I have.

    In various cultures throughout the world, asking someone higher in status than yourself a direct question, especially if it's personal information--which in the history of the English language could refer to anything to do with one's daily habits (i.e., eating, and whathaveyou)--can be considered rather forward. By using "Have you eaten?", an aspect that doesn't relate to specific time, one allows the other party to decide if s/he wants her/his personal business known or unknown, for example,

    Tense:
    I ate expresses a known time, one privy to both speakers.

    Aspect:
    I have eaten expresses an unknown time, one privy only to the other party.

    Now that's not to say every native English speaker today uses "Have you eaten?" as a polite form of questioning, but the majority of speakers do in fact use it in a way that's related to its history: when they want to side-step the When? and focus on the Event itself. Using "Have you eaten or not?" is for some speakers a semantic short-hand for "No specifics, please (i.e., the implied time or day). No added details, please. Just the facts, please." :D

    Even though some speakers say it doesn't matter which one you use because you'll still get the desired result,

    Have you eaten? (Time is not implied; Event is in focus)
    Did you eat? (Time is implied, but not stated; Event is in focus)

    "Have you Eaten?" and "Did you eat?" are similar in that they gain the desired response, but they are different in the asking: speakers choose "Have...eaten? over "Did...eat?" because (a) it's ingrained in the culture as a polite form of questioning and/or (b) it's a speedy way of focusing on the Event, the gist, the facts and nothing but. With "Did you eat?" specific Time is implied, which, in comparison with "Have you eaten?", is too much information.

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    To me, that it is aspectual, I believe is, irrelavant. The same information is communicated. The practical meaning is the same - in this case.
    Do you still believe that, now?

    Personally, I try not to analyze too much when it comes to grammar. I simply prefer to understand and be able to explain it.
    I understand what you mean. :D 8)

    Excellent topic!

    All the best, :D

  2. #12
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    834
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Hi Casio,

    I understand, yes, how the present perfect can sound more formal. I see what you mean. I simply was not taking that into account.

    I see what you mean by comparing the simple past with the present perfect in the way that you did.

    However, the idea just didn't occur to me. I can, however, easily take note that the present perfect would be used in circumstances which might be considered more formal as you have shown. However, I wouldn't think that it has to be that way all the time.

    I personally don't know why I would want to be careful about how I ask someone about "eating lunch".

    Have you eaten? - Yes, less direct. I see what you mean.

    Did you eat? - Yes, more direct. I see what you mean.

    I'm not so sure that many speakers would make a decision to use one or the other based on any sort of social deference, however.

    Know what I mean?


  3. #13
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    834
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I'm not so sure that many speakers would make a decision to use one or the other based on any sort of social deference, however. <<

    Some would, perhaps. It would depend.

    Yes, perhaps.

    I don't think about it to much though.

    I'm not the socially deferential type.

    Perhaps I could be, but not typically. It would depend.

    :egalitarian:

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I personally don't know why I would want to be careful about how I ask someone about "eating lunch".
    Hehe

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I'm not so sure that many speakers would make a decision to use one or the other based on any sort of social deference, however. Know what I mean?
    Yes , and, I'm not as sure about the many. :D

  5. #15
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    834
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I personally don't know why I would want to be careful about how I ask someone about "eating lunch".
    Hehe

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I'm not so sure that many speakers would make a decision to use one or the other based on any sort of social deference, however. Know what I mean?
    Yes , and, I'm not as sure about the many. :D
    :D 8)

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family
    By shun in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 143
    Last Post: 09-Nov-2003, 00:56

Posting Permissions

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