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  1. #11
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: before and in front of

    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for analyzing my sentences.
    I think the second structure (I have a difficult time) refers to 'now'. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Originally, you wrote (with the corrections):
    I have had a difficult time and I'm still struggling with ''before'' and ''in front of'
    This is grammatically correct and appropriate. In fact, it beautifully expresses and conveys your perspective to the reader!

    This is also grammatically correct and appropriate
    I have a difficult time with ''before'' and ''in front of"
    (where you changed 'have had' to 'have' (and we omit 'and I'm still struggling with').

    Are you sure you understand why?

  2. #12
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    Default Re: before and in front of

    I have a difficult time with ''before'' and ''in front of"

    This is a fact, and in the Present tense.
    Reason tells me that this difficulty must have started -must have had a beginning - after you started to learn English...and even later than this: the first time you were told that "the car on the road before me is turning left' and you were told that was incorrect, and you were confused as to why. Similarly, you are making every effort to end this confusion.

    So - rationally, we could depict this as:

    <................................................. ......your life.............................................. .......................................>
    <.......................X.....|Y.................. ...............................Z|.......>
    X : you started learning English
    |Y: the start of your realizing you were confused
    Z|: the end, when you are quite clear about the difference
    <: the beginning of your life, the moment you were born
    >: goodbye Jiang!
    BUT - BUT - when a person speaks in the Present tense and gives a fact such as this, the whole idea of some beginning and end is irrelevant. It is seen as a constant part of their life, as if 'oh, it's always been like that and always will!
    We can depict this as:

    .................................................. .I have this difficulty....................................

    Note: no '<' or '>' marking a beginning and an end.
    Similarly:
    Water boils at 100 centigrade.
    The whole idea of when this first happened, or when it will end (no longer happen) seems ridiculous - it has always been that way, and always will.

    So - can you grasp that when I speak in the Present tense, my perspective is that it is part of my life NOW with no thought of, or reference implied in the verb form to a beginning and an end.
    ...and in posting "I have this difficulty with..." you are presenting this as a constant, annoying fact of your life and trying to learn English...and asking for help.
    (Continued next post - work in progress)
    Last edited by David L.; 07-Dec-2008 at 14:42.

  3. #13
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: before and in front of

    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your patience and explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    I have a difficult time with ''before'' and ''in front of"

    This is a fact, and in the Present tense.
    Reason tells me that this difficulty must have started -must have had a beginning - after you started to learn English...and even later than this: the first time you were told that "the car on the road before me is turning left' and you were told that was incorrect, and you were confused as to why. Similarly, you are making every effort to end this confusion.

    So - rationally, we could depict this as:

    <................................................. ......your life.............................................. .......................................>
    <.......................X.....|Y.................. ...............................Z|.......>
    X : you started learning English
    |Y: the start of your realizing you were confused
    Z|: the end, when you are quite clear about the difference
    <: the beginning of your life, the moment you were born
    >: goodbye Jiang!
    BUT - BUT - when a person speaks in the Present tense and gives a fact such as this, the whole idea of some beginning and end is irrelevant. It is seen as a constant part of their life, as if 'oh, it's always been like that and always will!
    We can depict this as:

    .................................................. .I have this difficulty....................................

    Note: no '<' or '>' marking a beginning and an end.
    Similarly:
    Water boils at 100 centigrade.
    The whole idea of when this first happened, or when it will end (no longer happen) seems ridiculous - it has always been that way, and always will.

    So - can you grasp that when I speak in the Present tense, my perspective is that it is part of my life NOW with no thought of, or reference implied in the verb form to a beginning and an end.
    ...and in posting "I have this difficulty with..." you are presenting this as a constant, annoying fact of your life and trying to learn English...and asking for help.
    (Continued next post - work in progress)

  4. #14
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    Default Re: before and in front of

    Your original choice of tenses was:

    I have had a difficulty time and I'm still struggling to understand..."

    The first clause is in the Present Perfect tense. The perspective here is looking back from NOW, as you speak, to some distant unspecified beginning point of this difficulty in the past. We can depict this as:

    <.........................................your life.............................................. .....>

    <..................X...........................>NO W|

    where X is some unspecified point in the past when you first became aware of the difficulty.
    (You could specify this point vaguely or precisely, as, "I have had this difficult.... since high school/since 5.23 p.m. Tuesday 8th October 1995.)
    We cannot specify a beginning point with a Present tense form. I cannot say, "I have this difficult since high school"

    You continue with your next clause in the Present Continuous form. In contrast to Present tense, the perspective is of a definite beginning, and that we foresee an end to the event/action. That is, while Present tense has no boundary, Present Continuous tense places the action within boundaries.
    Compare: "It rains a lot in Scotland" and "It is raining." The latter sentence implies that the sun went, it became overcast, and then the rain started prior to NOW, and that I expect it to end and the sun to come out again.

    So - the Present Perfect clause has brought the history of the difficulty up to NOW, and NOW marks the beginning of 'still struggling'...and with the help you hope to receive from all the posts you get to your thread, you anticipate an end to all your confusion!
    The sum total of your sentence is to convey to the reader how much difficulty you have had up to NOW, and that despite all your efforts, you are still struggling to understand the difference. So - grammatically correct, clearly expressed, and eloquent.
    Last edited by David L.; 07-Dec-2008 at 15:18.

  5. #15
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: before and in front of


    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your explanation and patience. Now I see. And I am happy it is a very good sentence.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Your original choice of tenses was:

    I have had a difficulty time and I'm still struggling to understand..."

    The first clause is in the Present Perfect tense. The perspective here is looking back from NOW, as you speak, to some distant unspecified beginning point of this difficulty in the past. We can depict this as:

    <.........................................your life.............................................. .....>

    <..................X...........................>NO W|

    where X is some unspecified point in the past when you first became aware of the difficulty.
    (You could specify this point vaguely or precisely, as, "I have had this difficult.... since high school/since 5.23 p.m. Tuesday 8th October 1995.)
    We cannot specify a beginning point with a Present tense form. I cannot say, "I have this difficult since high school"

    You continue with your next clause in the Present Continuous form. In contrast to Present tense, the perspective is of a definite beginning, and that we foresee an end to the event/action. That is, while Present tense has no boundary, Present Continuous tense places the action within boundaries.
    Compare: "It rains a lot in Scotland" and "It is raining." The latter sentence implies that the sun went, it became overcast, and then the rain started prior to NOW, and that I expect it to end and the sun to come out again.

    So - the Present Perfect clause has brought the history of the difficulty up to NOW, and NOW marks the beginning of 'still struggling'...and with the help you hope to receive from all the posts you get to your thread, you anticipate an end to all your confusion!
    The sum total of your sentence is to convey to the reader how much difficulty you have had up to NOW, and that despite all your efforts, you are still struggling to understand the difference. So - grammatically correct, clearly expressed, and eloquent.

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