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  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Smile What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    I was reading an article from the Eveing Standard last night. Then there came this paragraph:


    Not all 21 were able to give comparable figures for 12 months ago but in the 14 boroughs that were, the number of appeals lodged went up from 1,688 to 1,965, a 16 per cent increase. While some boroughs had received fewer appeal requests compared with last year, others had seen numbers rocket. Hackney, for example, has seen its total jump from 454 to 572, partly reflecting the popularity of Mossbourne Community Academy, which has been rated "outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted.
    16 per cent rise in appeals by parents against school places | News

    According to what I've been taught, time is uppermost important and native speakers have developed various patterns, that is the like of Simple Past plus Past Perfect, Simple Past plus Present perfect, and so forth.

    This is the first time I've been through such a writing, where Simple past, Past Perfect and Present Perfect are together used to describe a single subject. Certain confusions have arisen from the text, such as why the Present Perfect is used for Hackney borough but the Past Perfect plays a role where no specific borough is mentioned, despite of the fact that they all refer to the result of the same survey.

    Since the various paterns have been developed as a result of the complexity of time relationship in reality, I took the view that an even more complicated relationship of time had been described here. Then here is what I've got. Firstly, the usage of Simple Past in the first setence indicates a mere fact that the survey was conducted and finished at some point in the past, with no intention of a present relevancy. Then for the second setence, the author was aiming at delivering the impression the said boroughs' receiving these appeals occured at a point earlier before the survey was made, or no statistics was able to be given. The third setence causes the most confution. I suppose the reason the writer adopted the tense of Present Perfect was to make basically to implications: the survey probably came to an end shortly before the execution of this article and Hackney was the last borough to deliver its statistics, giving a sense that the number mentioned in the sentence is still fresh, according to the present relevance rule.

    So, what would a native speaker think when reading a paragraph like this?
    Please do help me.
    Many thanks.

    Richard

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    To be honest we don't worry about it. We know the background to the story, and read into the paragraph the time frame concerned. Most people will be more concerned about the council failings shown by these stories.

  3. #3
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    That's a good point, mate. Thanks a lot for replying.

    My problem is that I don't have much problem in understanding a report like this. However, the choice of different tenses remains a massive obstable for me when writing things.

    If I was the writer,the paragraph would be something like the following:

    Not all 21 were able to give comparable figures for 12 months ago but in the 14 boroughs that were, the number of appeals lodged has gone up from 1,688 to 1,965, a 16 per cent increase. While some bo-roughs received fewer appeal requests compared with last year, others saw numbers rocket. Hackney, for example, has seen its total jump from 454 to 572, partly reflecting the popularity of Mossbourne Community Academy, which has been rated "outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted.
    I suppose there has to be a difference in meaning,subtle or obvious, which I am not able to notice.

    I used the Simple Past because I thought whether a borough was able to give such figures only concerned people before they actually started doing the caculation, which coule be seen as two seperate stages necessary for the whole work. Then any borough's offering dates was finished in the past and in this sense irrelevant to the present. After this, due to the fact that whether certain boroughs saw a rise of sppeals or not was also in a broad sense something finished in the past and irrelevant to the present.

    Honestly, I have no faith in what I've just said. All that is frequently mentioned is that it is when something happened in the past has a present influence, people are in favour of Present Perfect over Simple Past. At the current stage, it seems for me everything in the history is somewhat influencing the present world.

    After all I think I should look to the power of native speakers that are the owners of the holy grail of mastering the choice of tenses.

    Please, do help me with this.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    I agree with you that the tenses are not very well chosen in the paragraph.

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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    Thanks for replying, konungursvia.

    Can I further take it as writers do have different views in terms of time relationship when they report on the very same event. And as long as the core information is delivered, people would usually be tolerant of such diversity.

    I know this may sound to over. I am so curious what tenses you, as native speakers, would choose when writing the same paragraph and why is so.



    Btw, you've chosen a nice picture, konungursvia. Is that a portrait of a Japanese daimio in the 16th century. I used to play Nobunaga's Ambition Ⅵ, a Koei video game, a lot when I was still in high school ten years ago. General Oda Nobunaga is a briliant leader but sadly died in an early age.

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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    cubezero3: anyone struggling with a real desire to understand the tense forms of verbs stirs my heart...and excites my juices!

    Would you like to go over the passage, and we tease out why certain forms are used, and whether they are correct or not?

    I don't want to embark on a long explanation unless...

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    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    It's Toshiro Mifune, as Musashi Miyamoto, or perhaps as Lord Toranaga. And Thanks! BTW, I think the tense weaknesses are probably the result of edits, rather than intended distinctions in time.

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    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    cubezero3: anyone struggling with a real desire to understand the tense forms of verbs stirs my heart...and excites my juices!

    Would you like to go over the passage, and we tease out why certain forms are used, and whether they are correct or not?

    I don't want to embark on a long explanation unless...
    That sounds absolutely cool. Thank you very much, David, if I may call you so.

    I fully understand the feeling of yours reading the last sentence. I have been through many people who can talk the talk then fail to walk the walk. I would rewrite the passage and post it here along with the reason for my choice of tenses. Any form of correction or advice will be sincerely appreciated.

    Just one thing. I usually have more work to do at the weekend and will probably be able to post it next monday. Captain, I will catch up.

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    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    It's Toshiro Mifune, as Musashi Miyamoto, or perhaps as Lord Toranaga. And Thanks! BTW, I think the tense weaknesses are probably the result of edits, rather than intended distinctions in time.
    Great! Two days have been spent in order to work out the subtle meanings behind this, if there's any, and I've made any progress. Your opinion is really a massive relief for me.

    Toshiro Mifune was born in my country. What a coincidence. Of actors of his generation, I like Ken Takakura so much. He's like a silent version of Rocky Balboa.

    Btw, I am a newbie here and don't know the rules very much. Can we talk this here?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What does the auther express when using Past & Present Perfect in this paragraph

    Hello, everyone.

    A busy weekend has just passed and I once again am able to focus on my study. Really looking forward to any suggestion from you masters.

    Here's my homework. I will highlight the parts which I want to change and put down the reasons for the change. And due to regulations on this forum I would only quote necessary bits from that report.


    The rise comes after ministers urged families to appeal if they were rejected by their preferred choices, amid government claims that faith schools were breaking the admissions rules by giving priority to affluent applicants.
    comes ----> came
    The change in the numbers of appeals obviously happened before the present time. And the time for the action is implied in the text, which is between the time when ministers manifested on the issue and the time when the report was written. The present tenses are not propriate here.

    ueged ----> had urged
    There's an obvious time relationship where ministers' manifestation has to happen prior to the said change.

    were ----> had been
    Like what's mentioned above, faith schools' taking admissions rules in their own hands contributed to the rise of the appeals.

    Then here it is:

    The rise came after ministers had urged families to appeal if they had been rejected by their preferred choices, amid government claims that faith schools were breaking the admissions rules by giving priority to affluent applicants.
    The Standard asked London's 32 local authorities how many appeals had been lodged since offers were sent out to parents in the first week of last month. In the 21 boroughs that provided figures, a total of 3,331 appeals have been lodged since then.
    asked ----> has asked
    This action occured in the past. But the time for it is not definite.

    were ----> had been
    I don't know if people would give up the use of the past perfect where the time for the action is know. as people do for the present perfect. However, it's clear here that the Standard's servey came at a later time.

    provided ----> has provided
    Again, a past action happened at an indefinite time.

    Then here it is:

    The Standard has asked London's 32 local authorities how many appeals had been lodged since offers had been sent out to parents in the first week of last month. In the 21 boroughs that has provided figures, a total of 3,331 appeals have been lodged since then.
    Not all 21 were able to give comparable figures for 12 months ago but in the 14 boroughs that were, the number of appeals lodged went up from 1,688 to 1,965, a 16 per cent increase. While some boroughs had received fewer appeal requests compared with last year, others had seen numbers rocket.
    went ----> has been
    When reading "Not all 21 were able to ...", we know that the author was referring to that very day he or she contacted the boroughs. However, we are not informed what period of time the author indicated when he or she made the comparision. Actually, we only know it may be the same span of time in 2007 and 2008, which starts from the first week of March and ends at an uncertain point. In other words, once again there is a case of past action happened at an uncertain time.

    had received ----> have received had seen ----> have seen
    I doubt if the writer was trying to show these two actions came about before another specific action. I therefore suppose the present perfect would be better here.

    Then here it is:

    Not all 21 were able to give comparable figures for 12 months ago but in the 14 boroughs that were, the number of appeals lodged has been up from 1,688 to 1,965, a 16 per cent increase. While some boroughs have received fewer appeal requests compared with last year, others have seen numbers rocket.
    Westminster received no appeals while Sutton has received treble the number of appeals compared with last year.
    received ----> has received
    Can a writer use two different tenses to describe the same sort of past events? I have to say that I am well confused. If that's appropriate, then what's the point of studying the difference of the simple past and the present perfect? There may well be something beyong my knowledge. But, if I have to choose one specific tense here, it would be the later because no certain time expression has been given.

    Then here it is:

    Westminster has received no appeals while Sutton has received treble the number of appeals compared with last year.
    That's all the changes which I believe should be made to the passage. I have no faith in my understanding of the usage of the tenses, but absolute confidence that there gotta to many mistakes in what I have put donw above.

    Masters of English language. Please do help me with it.

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