Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 468
    #1

    American English Grammar

    Dear teachers,

    I would like to know:

    (1) under what circumstances that the past tense should be used instead of the present perfect, apart from "already, just and yet". Is it under all circumstances that the present perfect can be replaced by the past tense in US English? and

    (2)as a UK grammar learner, how to ensure my class assignments are acceptable to US teachers in terms of grammar and vocabularly. Is there any convenient ways/tools on the internet that I can use on that? Thanks for helping.

    (Both UK and US teachers are welcome for suggestions.)
    Last edited by Deepurple; 25-May-2010 at 16:06.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,845
    #2

    Re: American English Grammar

    There are lists of vocab and the more obvious differences, but US teachers should not have a problem if you use BrE- educations pretty international and different variants are learnt and used all over the place. There will be things like our tendency to use the plural for collective nouns and constructions like need + ing that they may not be familiar with.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #3

    Re: American English Grammar

    Where, oh WHERE does this idea that Americans don't use the present perfect come from, and why does it continue?

    I have found [look! I used it!] that there is a difference with "just" -- "I just used the present perfect" sounds fine to me, but my UK cousins would use have used there, I believe -- but otherwise, we're very, very similar.

    When the situation relates to the present, use the present perfect. When the situation relates to a specific time reference in the past, use the simple past.

    Before I started coming to ESL forums, there were things I would have thought to be wrong, like "at the weekend" on "in the street" (when we would use "on" the street), but there are very few things most Americans wouldn't simply recognize as being British English, instead of "wrong."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2010
    • Posts: 577
    #4

    Re: American English Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    instead of "wrong." GBEng: instead of "wrong".
    Bertie

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,332
    #5

    Re: American English Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I would like to know:

    (1) under what circumstances that the past tense should be used instead of the present perfect, apart from "already, just and yet". Is it under all circumstances that the present perfect can be replaced with the past tense in US English? and

    (2)as a UK grammar learner, how to ensure my class assignments are acceptable to US teachers in terms of grammar and vocabularly. Is there any convenient ways/tools on the internet that I can use on that? Thanks for helping.

    (Both UK and US teachers are welcome for suggestions.)
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Deepurple.

    (1) Yes, I think it is true that Americans often use the past when the

    books call for the present perfect.

    (a) I guess the "classic" case is when you ask someone about a movie

    that s/he has just seen:

    (i) My guess (only a guess, of course) is that many (most?) Americans

    would say:

    Man! Wow! That was the best movie I ever saw in my life.

    (a) Maybe some grammarians with deep insight might say that using the

    past is justified in some sense.

    (i) Is it "stronger" to say "saw" than a "weaker" and "more tentative"

    "have seen"? I have no idea. Just asking.

    (2) As the other posters HAVE SAID (said?), the differences don't seem

    that shocking except for the occasional preposition.

    (i) I was taken aback the first time I read "the first time FOR five years" in

    a British publication.

    (ii) And occasionally the vocabulary (not only the spelling) is quite

    "charming." Just today I had to run to my dictionary to look up

    "dogsbody." I guess it is something like our "gofer."

    (3) Finally, I just read that a popular American TV show may be

    looking for a British host because, it is said, Americans just love

    the British accent!

    Have a nice day!

    *****

    P . S. Of course, sometimes the differences CAN be important. I hear that

    "to table a motion " in Parliament/Congress has opposite meanings.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #6

    Re: American English Grammar

    Do you really think so? I would certainly say it was the best movie I have ever seen. As would my parents, siblings, children, in-laws, coworkers, etc.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2010
    • Posts: 577
    #7

    Re: American English Grammar

    Why not google (US pages only) 'the best movie I ever saw' v 'the best movie I've ever seen'? Could it be that, grammatically, English in Pennsylvania is more like GBEng? Don't know, but 'the best movie I ever saw!" - I picture a drawling southerner more readily than I do someone from the old colonies. Or indeed from an Ivy League university - could it be a marker of class?

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #8

    Re: American English Grammar

    I only live here now. I grew up in New York, lived in New England for 15 years, the rest of my family is from California, and my in-laws are from Michigan.

    On the other hand, at the local mall, I'm sure I can hear "I seen it!" as well, so what can you say.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2010
    • Posts: 577
    #9

    Re: American English Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I only live here now. I grew up in New York, lived in New England for 15 years, the rest of my family is from California, and my in-laws are from Michigan.

    On the other hand, at the local mall, I'm sure I can hear "I seen it!" as well, so what can you say.
    Ah, 15 years in New England - there you go! They talk properly up there, don't they?

  4. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #10

    Re: American English Grammar

    **Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.**

    I often watch American TV shows, and yes, I heard things like "This is the best movie I ever saw".
    It's strange and I cannot understand it either.

    A little and healthy girl can never say: "This is the best movie I ever saw."
    Tomorrow she could see an even better movie.
    (At least in that scene it made no sense to use Simple Past.)

    I doubt it's an American English issue, though.
    Maybe I will watch some British TV shows to compare the grammar.

    Cheers!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Learn Some Confusing English Grammar
    By python69 in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Jul-2009, 00:13
  2. English Grammar Book and help for reading comprehension.
    By kiranlegend in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Apr-2009, 04:02
  3. Is there a grammar of spoken English?
    By M56 in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 09-Feb-2009, 01:58
  4. [Grammar] english basic grammar
    By louielee in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-Nov-2008, 19:35
  5. universal english?
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 28-Apr-2005, 05:51

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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