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  1. reddogrog's Avatar
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    #1

    two learning ESL teachers working out the problem:has always been vs has been always

    I could use some help in a grammar discussion between a fellow English teacher.

    The sentence in question is:

    Football has always been the biggest thing in David Beckham's life.

    vs

    Football has been always the biggest thing in David Beckham's life.

    My thought is that the 1st sentence is correct but then how do I go about justifying my reason.

    always is modifying been. Been is acting as a verb or is acting as a helping verb? Then what is has a verb or a helping verb?

    The more we try to break this sentence down the more we go crazy

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    #2

    Re: two learning ESL teachers working out the problem:has always been vs has been alw

    Has been
    Has = helping verb (also called auxiliary verb)
    Been = verb

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    #3

    Re: two learning ESL teachers working out the problem:has always been vs has been alw

    Quote Originally Posted by reddogrog View Post
    I could use some help in a grammar discussion between a fellow English teacher.

    The sentence in question is:

    Football has always been the biggest thing in David Beckham's life.

    vs

    Football has been always the biggest thing in David Beckham's life.

    My thought is that the 1st sentence is correct but then how do I go about justifying my reason.

    always is modifying been. Been is acting as a verb or is acting as a helping verb? Then what is has a verb or a helping verb?

    The more we try to break this sentence down the more we go crazy
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Reddogrog.

    (1) The placement of adverbs also drives many native speakers like me

    crazy, too.

    (2) There is a good explanation in The Grammar Book by Mesdames

    Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman. Many teachers use that book.

    (a) They say something that is very important:

    Adverbs such as always actually modify the whole sentence.

    So I guess that your sentence really means:

    IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE THAT football has been the biggest

    thing in David Beckham's life.

    Of course, if you are teaching high school, it would probably just be easier

    to say that always modifies the verb phrase has been.

    (3) I was able to get these examples of always from Mr.

    Michael Swan's popular Practical English Usage:

    We always used to go in May.
    We used always to go in May.
    We used to always go in May.
    Always look in the mirror before starting to drive. (IMPORTANT: You can

    start a sentence with always only if it is something like an order.)

    (a) Since you can put always in many different positions, then I guess

    that proves what Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman say: it

    modifies the whole sentence.

    (4) Finally, those two scholars ask this question:

    How would you explain to your students the difference between

    (a) I have always told the truth.

    (b) I always HAVE told the truth.

    If I understand them correctly, (a) is the usual way. There is no

    emphasis. It is just a statement. Like: I have always gotten up early

    every morning; I have always read a newspaper every day, etc.

    (b) shows emphasis. When you speak, you put the stress (loud

    sound) on the auxiliary verb have.

    Police officer: I think that you told the truth last week. But I think that

    you are lying today. I think that sometimes you tell me the truth, and

    sometimes you lie to me.

    Man: No, sir. You are wrong. I always have (!!!) told you the truth.

    Please believe me!

    Thank you

  2. reddogrog's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: two learning ESL teachers working out the problem:has always been vs has been alw

    Thank you for your suggestions we BOTH also stumbled onto a interesting fact about Adverbs the fact that they modify nouns as well as noun phrases. Which is not really mentioned in some of my grammar reference books. In fact we found it on this website WHICH I USE AS MY Master reference GRAMMAR GUIDE.

    Thank you for walking US both through this sentence as well as a deeper respect for the word ALWAYS.

  3. davidbailey's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: two learning ESL teachers working out the problem:has always been vs has been alw

    The sentence is in the 'present perfect'...
    and adverbs like to split the perfect tenses as a general rule.

    Kind of like the gig with 'seperable' and inseperable' phrasal verb...
    They just drive us crazy. ;)

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