Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Smile Past or present tense

    Hello, i am new here :)

    I was watching a TV drama, and one of the actors there said "I'm sure she told you that"

    or at least i think that's what he said.

    Isn't that sentence should be "I am sure she has told you that" ?


    Thanks in advance

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,453
    #2

    Re: Past or present tense

    Welcome to the board, Oilheater.

    The original sentence is fine as it is.

    Your version is fine too as a more formal way of saying the same thing.

    Rover

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

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #3

    Re: Past or present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Welcome to the board, Oilheater.

    The original sentence is fine as it is.

    Your version is fine too as a more formal way of saying the same thing.

    Rover
    I am at a loss to understand how the presence of an unnecessary word makes the sentence "more formal".

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #4

    Re: Past or present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I am at a loss to understand how the presence of an unnecessary word makes the sentence "more formal".
    I agree. I don't think there's a difference in formality. Either tense is possible.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: Past or present tense

    I agree with Raymott. Either tense is possible.

    However, there is a slight difference in meaning.

    "I'm sure she told you
    " that draws attention to her act of telling in the past.

    "I am sure she has told you that" has more of an implication that you should know (present) as a result of her telling (past).

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,453
    #6

    Re: Past or present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I am at a loss to understand how the presence of an unnecessary word makes the sentence "more formal".
    It's more formal because you replaced 'I'm' with 'I am'.

    Rover

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #7

    Re: Past or present tense

    Oops. Thanks for spotting that, Rover K E. My comments in my previous post were concerned with the verb forms not with the I'm/I am difference. To avoid any possible confusion, I should have made both examples begin with the same. Except for the issue of formality, both I'm and I am work in my examples.

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

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #8

    Re: Past or present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I agree with Raymott. Either tense is possible.

    However, there is a slight difference in meaning.

    "I'm sure she told you
    " that draws attention to her act of telling in the past.

    "I am sure she has told you that" has more of an implication that you should know (present) as a result of her telling (past).
    The above claim of the difference between present perfect and simple past is often made, especially by speakers of British English. All one has to say to refute that, in this example and many others, is to say that neither sentence would have been uttered at that moment unless there was some relevance to the present.

    Of course there are times when present perfect has a particular relevance to the present that simple past does not.

    I have worked for Toyota for 3 years. (presently working for Toyota)
    I worked for Toyota for 3 years. (in the past)

    The mistake is made in claiming that only present perfect can show relevance to the present.

  4. lauralie2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 774
    #9

    Re: Past or present tense

    Welcome Oilheater,

    I agree with the other posters:

    • I'm sure she told you that. <simple past>
    • I'm sure she's told you that. <present perfect>


    If there is a difference in meaning in that context, it's minimal and of no consequence, and the reason Present Perfect is merging with simple past in English, at least in the variety spoken in the USA.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #10

    Re: Past or present tense

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    The above claim of the difference between present perfect and simple past is often made, especially by speakers of British English. All one has to say to refute that, in this example and many others, is to say that neither sentence would have been uttered at that moment unless there was some relevance to the present.
    .
    Quite. Note that I said: 'there is a slight difference in meaning' and that the present perfect sentence has 'more of an implication' about reference to the present than the past simple one (emphasis added in both.)

    It would be a mistake to claim 'that only present perfect can show relevance to the present', but I didn't - and I don't know anybody who does.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. a strange situation! present tense? past tense?
    By nixgnoy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-Mar-2010, 18:22
  2. [Grammar] present perfect contiunous tense vs past continuous tense
    By dkyeung in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2009, 11:00
  3. [Grammar] present tense, past tense, past participal
    By aisog in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Dec-2008, 00:59
  4. Present participles, past tense, past participle
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 14-Jul-2008, 06:06
  5. integrating past-tense quotes into present-tense essay
    By djtizzlemaster in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2007, 02:19

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
  •