# Thread: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

1. I have studied English tenses for a long time. I know there was only one rule in explaining, or supporting, the three tenses: Simple Past, Present Perfect, and Simple Present. The rule was that Present Perfect doesn't stay with specific past time. Now it is over, as we have all agreed.

Then sad to day, there is no rule any more. To prove that, now I promise this: Whatever you say to Present Perfect, can be said again word for word to either Simple Present or Simple Past.

Or I may say, no matter how carefully you define the use of a tense, the definition can be said again word for word to another tense. What I mean is, your definition must be so vague that it must be applied also to another tense. In other words, we can define nothing about any tense.

It seems that I am doomed to lose and I cannot keep my stupid promise. But the truth is, the promise has never been broken by anyone.

My promise is actually part of the answer to the perplexity we are now in, so play it fair. Keep out of personal matters.

For a start, one may say Simple Past can stay with specific past time.
Then I shall reply: Present Perfect can also stay with specific past time.

Any more definitions?

2. ## Re: The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family

Originally Posted by Casiopea
Shun:
Please teach us how to make a span of time circular.
That's quantum. Physics.

I'm just a girl
I think I must be one, too.

3. :? Why do we sometimes treat Present Perfect differently, because of the different members of the Past Family?

Ex1: He has lived in Japan in the past. (a finish)
Ex2: he has lived in Japan in the past five years. (a continuity)

It seems that we have no control over any concept about the tense. We may call the tense a finish or a continuity, at our own free will. We see a finished time, and we call Present Perfect a finish. While we see a continuity of time, we call Present Perfect a continuity. Is there any grammar, or rule here?
:o

4. The second isn't a continuity- the time is, but he is very unlikely to be there now.

5. TDOL,

You wrote about "Ex2: he has lived in Japan in the past five years":

The second isn't a continuity- the time is, but he is very unlikely to be there now.
My reply: I am afraid I cannot follow you here. A few days ago, it was you who understood and said:

:wink: Ex: *They worked here for the past five years.
Do they still work here? Yes, so the past is innapropriate.
The second quote here means you are aware that, because of "for the past five years", they still work here and Present Perfect shall be appropriate. This is agreed to most of us here. And then in a very similar example Ex2, with correct Present Perfect tense, why do you suddenly have such a conclusion: he is not there? This time, no one will agree with you, I fear.
:?

6. Cas:
• :( "I have lived in Japan in the past two weeks." specific
:D "I have lived in Japan for the past two weeks." non-specific

Shun:

7. Originally Posted by Casiopea
Cas:
• :( "I have lived in Japan in the past two weeks." specific
:D "I have lived in Japan for the past two weeks." non-specific

Shun:
Cas,

I am afraid we should not depend our discussion solely on icons.

If the icon implies something, please say it. I don't even know whether you agreed to your examples or not. Or do you imply that your examples violate the quotation, or what?

But the quotation has been repudiated by us, for quite some time now. Then what is the result if a bad example is violating a bad statement? Can this result be expressed by an icon?

• ungrammatical (PP with specfic past time adverbial (see Kiparsky))
"I have lived in Japan in the past two weeks." specific

Grammatical: (PP with non-specific past time adverbial)
"I have lived in Japan for the past two weeks." non-specific

8. :? Now you seemed to agree to such a rule, quoted from The Linguistics Department of Stanford University:

The present perfect is not compatible with adverbials denoting a specific past time.

http://www-linguistics.stanford.edu/..._kiparsky.html
:o But the quotations such as this have been repudiated by us, for quite some time now. Do you now want to say you want to go back from the beginning, and agree to the "golden rule":

NOTE: We do NOT use specific time expressions with the Present Perfect. We cannot say, for example, "I have eaten spaghetti yesterday."

http://conversa1.com/presentperfectpastsimple.htm
Also even this:

You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with time expressions such as "yesterday," "one year ago," "last week," "when I was a chlid," "when I lived in Japan," "at that moment," "that day" or "one day."

http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfect.html

Is that what you wanted to say? If not, how can we depend on a wrong rule to support our discussion?

9. Shun:
....the Past Family are quite compatible with Present Perfect:

Ex: I have seen him in the past few days.
There's no argument there. Adverbs denoting unspecified time are compatible with the Present Perfect. (i.e., "in the past few days" denotes an unknown time within the past few days.)

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