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    #1

    Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Hello

    How can I explain that the second verb should be in the simple present tense in the following phrase:

    "I have been in Canada for 8 years, and I still have not spoken French fluently."

    Is there a rule? She really means that she does not speak French fluently yet, or that she still does not speak French fluently.

    I couldn't think of a rule she could use to understand why she should use the simple present.

    Thank you!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    That's a very unnatural sentence.

    I have been in Canada for 8 years and I still can't speak French fluently.
    I have been in Canada for 8 years and I still don't speak French (fluently).
    I have been in Canada for 8 years and I still haven't spoken a single word of French.

    The last is the only way I would use "haven't spoken" and it has nothing to do with fluency.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    The present perfect form suggests to me that the person is capable of speaking French fluently, but hasn't yet had the opportunity in Canada to do so.

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    #4

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Thanks for your response.

    I want to clarify what she meant by giving a little more context:

    She is an English learner; her first language is Chinese. The first part of her phrase (I have been in Canada for 8 years) is correct grammatically, and is what she intends to say.

    It is the second part of her sentence (and I still have not spoken French fluently) which is incorrect grammatically, and also is not what she wants to say.

    The second verb (speak) needs to be in the simple present to convey what she means.

    Is there a rule that I can use to illustrate the fact that she must use the simple present in this half of the sentence? She can't seem to understand why she can't use the present perfect in this half of her phrase.

    Thanks!

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    #5

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Speaking fluently is a reflection of the current state of her knowledge, not a process over time. You could say and still haven't learned to speak French fluently, which would describe the process over time. She should use the present simple in the second half with this verb because she is taking about the result (inability to speak) rather than the process (learning) over the timespan. The tense is triggered by the meaning; if you change the meaning, you can change the verb form.

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    #6

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Thanks so much! Greatly appreciated

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    #7

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Welcome to the forums, Karam.

    There is no need to write a new post to express your thanks and appreciation. Just click the 'Thank' button. It's quicker for all of us.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Present perfect followed by 'still', followed by the simple present

    Just to clarify - the present perfect can certainly follow "still" in other situations.
    ... and I still haven't learned to speak fluent French (as given above)
    ... and I still haven't seen Niagara Falls.
    ... and still haven't received a single letter from you.

    As Tdol says, the simple present is needed for the state of being.
    ... and I still can't speak French.
    ... and I still can't tell what the falls look like when you see them in person.
    ... and I still don't know if you miss me.
    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.

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