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    #1

    perfect - past or present tense?

    On Wikipedia I have found that perfect is in fact a present tense:

    "For example, consider the following sentences: "I eat", "I am eating", "I have eaten", and "I have been eating". All are in the present tense, as they describe the present situation, yet each conveys different information or points of view as to how the action pertains to the present. As such, they differ in aspect."

    However, in Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, it is explicitly stated that the perfect is a PAST tense formed by means of 'have' + past participle.

    Where is the truth?

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    #2

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    Both views describe present tense through two different approach. In fact , both are correct. However, the second view is not REALLY PAST but it has relation to the past as the action takes place in the past but it has relation to the present moment of speaking. Plus , it describes an action happened repeatedly in the past and probably will keep repeating. To sum up , the actions began in the past and still related to the present.
    Hope you dound my post useful :)

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    #3

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    The present perfect is a present tense. It states that a certain action is completed (perfected) at the present time. It was completed in the past; it is completed now. The present perfect tense deals with the second of these facts. The simple past deals with the first.
    The past perfect is a past tense.
    The 'perfect' is not a tense at all.

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    #4

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    Many books treat the present perfect as a tense in its own right, but most linguists regard it as the perfect aspect of the present tense. There are a few different views about how the tense system works in English. The text you have quoted looks like it is the view of those that say there are only two tenses in English - present and past - that have different aspects. Many ESL coursebooks treat forms like the present progressive as a separate tense, which is different from the Wikipedia view.

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    #5

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Many books treat the present perfect as a tense in its own right, but most linguists regard it as the perfect aspect of the present tense. There are a few different views about how the tense system works in English. The text you have quoted looks like it is the view of those that say there are only two tenses in English - present and past - that have different aspects. Many ESL coursebooks treat forms like the present progressive as a separate tense, which is different from the Wikipedia view.
    You're right. This book is supposed to be modern grammar for undergraduate students of linguistics or English language. Could you give me a link/explanation where I could find the views on the tense system, please.

    If you were right about it being the perfect aspect of the present tense, how come that the authors call perfect forms past tenses and they are not alone doing that. You can find the same piece of information in Matthews's Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics where perfect is treated as a past tense whilst past tense is in both publications defined as a tense whose central purpose is to indicate the past time. There seems to be a discrepancy about the word 'tense' even in both books... It looks as there are only two tenses (other so-called tenses being aspects and moods, e.g. the futurate) which is fine with me because I like the idea more than the traditional tense paradigm presented in conventional coursebooks, which you were alluding to. Despite the existence of only two tenses in English (present and past) how can we add another tense called perfect, that is, how can we say that perfect is a past tense?

    Thank you

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    #6

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    I found this interesting page. Is this what you meant, Tdol?

    http://www.glottopedia.org/index.php...Tense_Approach

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    #7

    Re: perfect - past or present tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    how can we add another tense called perfect, that is, how can we say that perfect is a past tense?
    I'm a two-tenser, so I wouldn't. The reason for defining the prefect as a past tense to those who see it as a tense is that it shows completion, which implies past time.

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