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  1. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #21

    Re: it has rained four times since October.

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    Consider another example: John has seen Mary since 10 o'clock. It is taken to mean John saw Mary after ten.
    Would you maintain the same thing in a context in which "John has seen Mary since 10 o'clock" referred to the time at which Mary became visible to John? For example, let's suppose John is conducting satellite surveillance and has been looking for Mary. It is now noon. At 10 o'clock in the morning, John spotted Mary via satellite and has been tracking Mary on his computer ever since. The computer he is using has put a circle around Mary on the screen and maintains that circle around her wherever Mary moves. John's coworker in the surveillance room reports to their supervisor, "John has seen Mary since 10 o'clock." In that context, "since 10 o'clock" specifies the time at which John began to see Mary. He began to see her at 10 o'clock and has continued to see her since then. At noon, John has seen Mary on his computer screen for 2 hours straight.
    Last edited by Phaedrus; 25-Jun-2019 at 09:05.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #22

    Re: it has rained four times since October.

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    When "it has rained four times since October" was presented in the OP on 22-Jun-2019 at 16:38, it doesn't necessarily mean it was intended to be interpreted by reference to that time. A priori, it could have been uttered much earlier than that, as from some fictional work, but presented, or quoted, on 22-Jun-2019 at 16:38.
    This is a separate point so let's leave it for now.


    But consider "There have been many changes since the war." Someone told me the changes had to occur after the war.
    Yes, of course that's what it means.


    I'm afraid the dictionary has more than one time-related definition for since, and they don't specify the time frame in the same way. Merriam-Webster, for example, gives the following definition:

    in the time after (a specified time or event in the past): from (a point in the past) until the present time


    Yes, they do. The Merriam-Webster phrasing is exactly how I'd phrase it.

    The first one is like Collins' "during or throughout the period of time after" and sets the beginning of the time frame after a time or event in the past. (One example would be "I haven't eaten since breakfast." )


    The timeframe goes from a point in the past until the moment of utterance. That means it exists in time after the point in time it begins. I can't quite figure out what's confusing you about this. In this last example, breakfast is conceived to be the initial time point, when the period begins, since that it the last time the speaker ate.

    Now consider "It has only rained once since May." According to you, the time frame stretches from May 1 to the time at which the utterance was made.
    No, I definitely didn't say that. Maybe this is the source of your confusion. Read post #2 again. In the speaker's mind, May is conceived of as a point in time. In reality, this could be anywhere in the month, between the 1st and 31st.

    But if we plug Collins' definition "during or throughout the period of time after" into the example, it means it could not have rained during the month of May, but during or throughout the period of time after May. (N.B., Collins' example might not properly reflect the definition.)
    Right, now I see where you're going wrong. The sentence is very likely to mean that the last time it rained was in May, but it does not necessarily mean that.

    Consider another example: John has seen Mary since 10 o'clock. It is taken to mean John saw Mary after ten. Now compare that with "It has been raining since May." The rain is interpreted as first occurring during the month of May, not after it. Therefore the above definition doesn't work here.
    Don't complicate things with the continuous aspect. The thread is already too complicated. I think you need to grasp the essential meaning of since first. Then once you've got that, everything will fall into place.


    Maybe the definition at work here is "from (a point in the past) until the present time." Which definition is relevant may have to do with the durative vs. punctual distinction of predicates.
    This is the definition, yes. There's only one definition. And yes, you have to distinguish the difference between conceived points in time and periods of time. This is key to understanding this question.

    Let's try to keep posts shorter by dealing with only one point at a time.

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