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  1. VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: "Present perfect simple" is a misnomer

    Hornby (1954.83) warns, like Jespersen:

    The words TIME and TENSE must not be confused [...] Tenses may indicate whether an action, activity or state is past present or future. Tenses may also indicate whether an action, activity, or state is, was, or will be complete, or whether it is, was, or will be in progress over a period of time.

    Zandvoort (1957/1969.58):

    English grammatical terminology has a special word, TENSE, to denote two verbal forms (past and present) and an equal number of verbal groups (perfect and future) whose main function is to denote the TIME at which an action takes place.

    Eckersley (1960.157-158):

    [Tense] means the verb-form or forms used to express certain time relations. Tense may also indicate the completeness or incompleteness of an action.

    Close (1962/1992. 57):

    In what are generally called the tenses, we are concerned with aspects of activity and of time. Time itself might be regarded as an aspect of activity, insofar as it is only in terms of events that time can be measured


    The unmarked tense will be called the actual and the marked one remote The latter name fits the meaning precisely.


    Tense appears to have three distinct functions, first to mark purely temporal relations of past and present time, secondly in the sequence of tenses that is mainly relevant for reported speech an thirdly to mark ‘unreality’, particularly in conditional clauses and wishes.

    Christophersen and Sandved (1969.43)

    Tense is a set io grammatical forms bearing some relation to the notional category of time.

    Leech (1971/2004.5)

    It is true that there is a rough and partial correspondence between ‘Present Tense’ and present Time and between 'past Tense’ and past time. But the ways in which these labels fail to correspond with reality are also notable.

    Swan (1980/2005.5)

    There is not a direct relationship between form [= tenses] and time.

    Quirk et al (1985.177):

    We have good reason for arguing [...] that the semantic triad of past, present, and future is unequally separated into past and nonpast categories for the purpose of tense. Tradition and familiarity favour the retention of the label ‘present in place of ‘nonpast’. But this concession places upon us the responsibility of continually maintaining a clear distinction between present and past TENSE, on the one hand, and present and past TIME on the other.

    Lewis (1986.69)

    The choice between the two traditional tense forms expresses the contrast, from the speaker’s point of view, between immediate and remote action.

    Alexander (1988.159)

    Verbs are used to express distinctions in time (past, present, future through tense (often with adverbials of time and frequency).

    Sinclair (1990.245):
    A set of verbal forms that indicate a particular point in time or period of time in the past, present or future is called a tense

    Yule (1998.60-61):

    The widely recognized difference in time between situations referred to via the past and present tense forms can be interpreted in terms of remoteness (or non-remoteness) in time from the time of utterance. [...] Perhaps a better image would have the time of utterance (speaker’s now at the center and other referenced situations being viewed as extending in different dimensions of time or possibility away from the centre.

    Huddleston and Pullum (2002.116

    The general term tense applies to a system where the basic or characteristic meaning of the terms is to locate the situation, or part of it, at some point or period of time.
    (p 138) Politeness/diffidence feature as an implicature. This conventional use of the preterite is quite consistent with it basic past time meaning

    Carter and McCarthy (2006. 936):

    Tense – A grammatical category to indicate the relationship between the form of the verb and the time reference of an event or action.

    Aarts, Bas (2011.2430

    The term tense denotes a grammatical system which is used to locate situations in time.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    Re: "Present perfect simple" is a misnomer

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