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  1. #1
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    This comes from a YouTube video about the early universe and the history of everything.

    At 1:23, the narrator says, "Our model of the universe is based on big bang cosmology, the idea that the universe started at some point in time and has expanded ever since."

    At 2:21, he says, "The universe began as infinite heat, and has cooled ever since."
    There are a few more instances of what I'd like to ask about in the video, but I believe these two should suffice.

    I'd personally go with the present perfect continuous and say has been expanding and has been cooling respectively, as these are undergoing processes that are still in progress (the expansion of the universe is happening right now, and the mean temperature is dropping to inevitably get us to the heat death of the universe).

    I trust SEA (the channel) in term of being factual, and the narrator sounds like a native speaker to me (but it may be because I don't know any better), so this is just a language question. I'm wondering why he has used the present perfect non-continuous here. In my understanding, an ongoing process calls for the continuous aspect. What am I missing?
    Last edited by Glizdka; 11-May-2021 at 20:56.

  2. #2
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    You're not missing anything. Yes, it can be your present continuous. It can also be the narrator's past tense.

    The words "ever since" make clear that it's a continuing process, so (to me) the present contiuous isn't wrong but isn't needed.

    Now let's see what the educators here think.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 12-May-2021 at 08:09. Reason: deleting unnecessary quote
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. #3
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I'd personally go with the present perfect continuous and say has been expanding and has been cooling respectively, as these are undergoing processes that are still in progress
    Agreed. You should be an English teacher.

    I'm wondering why he has used the present perfect non-continuous here. In my understanding, an ongoing process calls for the continuous aspect. What am I missing?
    It beats me. I think all we can say is that in his mind he wasn't thinking about the continuous and ongoing nature of the expansion. It seems like he's kind of 'fixed' on the present moment, and is focusing only on a time frame that is completed at the moment of utterance. I think it's impossible to say anything more without seeing inside his mind. I can imagine that it could possibly be that he has some kind of graph or diagram or something that is influencing his way of thinking about things.

  4. #4
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    You're not missing anything. Yes, it can be your present continuous present perfect continuous. It can also be the narrator's past present perfect simple tense.

  5. #5
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Keep me honest! (Or a reasonable facsimile . . . .)
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. #6
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I think all we can say is that in his mind he wasn't thinking about the continuous and ongoing nature of the expansion. It seems like he's kind of 'fixed' on the present moment, and is focusing only on a time frame that is completed at the moment of utterance.
    So it's more like an answer to "How have we gotten here?"

    "The universe started as a divide-by-zero error, with infinite heat and no volume, and it has expanded and cooled, getting us where we are."

    Given the nature of the narrative in the video, it makes sense for the speaker to have used that wording. I can live with that.
    Last edited by Glizdka; 12-May-2021 at 11:35.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    I'm not a scientist, but is there such a thing as infinite heat?

  8. #8
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'm not a scientist, but is there such a thing as infinite heat?
    Nobody knows. There are a few models and concepts that try to find the opposite of absolute zero, but the problem is that physics as we know it breaks at some point, and our theories become pure speculation.

    I believe the author wasn't being technical when calling it infinite heat; he was just trying to give the viewer something imaginative. If the universe started as a singularity with no volume, we might as well say it was infinite heat.



    That's why they teach you not to divide by zero in school, kids. Know your limits!

    Heh.

  9. #9
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    So it's more like an answer to "How have we gotten here?"
    Yes, I think so. Like I said, we can't know what he was really thinking on an unconscious level.

  10. #10
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: The universe has expanded and cooled ever since

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    Nobody knows. There are a few models and concepts that try to find the opposite of absolute zero, but the problem is that physics as we know it breaks down at some point, and our theories become pure speculation.

    I believe the author wasn't being technical when calling it infinite heat; he was just trying to give the viewer something imaginative. If the universe started as a singularity with no volume, we might as well say it was infinite heat.



    That's why they teach you not to divide by zero in school, kids. Know your limits!

    Heh.
    When Andromeda and Milky Way merge it will be a superbig galaxy. None of us will be around to see that happen though.
    Not a professional teacher

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