# Thread: questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

1. ## questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

Hi, everybody:

I have an idea about "the logical sequence of the meanings of all verb tenses" and I am not sure that I am right. Please help me.

I think:

In the negative forms of all verb tenses, the objects modified by the negative meanings are the original meanings of main verbs and the meanings of following words.

Afterward, the objects modified by the affirmative meanings of the verb tenses are the negative meanings, the original meanings of main verbs and the meanings of following words.

We can use the sequence formula to explain the negative forms of all verb tenses:

"the affirmative meanings of the verb tenses"---"the negative meanings" ---"the original meanings of main verbs and the meanings of following words"

For example, please watch the two sentences below:

1.

I have bought a book for a year.

(In the sentence, the logical sequence is "the affirmative meaning of the verb tense"---"the original meanings of main verbs and the meanings of following words", namely, "the continuing"---"buying a book for a year". The sentence is wrong, because the action of "buying a book" can't continue for a year.)

2.

I have not bought any books for a year.

(In the sentence, the logical sequence is "the affirmative meaning of the verb tenses"---"the negative meanings" ---"the original meanings of main verbs and the meanings of following words", namely, "the continuing"---"the negative meaning of 'not' "---"buying any books for a year". The sentence is right, because the state of "not buying any books" can continue for a year.)

Are my thoughts above right?

If the grammar rules that I said above are right, are the rules applicable to other verb tenses?

For example in the sentence of "She is not reading the book right now.", does the negative form of The Present Continuous tense have the same logical sequence as The Present Perfect Tense?

2. ## Re: questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

Hi, everybody:

My meaning is:

In the sentence of "I have not bought any books for a year" , the meaning of the Present Perfect tense is "to continue".

And there are two possible logic sequences relating to the arrangement of the meanings of all parts of the sentence.

1.the first logic sequence:

"the meaning of the Present Perfect Tense"( namely, to continue ) + "not" + "buy any books" + "for a year".

The logic sequence means "to continue not buying any books for a year."

In the logic sequence, "not" negates "buying any books".

And "buying any book " is "buy any books". This is the original meaning of the main verb "buy".

2. the second logic sequence:

"not" + "the meaning of the Present Perfect Tense"( namely, to continue ) + "buy any books" + "for a year".

The logic sequence means "to negate the continuing of buying any books for a year"

In the logic sequence, "not" negates "the continuing of buying any book ".

And "the continuing of buying any book " is "the meaning of the Present Perfect"( namely, to continue ) + "buy any books". This is not the original meaning of the main verb "buy".

Well then, which logic sequence is right?

Is the logic sequence ("the meaning of the Present Perfect Tense"( namely, to continue ) + "not" + "buy any books" + "for a year".) right?

Or is the logic sequence("not" + "the meaning of the Present Perfect"( namely, to continue ) + "buy any books" + "for a year". ) right?

I think the first logic sequence is right, but I am not sure.

Through study of the Present Perfect Tense, I guess in all negative forms of all verb tenses, the objects modified by negations are always the original meanings of main verbs, not---"the meanings of verb tenses" + "the original meanings of main verbs"

3. ## Re: questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

This is gonna take soooome cogitation, Eagleflych.

4. ## Re: questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

Firstly, I am not sure I would agree fully about 'continue' being the meaning of the present perfect. The perfect denotes some sort of completion as a primary meaning IMO. Putting that to one side, I have continued not to buy books = zero books bought. I have not continued to buy books = zero books bought. There is a slight difference, but I think that would require the broader context to know whether the person has not bothered to buy or has had a policy of not buying. From the sentence, we don't know what came before and don't know if the person is saying it as they come out of a bookshop with a carrier bag ful of novels or whether they are explaining why they cannot even come inside a bookshop with me.

I think that 'not to do' and 'to not do' are different- the second is a stronger refusal to me. However, some will not make such a distinction, so an assumption that it is universally stronger is inaccurate; the context defines so much of themeaning. If I say 'I have lived in London.', it is impossible to say whether I live there now or whether I am describing a past experience that is relevant to the conversation. Tenses and aspects can be used in many different ways, and it is often the context that determines this.

Soemtimes there is a clear grammatical structure controlling changes in meaning; think of the difference between 'He was going to go to the party' (= in all likelihood he didn't go) and 'If I'd know he was going to go to the party' (= his surprise presence irritated me), but I see nothing in the sentence to pin down the motive behind the person's booklessness.

We just know the period of no book purchases, not whether it has ended or not, but that there is some reason for the person to bring it up, though we don't know the reason. It could be poverty, idiocy or a boycott., the reasons could be external. I don't think there's enough information here to carve the living beating heart out of this 'haven't bought'.

5. ## Re: questions about logical sequence of the meanings of verb tenses

Originally Posted by Tdol
Firstly, I am not sure I would agree fully about 'continue' being the meaning of the present perfect. The perfect denotes some sort of completion as a primary meaning IMO. Putting that to one side, I have continued not to buy books = zero books bought. I have not continued to buy books = zero books bought. There is a slight difference, but I think that would require the broader context to know whether the person has not bothered to buy or has had a policy of not buying. From the sentence, we don't know what came before and don't know if the person is saying it as they come out of a bookshop with a carrier bag ful of novels or whether they are explaining why they cannot even come inside a bookshop with me.

I think that 'not to do' and 'to not do' are different- the second is a stronger refusal to me. However, some will not make such a distinction, so an assumption that it is universally stronger is inaccurate; the context defines so much of themeaning. If I say 'I have lived in London.', it is impossible to say whether I live there now or whether I am describing a past experience that is relevant to the conversation. Tenses and aspects can be used in many different ways, and it is often the context that determines this.

Soemtimes there is a clear grammatical structure controlling changes in meaning; think of the difference between 'He was going to go to the party' (= in all likelihood he didn't go) and 'If I'd know he was going to go to the party' (= his surprise presence irritated me), but I see nothing in the sentence to pin down the motive behind the person's booklessness.

We just know the period of no book purchases, not whether it has ended or not, but that there is some reason for the person to bring it up, though we don't know the reason. It could be poverty, idiocy or a boycott., the reasons could be external. I don't think there's enough information here to carve the living beating heart out of this 'haven't bought'.

Hi, Tdol:

My English is very poor. I'm trying my best to express my thoughts clearly but English is really too hard.

quote:

I have not continued to buy books = zero books bought.

-------------------

I think:

I have not continued to buy books = one book bought. (I mean that it is possible in logic)

because:

one book bought = buy books once (on one occasion only)

So, I think that "I have not continued to buy books" contains two possibilities(zero books bought, or one book bought) at least.

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