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    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 160
    #1

    could have p.p(past participle)

    Hi

    A: Did you hear that Brian got arrested?
    B: No way! What has he done?
    A: Brain stealing a milk bar, the store owner caught him.
    B: How could he have done such a thing?

    I wonder how the phrase could have done is used above the conversation.

    Is it subjuctive or guessing of the past or other modal usage?

    and I also wonder "How could he do such a thing?" is also possible.

    Please give me your explanations.

    Thanks~~


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 810
    #2

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    How could he have done such a thing? expresses disbelief and/or shock at a person's actions. It uses the present perfect tense - focusing on the result of something which happened in the past.

    How could he do such a thing is also possible, and can be used in a similar manner.


    I am not a teacher.


    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 160
    #3

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    How could he have done such a thing? expresses disbelief and/or shock at a person's actions. It uses the present perfect tense - focusing on the result of something which happened in the past.

    How could he do such a thing is also possible, and can be used in a similar manner.


    I am not a teacher.
    Thank you so much!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #4

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    Before we look at 'could have done', are you confident you know the difference between:
    "He did it" (simple Past tense)
    and
    "He has done it." (Present Perfect tense).


    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 160
    #5

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Before we look at 'could have done', are you confident you know the difference between:
    "He did it" (simple Past tense)
    and
    "He has done it." (Present Perfect tense).

    To be honest, not confidently but roughly.
    For example, I lost my purse. and I have lost my purse.
    The other means I lost my purse in the past, so I don't have it now.^^:

    Could you explain the difference between "He did it." and
    "He has done it."?

    To be honest again, could have p.p structure reminds me of
    (a)subjunctive or (b)guessing about the future.
    For example, (a). If I had had much money , I could have bought a Benz .
    (b) She could have been a teacher two years ago.

    Sorry for my shallow English level. Please give me your explantion about that and a right approach to English learning.

    Thanks.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #6

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    You have given a pretty clear understanding of your confusion when we introduce 'could' (with its meanings) into a sentence.
    I want to give you the clearest explanation about this; and I learnt my lesson in a post last night not to try when I'm feeling tired!
    I've also learnt my lesson about saving/posting along the way, as I write a post: I'll do it in WORD, and copy and paste.

    Others will post in the meantime, but give me till tomorrow and I'll post you my understanding on your query.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #7

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    Back with you.
    Firstly, understand that what we mean by the Present Tense is more complicated, but I want to divide time up into Now, Before Now, and events happening After Now (coming after this moment as I speak.)

    We want to focus on the difference between Simple Past, and Present Perfect tense. So that this difference is easier to understand, , let’s look at this sentence:

    It rained yesterday.

    I am locating this event as happening Before Now, and I indicate when ‘Before Now’ by saying ‘yesterday’. In telling you this, I am not concerned with how long it lasted. The rain started then it stopped – it is a completed event - it happened and is over and done. I am merely telling you a fact.
    Similarly:

    He won the Gold Medal.

    As I speak, I view this event as something that happened Before Now, is complete, finished - a fact in a book.

    When I say…

    He has/he's won the Gold Medal.

    …how I view this event has changed. Imagine that I have just turned on the TV and see him on the podium receiving the Gold Medal. As I watch him receive the medal, it is NOW. But I am aware of a period of time just before this, when he must have crossed the finishing line first. I can foresee what comes next : interviews with reporters…and then a big party to celebrate that night…and when he gets home, his small town will have a parade…and come the New Years’ Honours List, he may receive a knighthood. The effects of winning the Gold Medal extend forward, beyond just winning the race; and even further back in time than winning, if I know that he missed out on a medal at the Olympics four years ago and so all his training has now paid off. Instead of an isolated fact, I am seeing a period of time, stretching from four years ago, right up to Now as I watch him receive the Gold Medal on the podium, and forward to the end of this year and the New Years' Honours List.


    So – if we look at the simple forms of your original sentences:

    He did it.

    He has/he's done it.

    Imagine I am watching a movie with a friend, a murder mystery, and I say, “He did it”, indicating some character in the movie who is speaking. If another friend missed the end of the movie, and next day, asks me, “Who killed the actress?”, then I would also say, “The husband – he did it.” Both times, I am merely giving a fact, naming the murderer.
    If instead, as a friend and I watch the movie, I say, “He’s done it”, then I am looking back from Now to the moment of the murder, and what has happened over time since the gun was fired, the police interviews when the husband said he wasn’t home that night; right up to Now when he is revealing a piece of information he could only have known if he had been in the house that night. And even looking ahead, to when the detective names the killer at the end of the movie, to see if I was right. I am seeing the event, the killing, not as something isolated in the past, over and done with - but the start of then watching for clues and trying to work out ‘who dunnit’. I am seeing the murder as occurring in a time frame, from when the trigger was pulled, up to Now as I make my guess, and forward, right up to when the killer is revealed by the detective.

    How is this so far (before we introduce 'could' into it)?
    Last edited by David L.; 21-Aug-2008 at 14:59.


    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 160
    #8

    Re: could have p.p(past participle)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Back with you.
    Firstly, understand that what we mean by the Present Tense is more complicated, but I want to divide time up into Now, Before Now, and events happening After Now (coming after this moment as I speak.)

    We want to focus on the difference between Simple Past, and Present Perfect tense. So that this difference is easier to understand, , let’s look at this sentence:

    It rained yesterday.

    I am locating this event as happening Before Now, and I indicate when ‘Before Now’ by saying ‘yesterday’. In telling you this, I am not concerned with how long it lasted. The rain started then it stopped – it is a completed event - it happened and is over and done. I am merely telling you a fact.
    Similarly:

    He won the Gold Medal.

    As I speak, I view this event as something that happened Before Now, is complete, finished - a fact in a book.

    When I say…

    He has/he's won the Gold Medal.

    …how I view this event has changed. Imagine that I have just turned on the TV and see him on the podium receiving the Gold Medal. As I watch him receive the medal, it is NOW. But I am aware of a period of time just before this, when he must have crossed the finishing line first. I can foresee what comes next : interviews with reporters…and then a big party to celebrate that night…and when he gets home, his small town will have a parade…and come the New Years’ Honours List, he may receive a knighthood. The effects of winning the Gold Medal extend forward, beyond just winning the race; and even further back in time than winning, if I know that he missed out on a medal at the Olympics four years ago and so all his training has now paid off. Instead of an isolated fact, I am seeing a period of time, stretching from four years ago, right up to Now as I watch him receive the Gold Medal on the podium, and forward to the end of this year and the New Years' Honours List.


    So – if we look at the simple forms of your original sentences:

    He did it.

    He has/he's done it.

    Imagine I am watching a movie with a friend, a murder mystery, and I say, “He did it”, indicating some character in the movie who is speaking. If another friend missed the end of the movie, and next day, asks me, “Who killed the actress?”, then I would also say, “The husband – he did it.” Both times, I am merely giving a fact, naming the murderer.
    If instead, as a friend and I watch the movie, I say, “He’s done it”, then I am looking back from Now to the moment of the murder, and what has happened over time since the gun was fired, the police interviews when the husband said he wasn’t home that night; right up to Now when he is revealing a piece of information he could only have known if he had been in the house that night. And even looking ahead, to when the detective names the killer at the end of the movie, to see if I was right. I am seeing the event, the killing, not as something isolated in the past, over and done with - but the start of then watching for clues and trying to work out ‘who dunnit’. I am seeing the murder as occurring in a time frame, from when the trigger was pulled, up to Now as I make my guess, and forward, right up to when the killer is revealed by the detective.

    How is this so far (before we introduce 'could' into it)?
    I'm so much obliged to you.
    Your logical and earnest explanation using the examples impressed me very much.~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I feel that's what UsingEglish is for. I want to be taught English very hard from this site.

    Thank you!

    p.s) I expect the could part will be introduced into it.^^

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