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    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 173
    #1

    Tense problem

    Dear Teacher,
    Please be kind enough to tell me the "tense" of the following two sentences. (whether it is Present simple etc)

    - Mary is a teacher.
    -She is absolutely livid.

    Best Regars
    Udara


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: Tense problem

    This is interesting.
    Why are you unsure?


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 173
    #3

    Re: Tense problem

    Hello there,
    I think, they belong to "Present simple tense", don't they?

    Best regards
    Udara


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

    Re: Tense problem

    Yes. What about the sentences made you unsure?


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 173
    #5

    Re: Tense problem

    Hello there,
    Thanks all,
    If we take a tense there are key usages. That is Present simple tense is used to talk about things that happens generally.
    eg. My brother goes to school by bus.

    Also, it is used to talk about "time tabled future" etc. as you all know jolly well.
    And I just wanted to know the usage of the two sentenses mentioned above, in particular the latter, bucaue when I say " She he is absolutely livid" I am refering to the present moment.
    So please let me know what usage of Present simple is that.

    Thanks & regards
    Udara


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

    Re: Tense problem

    Ahhhhh. Good for you. You are inquiring into what we actually mean when we say 'Present Tense'.

    Leave this with me for two days (as this is a Long Weekend - that is, Monday is a holiday - and we are promised sunshine, so I can get stuck into some gardening that needs doing) but as I have time, I'll put together the various ways in which the Present Tense is found and post it here Monday at the latest.

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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #7

    Re: Tense problem

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    If we take a tense there are key usages.
    I won't preempt David's considered opinion.
    But remember that, whatever the usage, it is still grammatically the simple present tense if it is in the form of the simple present tense, even though it might have a future meaning, etc.


    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 13
    #8

    Re: Tense problem

    i think when we talk about permanent state we must use the present simple tense.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #9

    Re: Tense problem

    Here is the first part of it. I am still caught up with other matters but will try to finish this by tomorrow.

    When I try to explain the difference between Past Tense and Present Perfect tense, I need a reference point in time. I call this NOW, this moment as I speak. So, when I say, “I went” and “I will go”, it implies some moment in time between the two (the past and the future)- some moment in time we call NOW, that separates the past from the present; and the present from the future. The idea that Present Tense therefore means that something is happening NOW, ’at this instant’, is only one way in which we use the present tense form of the verb.

    First Use:
    “I am/I’m busy. Ask someone else.”
    Here, it is easy to see that I am referring to the present moment.
    This is also seen in one of your sentences:
    She is absolutely livid.

    But look at this sentence:
    The train leaves at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
    ‘leaves’ is present tense, yet I am referring to a future event. Even when I take out the time phrase that indicates a specific time in the future -
    The train leaves from Paddington, which is easy to get to.
    - I am still referring to a future event, without any specific time phrase to indicate that this is in the future, yet using the present tense form of the verb ‘to leave’.
    So - the Second Use:
    The present tense form of the verb is used when I, the speaker, state an objective fact (or make a statement I believe to be true), or state something of which I am so certain and sure, that I regard it as an objective fact. Specifically locating this in time is not relevant. The train I am taking ALWAYS leaves from Paddington –has done in the past, will today, and will tomorrow. There is no need to place this statement in a specific time frame. Similarly, your sentence -
    Mary is a teacher.
    - is you, as the speaker, stating a fact. That she has been teaching for many years, and may teach for many more is irrelevant. You are stating a fact about her profession.
    London is the capital of England.
    Easter is in March next year, not April.
    Water boils at 100 C.

    What is happening here, is that when I speak, NOW stretches to include all the things that I see as being constant, unchanging, as true today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow, so being specific about ‘when’ this happens in time is irrelevant.

    Let’s look at three sentences:
    (a) I leave for Hong Kong next week.
    (b) I will/I’ll leave when I’m good and ready to leave. Nobody throws me out of a bar.
    (c) I leave when I’m good and ready to leave. Don’t let anybody throw you out of a bar.

    In (a), I am stating a fact about my life.
    In (b), I specifically use the Future Tense form of the verb to indicate that there will come some moment in the future when I will leave, and that will come when I feel ready to leave, (not because anybody is ordering me around.)
    In (c) I seem to be saying the same thing, but have used the present tense form of the verb. I have actually changed the meaning, and the sentence has become an assertion, a ‘fact’ about me and my life. Say a man has just told me he got thrown out of a bar last night. I reply: “That wouldn’t happen to me. Any bar I go into, I leave when I’m good and ready to leave. Nobody throws me out of a bar!”
    That this may be just bragging and not true in reality doesn’t matter. I am speaking and I state it as a ‘fact’ about me, my life, and how tough I am. Whenever - in the past, right now, or some bar I might be in tomorrow - the fact remains constant: "In any bar, any time, I leave when I choose to leave."

    -to be continued-


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 173
    #10

    Re: Tense problem

    Hello there,
    Many thanks for the reply.
    First Use:
    I am/Im busy. Ask someone else.
    Here, it is easy to see that I am referring to the present moment.
    This is also seen in one of your sentences:
    She is absolutely livid.

    But, to refer to the present moment we can use "present continuous", so may I know which of the following sentenses is correct/more natural?

    She is absolutely livid.
    She is being absolutely livid.

    Is there a difference if any?

    Great many thanks again.

    Kind Regards
    Udara



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