Do we eat anymore?

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shun

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Of course everyone eats. But why do we sometimes say we ate or we have eaten? Do we not eat anymore?

You opinion is welcome.

Shun Tang
 

Tdol

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I ate yesterday- unchangeable historical fact.
I haven't eaten dinner yet- changeable.
;-)
 

shun

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tdol said:
I ate yesterday- unchangeable historical fact.
I haven't eaten dinner yet- changeable.
;-)

I agree. It is a good explanation.

But for the time being I don't want to use "yesterday" to interfere Simple Past and I didn't want to use negative sentence for discussion.

Why can I say the three tenses at the present? Or I cannot? Are they different?
Ex: I eat dinner.
Ex: I ate dinner.
Ex: I have eaten dinner.

Shun
 

RonBee

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shun said:
tdol said:
I ate yesterday- unchangeable historical fact.
I haven't eaten dinner yet- changeable.
;-)

I agree. It is a good explanation.

But for the time being I don't want to use "yesterday" to interfere Simple Past and I didn't want to use negative sentence for discussion.

Why can I say the three tenses at the present? Or I cannot? Are they different?
Ex: I eat dinner.
Ex: I ate dinner.
Ex: I have eaten dinner.

Shun

The first sentence states a habitual action. The second sentence states a simple fact. The third sentence relates the past to the present. (Presumably, because the person has eaten he does not wish to eat again.)

Does that help?

:)
 

shun

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RonBee said:
shun said:
tdol said:
I ate yesterday- unchangeable historical fact.
I haven't eaten dinner yet- changeable.
;-)

I agree. It is a good explanation.

But for the time being I don't want to use "yesterday" to interfere Simple Past and I didn't want to use negative sentence for discussion.

Why can I say the three tenses at the present? Or I cannot? Are they different?
Ex: I eat dinner.
Ex: I ate dinner.
Ex: I have eaten dinner.

Shun

The first sentence states a habitual action. The second sentence states a simple fact. The third sentence relates the past to the present. (Presumably, because the person has eaten he does not wish to eat again.)

Does that help?

:)

I guess not, because the fact is tomorrow I still eat. Therefore, I have no reason to use Simple Past or Present Perfect, according to your explanation.
:roll:

Shun
 

RonBee

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You can't say you eat tomorrow. You have to say you will eat tomorrow. However, you can say, for example, "We eat at eight" with "eight" being a time in the future.

:)
 

Tdol

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Maybe the problem is that these sentences are too decontextualised. Alone the past and the present poerfect make little sense. However, the past simple would be plugged intopast events and the present perfect plugged into now. ;-)
 

shun

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RonBee said:
You can't say you eat tomorrow. You have to say you will eat tomorrow. However, you can say, for example, "We eat at eight" with "eight" being a time in the future.

:)
Yes, we usually do. If something we are sure to do, we can skip auxiliary like will.

Besides, I have eaten dinner and I ate dinner is part of the I eat dinner. It is illogical that we treat some dinner in the past as not belonging the routine I eat dinner. Therefore, at the present, I can use any tense to refer to the dinner, though I don't know why.
 

shun

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tdol said:
Maybe the problem is that these sentences are too decontextualised. Alone the past and the present poerfect make little sense. However, the past simple would be plugged intopast events and the present perfect plugged into now. ;-)
Thank you for your supposition. I will be more grateful if you may give a little more explanations for decontextualised, plugged into past, plugged into now. For example, how can I have eaten dinner be plugged into the present? I don't know anythng about these jargons. :roll:
 

Tdol

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The present perfect always has a relation to the present time, so a single sentence without further information is 'decontextualised'. 'Plugged in' is not a technical term, but makes sense to me. If I say 'I have eaten dinner' in answer to 'Are you hungry', the past action of eating is relevant now because it tells the other person that I am not hungry. In building a connection with now, it is,in the terms I used, plugged into now. ;-)
 

shun

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tdol said:
The present perfect always has a relation to the present time, so a single sentence without further information is 'decontextualised'.
Then every tense is decontextualised as it must have a relation to the present time. By the time we use a tense, it must have a relation to the present time. It goes without saying.

It follows that every tense is plugged in the present. The twin towers collapsed in 911 is a past for example, but as we mention it now, it is plugged in to the present. Those who claim the case, in Simple Past, has no relation to the present must be out of his mind. By the way, I am sure that Simple Past "I ate dinner" can answer 'Are you hungry'.

Then the three tenses are all plugged in the present, as all are used by the present time:
I eat dinner.
I have eaten dinner.
I ate dinner.

As you said, they all are decontextualised, so it is puzzling why we can use every tense to refer to the present. :(
 

Tdol

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If something is plugged in, it has a direct connection. The past has a relation of contrast woith the present, but the relation is broken by the use of the tense. The present perfect bridges past and present. ;-)
 

shun

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tdol said:
If something is plugged in, it has a direct connection. The past has a relation of contrast woith the present, but the relation is broken by the use of the tense. The present perfect bridges past and present. ;-)

Do you mean I have eaten dinner means I am still eating now? Or what? Try to tell me and let me check Simple Past I ate dinner.

On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.

What a confusion and hardship in the basic part of English!! :cry:
 

RonBee

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  • Tdol: Ron, are you hungry?
    Ron: No, I ate dinner just an hour ago.

:)
 

Tdol

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It tells us that we use the past with 'ago'. ;-)
 

Tdol

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Do you mean I have eaten dinner means I am still eating now? Or what? Try to tell me and let me check Simple Past I ate dinner.

If I say I have eaten dinner, I am describing a past action that I see as having current significance. I am not eating dinner, but I am probably digesting it.

On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.

The simple present can be seen as existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future. ;-)
 

shun

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tdol said:
If I say I have eaten dinner, I am describing a past action that I see as having current significance. I am not eating dinner, but I am probably digesting it.
I find it often that when you explain one tense, you seldom do comparison with others, while it is my intention to compare them. You usually wait for me to do the job. If you do some comparison, you will not say such thing as above. What is then about Simple Past? Are you sure that if yesterday there was a great earthquake in our place that claimed many lives, because of Simple Past, it is of no current significance? It is absurd that we use a tense to denote it is of no current significance at the present?
If it is not significance to the present, why do I say it at all?
If it is not significance to the present, I don't care about what has been said?

I guess you want to say Simple Past expresses of course current significance, but much more than Present Perfect. But why didn't you speak up? If people do comparison themselves, they will not talk about current significance or current relevancy.
----------------------

I realized a case of habit:
Shun said:
On the other hand, Simple Present really bridges past and present, because my present habit I eat dinner comes from the past.
And you took it as the usual way of all Simple Present cases:
You said:
The simple present can be seen as existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future. ;-)
It is simply not true. You know of the manner of a dinner, so you describe about it and take it as the function of Simple Past. That is, you have over-generalized a case of Simple Present. However, what about the usual Simple-Present uses being always seen in newspapers:

Ex1: Recent polls show Bush’s standing with the public has weakened as Americans.....
Ex2: Several groups, including the National Abortion Federation and the Center for Reproductive Rights, plan to challenge the measure in court as soon as it is signed into law.
Ex3: The reality remains that Tung [Hong Kong Governor] will be at the helm until and unless Beijing leaders think otherwise.
Ex4: The 30 new candidates come from around the world, from Australia to Zagreb, Vietnam to Venice, and on the whole follow John Paul’s conservative bent.
Ex5: Seventy percent of Americans support a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Ex6: Italy’s U.N. Ambassador Marcello Spatafora, whose country holds the EU presidency, moved between the two groups, sometimes with the British or French ambassadors alongside......


They happen today, the day the news printed. How can anyone ever regard them as, in your words, "existing outside time or as being of the past, present and future"? Not everything in Simple Present is dinner, and this is a big problem to your explanation.

Why can we say the three tenses at the present is a mystery:
I ate dinner.
I have eaten dinner.
I eat dinner.
 

Tdol

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I eat dinner at eight- statement of fact, implying that this is my normal time for dinner.

I ate dinner at eight- statemnt about dinner on an occasion in the past. This does not implyu that this is my usual time.

I have eaten dinner- a recent past action
 
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