2 of 3
2
Present perfect
Posted: 03 February 2017 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3004
Joined  2007-01-30
lionello - 03 February 2017 10:34 AM

Wordorigins.org is a select, elite group where language is concerned, and I must say I’m disappointed at seeing so many of its members joining the chorus of silly journalists going on and on about this mistake of Trump’s*. 

I don’t see it as joining the chorus, Lionello. We’re not gleefully pouncing on Trump to castigate him, It’s simply a discussion of his use of language and similar usage by others. I take your point that the press is using it to mock him but I don’t see any sign of that here. In fact it’s a good example of how careful the board is not to inject politics into these discussions.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6274
Joined  2007-01-03

in an academic setting their brains freeze up.  Therefore, I don’t think mistakes in freshman essays provide a valid comparison.

Yes, I see that all the time. Many, if not most, of the grammar and syntax errors are caused by students trying to write formally, in what they think is the academic style. That throws them into all sorts of contortions they would never commit in a casual note. But my comment was directed at LH’s comment that “no native speaker would use” the wrong form. That’s clearly not the case.

I don’t recall grammatical (or historical) expertise ever having being touted as part of Mr. Trump’s eligibility for the job of Most Powerful Man in the World.

Not by Trump, but the converse was frequently raised by his opponents and critics. The ability to articulate subtleties is an indispensable requirement for an effective world leader. One characteristic of all the great presidents has been their ability to communicate, and a feature of all the failed presidents (with the exception of U.S. Grant) is their inability to do so.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2652
Joined  2007-02-19

The ability to articulate subtleties is an indispensable requirement for an effective world leader.

That’s a very interesting and thought-provoking statement

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4465
Joined  2007-01-29

What percentage of American voters, I wonder, could coherently describe the use of the present perfect tense, or give an off-the cuff account of Frederick Douglass’ life and work, or even identify the man as an historical figure?

What percentage of them are running for president?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  716
Joined  2013-10-14
languagehat - 03 February 2017 05:44 AM

The more common mistakes: I could’ve went there, I had ran for the bus, I could’ve came yesterday, ad infinitum…

These have nothing to do with Trump’s error, which is one of comprehension, not grammar.  Furthermore, they are not “mistakes” except from the point of view of standard grammar; they are perfectly grammatical in the dialects to which they are native.  You cannot make something a mistake by fiat.

I’m confused with your comment.  Isn’t it assumed that it’s an error of comprehension? It might very well be an error of grammar, or just a minor slip of the tongue, which is a common occurrence in speech.

Your previous comment, “No native speaker of English would use the “has” form for something that cannot possibly be ongoing…” challenges your above comment. After all, the misuse of the present perfect tense is not as detectable an error as would be the confusion with the past and the past participle tense.

Present perfect—Edward has lived in New York for ten years.
Simple past—Edward lived in New York for ten years.

In the present perfect tense people might question whether Edward still lives in New York, but in the past tense sentence it explicitly tells us that Edward no longer lives in NY.
If the examples, I could’ve went there, I had ran for the bus etc., are only mistakes based on the standpoint of standard grammar, then we should only be discussing Trump’s error, if it is grammatical, based solely on the principles of standard grammar.

Keep in mind, the mistakes, which I submitted, come from speakers of Standard English: journalists, news anchors, and university graduates.  Therefore, they’re not perfectly grammatical from the dialects to which they are native.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  291
Joined  2007-06-14
Logophile - 03 February 2017 03:16 PM


Present perfect—Edward has lived in New York for ten years.
Simple past—Edward lived in New York for ten years.

In the present perfect tense people might question whether Edward still lives in New York, but in the past tense sentence it explicitly tells us that Edward no longer lives in NY.

I don’t know any literate English speakers who might question Edward’s place of residence in the first sentence.

The second sentence, free of context, does tell us that he no longer lives in NY.  With context it might say that he is dead, or moved away and then returned to NY.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2017 10:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3942
Joined  2007-02-26
lionello - 03 February 2017 10:34 AM

errare humanum est. Wordorigins.org is a select, elite group where language is concerned, and I must say I’m disappointed at seeing so many of its members joining the chorus of silly journalists going on and on about this mistake of Trump’s:

You are, straight up, imagining things.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 February 2017 12:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1603
Joined  2007-01-29

Yes, technically, someone “who’s done an amazing job” is continuing to do that job right up to the present. But this grammatical sliver isn’t compelling evidence for what Trump actually believes. In speech, people make slips like this all the time.

Dave’s said it all, really. The difficulty in this thread is impartiality.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 February 2017 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  468
Joined  2007-02-17
lionello - 03 February 2017 10:34 AM

One of the main streets in Tel Aviv is named after Field Marshal Edmund Allenby. When an enterprising radio announcer once walked up and down Allenby Street, asking passers-by who Allenby was, the number of people who had the faintest idea was underwhelming.

Perhaps they’d been reading it as Al Nabi…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 February 2017 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6274
Joined  2007-01-03

One of the main streets in Tel Aviv is named after Field Marshal Edmund Allenby. When an enterprising radio announcer once walked up and down Allenby Street, asking passers-by who Allenby was, the number of people who had the faintest idea was underwhelming.

That’s not really relevant to the current situation. I would expect that a large percentage of Americans asked in the street about Frederick Douglass would have, at best, only a vague clue of who he was. They are both long-dead, historical figures of little relevance to the daily lives of most people today. But one would expect the prime minister of Israel, at an event commemorating the history of the British mandate in Palestine, would, if he brought up Allenby’s name, know who he was. Trump was in a parallel situation, at an event for Black History month where he, of his own volition, invoked Douglass’s name in manner that called into question whether or not he knew who he was.

Also, one must be skeptical of these man-in-the-street quizzes. They are almost always edited to show the effect the producers want. It’s not exactly a statistically valid method of polling.

[ Edited: 05 February 2017 05:27 AM by Dave Wilton ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 February 2017 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4465
Joined  2007-01-29

I’m confused with your comment.  Isn’t it assumed that it’s an error of comprehension? It might very well be an error of grammar, or just a minor slip of the tongue, which is a common occurrence in speech.

I guess each of us will have to make our own judgment about which is more likely in this case.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 February 2017 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1575
Joined  2007-03-21

Dave’s said it all, really. The difficulty in this thread is impartiality.

I wish it were that simple. It may well be that the head of our state is so incompetent at English that it leads us to imperfectly understand what he is trying to say, or that he is saying what he means. and he really is saying that he doesn’t know who Frederick Douglass is. I don’t know which is worse.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 February 2017 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3942
Joined  2007-02-26
languagehat - 04 February 2017 06:39 AM

I’m confused with your comment.  Isn’t it assumed that it’s an error of comprehension? It might very well be an error of grammar, or just a minor slip of the tongue, which is a common occurrence in speech.

I guess each of us will have to make our own judgment about which is more likely in this case.

Also: did Sean Spicer make the same slip later that day, purely by chance?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 February 2017 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Moderator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  401
Joined  2007-02-13

Also: did Sean Spicer make the same slip later that day, purely by chance?

Maybe it was a modern echo of the Castilian lisp.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2017 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Moderator
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-18
languagehat - 02 February 2017 06:37 AM

Yes, technically, someone “who’s done an amazing job” is continuing to do that job right up to the present.

I don’t know what you mean by “technically”; this isn’t some invented grammatical “rule” that pedants draw ridiculous conclusions from, it is a basic feature of English.  No native speaker of English would use the “has” form for something that cannot possibly be ongoing, e.g. for the actions of someone dead.  It is clear as crystal that whoever wrote the sentence has no idea who Douglass was, and I’m not sure why that would be a surprise to anyone.

John’s just eaten an entire ham!
I heard John’s just bought a house.
John’s just killed the milkman!
It’s not that difficult, you’ve sheared* a sheep or two in your lifetime, haven’t you John?

Apologies if I’m missing the point.

*shorn?

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2
 
‹‹ Dialect Coach on Actors' Accents      GOAT ››