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Present perfect
Posted: 22 February 2017 01:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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And even for the actions of someone who is dead.

Peter has just shot himself in the head. He’s dead.

But lh is right in the main. There is such a rule but I think if the action is recent enough then the rule doesn’t apply.

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Posted: 22 February 2017 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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if the action is recent enough then the rule doesn’t apply

Sort of, but not quite right. The rule accounts for this.

The present perfect is used to refer to actions that have been completed in, or have been completed continually up until, the speaker’s frame of reference (i.e, usually, but not necessarily, the present time). For example:

a) John has eaten an entire ham.
b) John ate an entire ham.

In a), John completed the meal only moments ago, within the current frame of reference. While in b), the ham was snarfed down at some indeterminate time in the past. (The just in the original example emphasizes the fact that the action is in the present frame of reference. If you said John just ate an entire ham, the adverbial just modifies the simple preterite so that it becomes the temporal equivalent of the present perfect. English doesn’t just use tense to express temporal relationships, it can use adverbs to do it as well.)

c) John has sheared a sheep or two in his lifetime.
d) John sheared a sheep or two in his lifetime.

In c), John’s sheep shearing has occurred at intervals right up until the present, not that he finished with a ram just moments ago, and it implies that he is a good man to turn to now that your sheep have gotten a bit woolly. In d), there is no indication that John is still in the sheep shearing business, and in fact, he may be as dead as Frederick Douglass.

[ Edited: 22 February 2017 05:44 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 22 February 2017 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I’d say the rule is that either (a)the actions are continuing; (b) they have the potential to continue; or (c) the effects of them are still in being.

It’s not that difficult, you’ve sheared* a sheep or two in your lifetime, haven’t you John?

Case B applies to this one.

John’s just eaten an entire ham!
I heard John’s just bought a house.
John’s just killed the milkman!

Case C applies to all of the above. If you hear John has bought a house, even without just , you take for granted that he currently has it. If John were a property speculator and had sold the house the same day, people know instinctively to say John bought a house instead, even if the purchase were less than 12 hours ago.

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Posted: 22 February 2017 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Yeah, sorry, I expressed myself too hastily and oversimplified things.  I didn’t mean “has,” I meant the continuing-action tense we were originally talking about.  Mea culpa!

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Posted: 22 February 2017 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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FWIW: The term perfect comes from the Latin per factus meaning completely done or “completely finished” . The term perfect was used to describe three verb tenses in Latin. They were called perfect, or perfected, tenses because each of the three tenses dealt with actions that spanned a period of time.
The action was begun at one time and then completed (perfected) at or before a second time.

It’s arguable how many tenses there are in English, but below are 13 tenses; Im curious how many people are familiar with all of them; it does get complicated:

a) Past Perfect Progressive ........................had been + present participle
b) Past Perfect ..........................................had + past participle
c) Past Progressive ...................................was/were + present participle
d) Simple Past ..........................................past tense form

e) Present Perfect Progressive ...................have/has been + present participle
f) Present Perfect .....................................have/has + past participle

g)Present Progressive .................................am/is/are + present participle
h)Simple Present ........................................present tense form = almost same form as infinitive (except “to be"); when used with he/she/it: +(e)s (except modal helping verbs)

i)will-Future ...............................................will + infinitive
j)will-Future Progressive .............................will be + present participle
k)will-Future Perfect ...................................will have + past participle
l)will-Future Perfect Progressive ..................will have been + present participle

m)Going-to-Future ......................................am/is/are going to + infinitive

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Posted: 23 February 2017 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Logophile - 22 February 2017 11:57 AM

a) Past Perfect Progressive ........................had been + present participle
b) Past Perfect ..........................................had + past participle
c) Past Progressive ...................................was/were + present participle
d) Simple Past ..........................................past tense form

e) Present Perfect Progressive ...................have/has been + present participle
f) Present Perfect .....................................have/has + past participle

g)Present Progressive .................................am/is/are + present participle
h)Simple Present ........................................present tense form = almost same form as infinitive (except “to be"); when used with he/she/it: +(e)s (except modal helping verbs)

i)will-Future ...............................................will + infinitive
j)will-Future Progressive .............................will be + present participle
k)will-Future Perfect ...................................will have + past participle
l)will-Future Perfect Progressive ..................will have been + present participle

m)Going-to-Future ......................................am/is/are going to + infinitive

Thanks for the overview, L. As someone who was much more interested at school in foreign languages than English, I find I now am a bit deficient at this kind of thing and always a bit leary about teaching English at any level above beginner.

One thing however about the bit I have highlighted in bold: I don’t really get what you mean there. Could you give me an example of the “+(e)s” thing and use with modal verbs to illustrate?

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Posted: 23 February 2017 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Dave Wilton - 22 February 2017 05:39 AM

if the action is recent enough then the rule doesn’t apply

Sort of, but not quite right. The rule accounts for this.

The present perfect is used to refer to actions that have been completed in, or have been completed continually up until, the speaker’s frame of reference (i.e, usually, but not necessarily, the present time). For example:

a) John has eaten an entire ham.
b) John ate an entire ham.

In a), John completed the meal only moments ago, within the current frame of reference. While in b), the ham was snarfed down at some indeterminate time in the past. (The just in the original example emphasizes the fact that the action is in the present frame of reference. If you said John just ate an entire ham, the adverbial just modifies the simple preterite so that it becomes the temporal equivalent of the present perfect. English doesn’t just use tense to express temporal relationships, it can use adverbs to do it as well.)

c) John has sheared a sheep or two in his lifetime.
d) John sheared a sheep or two in his lifetime.

In c), John’s sheep shearing has occurred at intervals right up until the present, not that he finished with a ram just moments ago, and it implies that he is a good man to turn to now that your sheep have gotten a bit woolly. In d), there is no indication that John is still in the sheep shearing business, and in fact, he may be as dead as Frederick Douglass.

You’ve been to Jamaica, haven’t you John?

There’s no implication of intervals, perhaps he only went once and has no intention of returning.

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Posted: 23 February 2017 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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One thing however about the bit I have highlighted in bold: I don’t really get what you mean there. Could you give me an example of the “+(e)s” thing and use with modal verbs to illustrate?

I think an example would be:

Infinitive: She decided to take the bus to the office.

Simple present: She takes the bus to the office.

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Posted: 24 February 2017 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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You’ve been to Jamaica, haven’t you John?

There’s no implication of intervals, perhaps he only went once and has no intention of returning.

No intervals, but it’s still the present. The visit to Jamaica has occurred at some point right up until the present moment. Compare it to:

You had been to the Soviet Union, hadn’t you John?

In this construction the visit was completed in the past, before 1991, and the time frame for John’s trip does not extend up until the present moment. (I changed the location to make the point clearer by giving a well-defined time frame, but if you say Jamaica, the visit could not have just this moment been completed.) Anyone who says, you’ve been to the Soviet Union, would run into the same problem Trump had with Frederick Douglass.

The tenses mark relative frames of reference, not absolute measures of time.

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Posted: 28 February 2017 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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The destination certainly still has to be there, yes. 

I guess if John is really old then we’d just be humouring him with the present perfect.

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