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13 Tense and Aspect. Perfect and Perfect Continuous

Tense and Aspect from 12 +



The Present Perfect Tense denotes:

1) an action that began in the past, was going on for some time and is still going on at the moment of speaking. This use can be called the Present Perfect Inclusive.

Theyve lived here (for) ten years.

I have known their family since 1999.

It is found with for, since, how long, always, now, for years, in years and since. For is sometimes dropped.

The Present Perfect Inclusive with for and since is the only use of the Present Perfect that seems to be stable. The other uses are variable.

NOTE. Already is not normally found with the PPI, unless it conveys a strong emotion (Youll have to wait another 15 minutes. What? Ive been here an hour already! [cf. Russ. i tak])

If the speaker simply emphasizes the length of time, now can be used:

I know this area very well -- Ive lived here ten years (now). [cf. Russ. uzhe].


The Present Perfect Inclusive is found

a) with stative verbs (i.e. those not normally used in the continuous form):

He has loved her ever since they were at school together.

b) with non-terminative verbs:

They have worked in the same factory since 1990. [the Present Perfect Continuous is also possible here]

c) in negative sentences:

He hasnt shaved for days.

2) a completed action (strictly speaking, a past action) with relevance for the present. This use can be called the Present Perfect Exclusive.

Ive made an appointment with the dentist (àtherefore, I feel rather jittery; I wont be able to join you tomorrow; you dont have to remind me to do so any more, etc.).

She has enrolled for this course (à therefore, she attends lectures every Monday; she is eligible for a particular grant, etc.).

It is often found with ever, never, lately, recently, of late, in recent years, over the last few years, just, yet, and already.


a) In American English, the Present Perfect Exclusive is often replaced with the Past Indefinite: I found a reference to this subject; It was recently announced that... I never really enjoyed skiing.

b) Note the difference between just (which goes with the Present Perfect, at least in BrE, and just now, which goes with the Past Indefinite):

Theyve just handed out the forms.

They handed out the forms just now.

c) When used in questions, already means sooner than the speaker expected; questions with already are in fact rhetorical: What? Have you done it already? Youre a fast worker, arent you? In neutral questions, only yet is used.

3) a future action (in clauses of time, to emphasize completion; mostly with non-terminative verbs)

When youve stayed here long enough, you will pick up the local dialect.

Shell be able to play any tune by ear when/after she has heard it twice.



It is years / It has been years since I saw a good musical.

Ive known them since weve been students.

Its / Itll be the first (second, third, etc.) time Ive tasted Chinese food.

The Present Perfect Continuous Inclusive:

Ive been doing this for years.

The Present Perfect Continuous Exclusive:

Why is Dad so angry? Hes been talking to my teachers.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1611

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