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13

While technically your statement is true--he remains, and in fact will always be, the first person to reach the South Pole--nevertheless the use of the present tense is not called for unless he is currently at the South Pole at the culmination of his groundbreaking journey, or unless he remains the only person to have made it to the South Pole; in both ...


10

To get technical about it, present is a tense, but continuous and progressive are grammatical aspects, not tenses. Whereas tenses mark when an action happens, aspects give other temporal information, such as duration, completion, or frequency. English makes no distinction between continuous and progressive, and they are both formed using the present ...


10

News is uncountable and is used with singular verbs. The -s is there because etymologically, it used to be a plural form. Etymonline says: late 14c., plural of new (n.) "new thing," from new (adj.), q.v.; after Fr. nouvelles, used in Bible translations to render M.L. nova (neut. pl.) "news," lit. "new things." Sometimes still regarded as plural, ...


10

If I found a ball in the morning, I might say in the afternoon I found a ball today. The past tense locates an action at a specific time in the past, but today is a sufficiently prolonged period of time to allow the use of the past tense on the same day. I have found a ball today could occur, but only exceptionally, because the perfect construction is not ...


10

Both are grammatical. The first uses the past tense (‘was lost’), which indicates that the connection was lost at a specific time in the past. The second uses the present perfect construction (‘has been lost’), which indicates that the loss of the connection has present relevance. So, if the loss of connection occurred, let us say, last week, but it’s now ...


10

The main verb is are -- the Present Tense Third Person Plural form of be. This is another reduced relative clause, with Whiz-Deletion operating, this time on the be of the Passive, rather than the be of the Progressive, like the question this morning. The original sentence was something like There are several reasons which/that are/were proposed for the ...


10

Were is the plural past tense form of be, used here in a counterfactual conditional idiom construction that is given various names, including "subjunctive", which often apply to other European languages, though not to English. In fact, however, tense is not what you need to know here. Tense only has to do with time -- past and present only in English -- and ...


9

Let's look at a little more context: When the night has come and the land is dark And the moon is the only light we see No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me A perfect construction marks a past action as having brought about a state which is relevant at some later point: the utterance’s ‘Reference ...


8

[I believe this question already exists somewhere else on this website, but I can't for the life of me find it.] In short, though the present tense is also possible, the most natural choice would probably be the past tense: She touched me where my neck met my collarbone. The main clause happened in the past, while the subordinate clause is a ...


8

The best is a variation of the first: Let me know when you arrive. The second two examples are incorrect, as to be isn't used followed by a past participle in this way. An alternate formulation (which means pretty much the exact same thing) is to use the present perfect: Let me know when you've arrived. The difference in meaning between the ...


7

The clauses that New Jersey was actually in the East Coast and the Earth was round are known in functional grammar as 'projected clauses'. They behave in the same way as clauses that contain what is known in traditional grammar as 'reported speech'. As the authors of the ‘Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English’ explain: Simple past tense has a ...


7

1 means that the action happened just now. You would typically see it in your e-mail program just after you send an e-mail. Your program might give you this message to let you know that the message you just sent has indeed been sent. 2 refers to something that happened at some time in the past. It could have been an hour ago, a day ago, or even a century ...


6

It sounds to me like the person you are coaching is a native speaker of English but just uses slightly different patterns. At that point it is really not a matter of -correcting- grammar, just getting the speaker to join you in your dialect. What I am saying is that some kinds of bad grammar are actually good consistent grammar of a slightly different ...


6

As a technical matter, he cannot have thought in the past that the Earth is round in the present (because that was in his future); he must have thought that it was round at the time. If you really wanted to refer to his belief then in the Earth's roundness now, the construction would be he thought it would be round, but this is rare in any sensible context. ...


6

It's probably not easy to answer exactly why this happened (past and present being identical in spelling), because I don't think anyone ever set out to do things this way. Like most standard English words, read was not always spelled this way. The OED lists, for example, rædde, redis, redys, reeds, reids, redds, reed, red, redd, etc. over the course of ...


6

To put it simply, "I have to" means you currently are required to; "I'm gonna have to" means you will be required to at some point in the future. As an example, when describing hypothetical situations, one would say "If he does this, I'm gonna have to do this". By contrast, when describing a past occurrence, one would say "He did this, now I have to do ...


6

I am gonna have is the informal way of saying I am going to have, where I am going to is used to mean "intend or be likely or intended to be or do something." Have in I have to means "be obliged or find it necessary to do the specified thing"; it's equivalent of I must. In requests, I am going to have is used to make a more polite request.


6

They're all just stylistic choices, with no difference in nuance of meaning. The only context where "regular, repeat event" comes into play is when you say something like "The London train leaves at 8 o'clock" - if you don't specify any particular day, the implication is it does so every day (or at least, every week-day - it may leave at a different time, ...


6

The present perfect continuous is, in most cases, used to describe an action that is ongoing: I have been pumping means: "I have pumped, but I'm not done yet; I'm still pumping." By contrast, the present perfect is used to describe an action that has ended: I have pulled up dandelions all day means: "I've spent all day pulling up dandelions, but ...


6

It has been used as the symbol... is correct here. Use Present Perfect when the action referred to started in the past, and either continues (or continues to have relevance) at the time of speaking.


5

The author probably intends you to understand the first two of the Julio-Claudian autocrats: Gaius Julius Caesar, who was life dictator; and his adoptive son Gaius Octavius Thurinus (who also took the name Gaius Julius Caesar at adoption, and was later known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus), the first Emperor. (He probably picks them more because he ...


5

"I am having a problem" sounds more like the speaker is talking about a current and recent ongoing process, which is probably why it tends to show up on SO. "I have a problem" also has an idiomatic usage meaning the speaker is objecting to something, which isn't a meaning that occurs with "I am having a problem". It's perfectly valid; it is the present ...


5

Your two quotes don't actually have the same meaning. "I'm not living there!" is close to "I refuse to live there", while "I'm not going to be living there" is a prediction. Technically, the first is "I will not live there", while the second is "I shall not live there", but I doubt whether many people these days appreciate the difference, particularly with ...


5

In the absence of a future tense, English has several ways of expressing the future. One is the present tense, as in ‘My daughter goes to school tomorrow for the first time’. In practice, a native speaker would probably something like ‘It’s my daughter’s first day at school tomorrow’, where the present tense also expresses the future. Your second example ...


5

Think of the past tense as referring to an event that took place at a particular time in the past. In saying The message was sent, the speaker will normally have in mind something like yesterday or last week. The present perfect is called 'present' for a reason. The speaker is talking about the situation now, a situation in which a past event has some ...


5

Actually, I would say, "A friend of mine is living in Australia for a year." 'Lives in Australia' implies a permanent (or at least as far as plans can be known) arrangement while 'is living in' implies a more temporary situation. But as above, I would always qualify it with a time period. Or you could say, "A friend of mine is currently living in ...


5

Grammar Girl recently addressed this topic in "Present Tense in a Story." Her basic thesis was that the tense of the verb sets an expectation that may or may not adhere to the situation. If I say, "Her name was Susan," does that imply that it no longer is Susan? You might be setting someone up to think she's either dead or married since! For that reason, ...


5

If the findings were reported "many years ago" then that should be made explicit in your Position Paper. Once the date is included in the sentence, then both "report" and "accept" will be forced into the past tense. Failure to do so represents an implicit claim (by you) that the situation is unchanged since the original report. Such a claim probably ...


5

The present progressive construction is typically used to refer to an event occurring at the time of speaking. The present tense is typically used to refer to something which is generally the case. Why aren't you listening to me? asks why the person addressed isn’t listening to what the speaker is saying now. Why don't you listen to me? asks a question about ...



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