Time, Tense, And The Verb I

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Time, Tense, And The Verb I

The present tense as nonpast: There are three interpretations for present, future and past:
1. On the referential level: time as a line, on which past and future defined as the one that is behind and the one that is ahead of the present. 2. On the semantic level present is general and unmarked.
3. On the grammatical level: English has no future form of the verb. Present is unmarked tense that expresses future. Present is called nonpast as well.

Situation types: Stative and dynamic verb senses
: 1. happenings take place in time denoted by verbs. 2. Can be expressed by an abstract noun (singular or plural). A verb can have both stative and dynamic meaning. For instance BE,HAVE,KNOW are stative verbs, they refer to states. But I have driven a sports car for years has a dynamic rather than stative meaning, because it refers to events. Dybamic verbs often imply an active performer of the action. That is why they regulary occur in imperative, but statives not. Dynamic verbs occur in claft sentences following do. What she did was to learn Spanish . There are some verbs in the cases of which making distinction is rather hard.


Meanings of the simple present with reference to present time:

1. Stative present: used without reference to specific time. Includes timeless statements or eternal truths’. Honesty is the best policy.
Scientific statements. We use it even if we know that the time span of the state is restricted to a certain degree: Everyone likes her.

2. Habitual present: They usually imply an unrestricted time span, but in this case it refers to a repeated sequence of events: Bill drinks heavily. A frequency adverbial can be added to specify the repetition. The state present refers to something which obtains at the time of speaking, this is unusual of the habitual present.

3. Instantaneous present: Refers to a single action that begun and completed approximately at the moment of speech. Singular count nouns. The event little duration. These are used in restricted situations: commentaries, demonstrations, special exclamatory sentences(off we go), performatives. In cease of the last one the verb is often a verb of speaking(advise,predict)describing the speech act of which it is a part. Must be simultanity between the speech and what it describes.

Special nonpresent uses of the present tense:

1. Simple present referring to the past.:
There is the historic present that describes the past as if it is happening now. So it conveys some dramatic immediacy of an eye-witness account. There are the verbs of communication: The ten o’clock news says… (understand, hear, learn) these refer to the end of the comm. process. In some cases the communication event took place in the past, its result is still operative. (Bible) The book of Genesis speaks of the terrible faith of Sodom and Gomorrah. Referring to writers, composers and their extant work. Also can be used for general artistic characterisation.


2. Simple present referring to the future: it suggests that the event is unalterably fixed in advance. The plane leaves at eight o’clock tonight. We use it in dependent clauses, partic. in conditional and temporal clauses. He’ll do it if you pay him.

3. Simple present in fictional narrative: close connection with historic present but the events are imaginery. The use in stage directions. Mallinson enters.

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