State verbs (be, love, feel, stand, stay, etc.) or forms of dynamic verbs



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When they lived in their grandmother’s house, they were allowed to sleep late, spend time watching TV and eat all the sweets they wanted. Their grandmother indulged every whim they had. They would go to fairs, visit the Zoo, they were even allowed to talk to the strange monkey that sat on an old man’s shoulder in the large square of the city. One day, however, their visits were discontinued and they never went back to that wonderful place. They left the city and were driven to a lonely place in the forest. They entered a large gloomy cottage, where a fire was burning in a small fireplace. Then they were left completely alone after they were told that they could no longer leave that forest again....

  • When they lived in their grandmother’s house, they were allowed to sleep late, spend time watching TV and eat all the sweets they wanted. Their grandmother indulged every whim they had. They would go to fairs, visit the Zoo, they were even allowed to talk to the strange monkey that sat on an old man’s shoulder in the large square of the city. One day, however, their visits were discontinued and they never went back to that wonderful place. They left the city and were driven to a lonely place in the forest. They entered a large gloomy cottage, where a fire was burning in a small fireplace. Then they were left completely alone after they were told that they could no longer leave that forest again....



State versus Dynamic

  • State versus Dynamic

  • Stories might start with passages in which a description is made (about the setting, about the characters, about the habits of the characters). You would expect to see a lot of Past

  • Simple forms that would be either forms of state verbs (be, love, feel, stand, stay, etc.) or forms of dynamic verbs (run, write, jump, work, etc.) used with a habitual value. Such descriptions are

  • followed by passages where a series of events are presented: sequences of events that create a story line. In these narrative, dynamic passages, the frame is set by one or two Past Continuous

  • forms and then strings of Past Simple verbs forms are employed to build the narrative. So, in a way, a story is often made up of a paragraph where a generalization is made and then more paragraphs follow in which events take place: this means that at least two values of the Simple Past are joined in the story: the habitual (static) value and the narrative (dynamic) value.



NOTA BENE! A Habitual Past Simple form may be replaced by a Past Continuous form when the person uttering the sentence containing it needs to imply a feeling of excitement or annoyance regarding the habit of the subject in the sentence.

  • NOTA BENE! A Habitual Past Simple form may be replaced by a Past Continuous form when the person uttering the sentence containing it needs to imply a feeling of excitement or annoyance regarding the habit of the subject in the sentence.



NOTA BENE! Past Tense Simple and Past Tense Continous are also used when one wants to express a polite request. This is the so-called ‘polite’ use of the Past Tense.

  • NOTA BENE! Past Tense Simple and Past Tense Continous are also used when one wants to express a polite request. This is the so-called ‘polite’ use of the Past Tense.

  • a. Go fetch my slippers!

  • b. Will you (please) go and fetch my slippers?

  • c. Could you go and fetch my slippers?

  • d. Would you be so kind as to go and fetch my slippers?

  • e. I was wondering if you could go and fetch my slippers.





RESULTATIVE

  • RESULTATIVE

  • CONTINUATIVE

  • EXPERIENTIAL

  • “HOT NEWS”



1)Oops, you’ve spilt the wine on your new dress! [Your dress is stained.]

  • 1)Oops, you’ve spilt the wine on your new dress! [Your dress is stained.]

  • (2)(Irritable Mother): Now you’ve done it! You’ve woken him up! [The baby is crying.]

  • (3)The elevator has broken down. [It doesn’t work any more.]

  • (4)What’s happened to Jim? [Jim looks ill.]

  • (5)Congratulations, you’ve done a great job. [We can use your work.]

  • (6)Look at him, he’s been drinking! [His speech is slurred, he is staggering.]

  • (7)I’ve been sleeping badly. [I look awful, I am tired.]



The result is implied and can be easily inferred about the events expressed.

  • The result is implied and can be easily inferred about the events expressed.

  • Types of situations: achievements and accomplishments



They have been married for 20 years.

  • They have been married for 20 years.

  • Sunt căsătoriţi de douăzeci de ani.

  • I haven’t been myself since he left me.

  • Nu mai sunt om de când m-a părăsit.

  • He’s been writing at his novel since morning.

  • Scrie la roman de dimineaţă.

  • The baby has been crying for an hour.

  • Bebeluşul plânge de un ceas.

  • She’s been trying to contact you all morning.

  • Toată dimineaţa a încercat să ia legătura cu tine.

  • The patient hasn’t left her bed for a week now.

  • Bolnavul nu s-a mai ridicat din pat de o săptămână



All these sentences express the continuation of a state or activity up to the present moment. It is important to notice that the continuative interpretation is provided by the presence of the durative time adverbials (for a week, since 1985, all this time, etc.).

  • All these sentences express the continuation of a state or activity up to the present moment. It is important to notice that the continuative interpretation is provided by the presence of the durative time adverbials (for a week, since 1985, all this time, etc.).



The patient hasn’t left the bed. (= he’s been behaving himself, he’s been good, he is here, ready for treatment, etc.)

  • The patient hasn’t left the bed. (= he’s been behaving himself, he’s been good, he is here, ready for treatment, etc.)

  • Let’s generalize!

  • It is the combination between a Present Perfect form and a durative adverbial that provides the continuative interpretation.



(1) I have seen Avatar at least ten times.

  • (1) I have seen Avatar at least ten times.

  • Am văzut Avatar de cel puţin zece ori.

  • (2) I’ve never shirked duty myself.

  • Eu unul n-am dat niciodată bir cu fugiţii de la datorie.

  • (3) We’ve met John before.

  • Îl cunoşti pe John.

  • (4) I’ve always preferred to do the chores first thing in the morning.

  • Întotdeauna am preferat să îmi termin toate treburile dimineaţa.

  • (5) I haven’t met anyone as stubborn as you.

  • N-am mai întâlnit om aşa de încăpăţânat ca tine.

  • (6) I’ve been to The Tower of London and, let me tell you, it is quite an experience.

  • Am fost la Turnul Londrei şi nu greşesc când spun că a fost o adevărată experienţă.

  • (7) Where have I heard this song before?

  • Oare unde am mai auzit cântecul ăsta?



These sentences have some important points in common:

  • These sentences have some important points in common:

  • a) They refer to past events.

  • b) These past events are presented as past experience that has some influence over the

  • present moment.

  • c) Frequency is implied (how many times the subject has had the experience, how often,

  • if at all, etc.) or overtly stated (by means of time adverbials of frequency such as

  • never, ever, always, often, rarely, etc.)



SITUATION TYPES:

  • SITUATION TYPES:

  • Dynamic situations: activities, accomplishments, achievements



Jamaican Authorities Seize 3, 300 Warheads

  • Jamaican Authorities Seize 3, 300 Warheads

  • KINGSTON, Jamaica) — Police in Jamaica say authorities have seized 3,300 missile warheads and a machine to make missiles and bullets. Deputy Police Superintendent Steve Brown said Friday that custom officials discovered the weapons late Thursday aboard a ship at Kingston Wharf. He declined to say where the shipment originated from or its

  • destination. No one has been arrested.

  • Brown told reporters that police are seeking helping from international agencies after their findings. He said it was the first time authorities had made such a discovery.

  • (http://world.time.com/2013/11/29/jamaican-authorities-seize-3300-warheads/)



Two important items of news are discussed in the text above: the apprehension of a

  • Two important items of news are discussed in the text above: the apprehension of a

  • number of missile warheads and the fact that no arrests were made. The author chooses to

  • make use of the ‘Hot News’ Present Perfect to emphasise upon the fact that this is the most

  • recent information he has on the subject. The text is otherwise built in a narrative style, by

  • means of Past Simple forms (see the words in italics). We might conclude that the ‘Hot News’

  • Present Perfect appears as a sort of a stylistic device, embedded in a narrative so as to

  • buttonhole the reader and give him the impression that he is in possession of the latest news.

  • The literature treats this value of Present Perfect as derived from the Resultative one.



Consider the following texts and comment upon the values of the underlined forms:

  • Consider the following texts and comment upon the values of the underlined forms:

  • This is how Buddhist temples have tested applicants going back for bahzillion years, Tyler says. You tell the applicant to go away, and if his resolve is so strong that he waits at the entrance without food or shelter or encouragement for three days, then and only then can he enter and begin the training.

  • (Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk)



NOTA BENE!

  • NOTA BENE!

  • CONTEXT IS CRUCIAL WHEN INTERPRETING PRESENT PERFECT FORMS!

  • TO USE PRESENT PERFECT CORRECTLY YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY THE CLUES IN THE CONTEXT.



I have written a novel.

  • I have written a novel.

  • Am scris un roman.

  • (36) I have been writing a novel (for a year).

  • Scriu la un roman (de un an).

  • She has read the Harry Potter books.

  • A citit cărţile cu Harry Potter.

  • She’s been reading the Harry Potter books (for some time now).

  • Citeşte cărţile cu Harry Potter (de ceva vreme).

  • I’ve received threat letters.

  • Am primit (nişte) scrisori de ameninţare.

  • I’ve been receiving threat letters (lately).

  • Am tot primit scrisori de ameninţare. /În ultima vreme primesc scrisori de ameninţare.

  • It’s snowed.

  • A nins.

  • (42) It’s been snowing (for some time now).

  • S-a pornit să ningă (şi încă ninge).



Present Perfect Continuous sentences are often continuative in meaning.

  • Present Perfect Continuous sentences are often continuative in meaning.



(1) ?She has drunk.

  • (1) ?She has drunk.

  • (2) She has been drinking.

  • (3) ?Bill has fought.

  • (4) Bill has been fighting.

  • (5) ?They haven’t slept.

  • (6) They haven’t been sleeping.



The sentences above may be interpreted as resultative with an emphasis on the results. The effects are still very visibile/have a major impact on the speaker.

  • The sentences above may be interpreted as resultative with an emphasis on the results. The effects are still very visibile/have a major impact on the speaker.



NOTA BENE!

  • NOTA BENE!

  • THE PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS IS MAINLY INTERPRETED AS

  • CONTINUATIVE. HOWEVER, CONTEXT IS CRUCIAL IN INTERPRETING THE

  • TENSE FORM CORRECTLY!

  • SOMETIMES THE VALUE IS RESULTATIVE





She has won first prize! (Present Perfect)

  • She has won first prize! (Present Perfect)

  • A luat premiul întâi!

  • She won first prize in 2010. (Past Simple)

  • A luat premiul întâi în 2010.



I played tennis with Elvis Presley.

  • I played tennis with Elvis Presley.

  • Am jucat tennis cu Elvis Presley.

  • *I have played tennis with Elvis Presley.



Let’s generalize!

  • Let’s generalize!

  • The Past Adverb Constraint

  • Present Perfect is not to be combined with a [+THEN] adverbial.



[+THEN] adverbials: co-occur

  • [+THEN] adverbials: co-occur

  • with Past Tense (then, yesterday, long ago)

  • [±THEN] adverbials:

  • co-occur with both

  • Past Tense and

  • Present Perfect (today, recently, for two years)

  • [-THEN] adverbials:

  • co-occur with Present

  • Perfect (at present, up till now, lately)



  • We met at a restaurant on Monday.

  • Luni ne-am întâlnit la un restaurant.

  • * We have met at a restaurant on Monday.



  • NOTA BENE!

  • IN ENGLISH, PRESENT PERFECT CANNOT OCCUR WITH [+ THEN]

  • ADVERBIALS OF TIME AND CANNOT BE USED TO NARRATE PAST EVENTS.




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