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What kind of time is Since 2000?

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What kind of time is Since 2000?

Unread postby TS » Sat May 19, 2007 3:44 am

I am the host of englishtense.com, and I am studying the nomenclature of Since.
Is "since 2000" a past time, present time, or future time? Thank you.
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Unread postby Kevin Vosper » Sat May 19, 2007 6:37 am

Dear TS

It's past time as in "Tony Blair has been Prime Minister since 2000." (Yes I know it's not strictly true but it is a good example).

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Unread postby TS » Sat May 19, 2007 4:42 pm

Kevin Vosper wrote:
(Yes I know it's not strictly true but it is a good example).

If it is not strictly true, why is it a good example?

What about "I have worked here since 2000"? That is, I am still working here. Is it a past time too? If it is, why do we use Present Perfect?
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Unread postby Kevin Vosper » Sun May 20, 2007 10:04 am

Dear TS

A good question. The answer is that I couldn't remember exactly when Tony Blair first came to power, it was of course 1997. So a better example would be "Tony Blair has been Prime Minister since 1997." The example is "good" in that it illustrates the fact that the present perfect deals with past time from the point "now." It looks back in time from the present (hence the term present perfect) into the past and is therefore used when either the exact date of an event is not important or when a situation may still be true. The following hopefully illustrate these points.

I went to America in 1987. (past simple)

I have been to America once. (present perfect)

I lived in Beijing for two years. (past simple)

I have lived in Beijing for two years. (present perfect)

The past simple in contrast deals with events which have ended e.g. I do not live in Beijing now, or with exact dates of events e.g. 1997.

Best wishes

Kevin Vosper
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Unread postby Kevin Vosper » Sun May 20, 2007 10:09 am

Sorry that last line should read 1987.

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Unread postby TS » Sun May 20, 2007 8:58 pm

Kevin Vosper wrote:So a better example would be "Tony Blair has been Prime Minister since 1987." The example is "good" in that it illustrates the fact that the present perfect deals with past time from the point "now." It looks back in time from the present (hence the term present perfect) into the past and is therefore used when either the exact date of an event is not important or when a situation may still be true.


Thank you for your explanation repeating what I have known of. "Since 1987" does illustrate exactly what you have described here. But my question is, what kind of time is "Since 1987", as now he is still the PM? If you want to dwell on the twilight zone of Blair's departure, I would like to go back to my own example below.

What about "I have worked here since 2000"? That is, I am still working here. What kind of time is "Since 2000"? Is it past, present, or future?
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Unread postby Kevin Vosper » Mon May 21, 2007 7:05 pm

Dear TS

Probably the best way to analyse your sentence is to take the linguistic approach and divide what most teachers call "tense" into its three basic parts. e.g tense, aspect and mood.

Tense refers to the way verb endings change in order to show differences in time for an event. In English there are two tenses, past and present.

Aspect refers to how we see the event e.g. as a whole, as an action of limited duration or as a view backwards from a certain point in time. In English this gives us the simple, the continious and the perfect.

Moods gives a psychological dimension to the verb phrase and usually, though not always, uses the modal verbs.

Refering back to your sentence what is important is the perfect aspect of the sentence in that it gives a certain perception of the event from the point "now." The question is it past, present or future time is really meaningless as it is dealing with a perception of time not a simple fact. As I've said before, the best description is to say that it looks back into the past from the present. It may suggest continuality into the future e.g. I'm still working here and will be next week, but this is not stated by the verb form itself.

The final form of an English verb is a combination of these three basic parts, each bringing a certain part of the meaning to the verb as a whole.

Best wishes

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Unread postby TS » Mon May 21, 2007 9:25 pm

Kevin Vosper wrote:Tense refers to the way verb endings change in order to show differences in time for an event. In English there are two tenses, past and present.


I am aware of this ABC, and I agree with you 100 percent. Now "I have worked here since 2000" obviously talks about time, as you will not deny. The question is what kind of time it is – past or present?
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Unread postby TS » Tue May 22, 2007 7:57 pm

May I ask one more question? What is the time of "in the past three months"?
Ex: He has worked there in the past three months.
Is it past, present, or future?
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Unread postby odyssey » Thu May 24, 2007 7:27 pm

If you are the host of englishtense.com, why do you have to ask these questions?
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