Why Past Simple in "The Chinese invented printing"

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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Why Past Simple in "The Chinese invented printing"

Unread post by juliakoru » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:15 am

Dear colleagues, I need your help. It says in Grammar in Use "do not use Present Perfect if there is no connection with the present, for example things that happened a long time ago"
The examples to this statement are:
Beethhoven was a great composer (this one my students get)
The Chinese invented printing - this brought up a lot of questions, because the students clearly see the connection with the present, that is: printing is still used and the Chinese is not a dead nation. I did not know what to say and I promised I'd consult my colleagues about this.
So what would be the clear explanation? Also, if you know books, videos, whatever that gives complete and clear explanation of Simple-Perfect usage, please share! I'd be so much grateful...

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Re: Why Past Simple in "The Chinese invented printing"

Unread post by Joe » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:06 am

Printing and the Chinese are continuing in the present, but the actual act of invention is in the past.

The Chinese have used printing presses for a long time.
The Chinese invented printing.

I hope these pages on verbs and tenses will help you.

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