2.2. Simple Past Tense Sentences - unibuc by wuzhengqin

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Ileana Baciu 2010-2011 Verbal Categories in English

                           THE CATEGORY OF TENSE

1.Time vs. Tense
1.1. The generally accepted definition of the category of Tense, as a category delimiting
the part of speech verb, explains Tense as representing ‘the chronological order of events
in time as perceived by the speaker at the moment of speaking’. The notions to be
accounted for in this definition are: chronological order, Time and moment of speaking.
These notions will be clarified in what follows.
1.1.1. Such notions as change or motion – the latter understood as change in location –,
which, as we have seen, are important notions in the conceptual/semantic delimitation
of situation/eventuality types, are possible only through and in the representation of
Time. Moreover, as already mentioned, the conceptual properties of a ‘situation’ are
visible only as the situation unfolds in Time.
        To exemplify, ‘the presence of a thing in one place and its non-presence at the
same place can be perceived by a human subject if and only if these two contradictory
properties are placed sequentially, one after another, that is in ‘Time’ (Stefanescu
1988:216). What this actually means is that ‘Time ‘ ( just like Space) is the form of our
experience of the world. This means that (for human beings) Time is an epistemic notion
not an ontological notion1.
        If Time can be viewed as being not a determination of outward phenomena, then
it has to do with neither shape or form. Currently, this want is supplied by analogies and
the course of Time is represented by a line progressing to infinity. This linear
representation of Time preserves the sequential character (i.e. chronological order) of
our perception of the world. We perceive Time in the same way we perceive Space, i.e.
we cannot live in two times simultaneously as we cannot, at the same time, occupy two
spatial locations. It means that when Time is measured by lived-through eventualities
the measurement is unidirectional, i.e. forwards.
        Time is a single unbounded dimension, conceptually analogous to Space. Just as
an orientation point is needed to locate positions in space, so an orientation point is
needed to locate situations in time.
         As already suggested in the previous chapter, in natural languages the basic
orientation point is the time of utterance (UT-T) (i.e. the moment of speaking), which is
always the Present, that is to say that linguistic communication centers at the speaker. All
linguistic expressions (such as: adverbs : here, there, tomorrow etc.; pronouns: I, you,
this, that) that are related to the time of speech are known as deictic (i.e. pointing)
expressions. The speaker’s centrality enables the identification of time and place. It also
implies an organizing consciousness which provides a temporal standpoint ‘ from which
the speaker invites his audience to consider the event’ (Smith 1991:138).
         Every sentence has a temporal standpoint (identified as AS-T), in simple cases
the same as the temporal location of the situation (EV-T). Generally sentences about the
Present have a present standpoint, and sentences about the Past and Future have past
and future standpoints, respectively.
        As already mentioned, Time is conventionally represented as a straight line
stretching in both directions from Utterance Time. Such a representation is given in (1)
below:

1
  Ontological: relating to the study of existence. Situation types are viewed as ontological categories. Epistemic:
(from Greek episteme knowledge) (approx) something discovered through sense/experience.
2



       (1) Time line:        -------------------UT-T---------------------
                             Past              Present                    Future

         On the Time line, times and situations are located at moments or intervals
relative to the Time of utterance. The situations may occur in order (i.e. sequentially) or
they may overlap, wholly or in part.
         All sentences give us temporal information which helps us locate in Time the
situation talked about. This temporal information is given by Tense morphemes and time
adverbials.
1.1.2 Tense is a functional category, expressed by a set of verbal inflections or other
verbal forms, that expresses ‘a temporal relation to an orientation point’( Smith, 1991).
         Tenses have consistent relational values: anteriority, posteriority or
simultaneity. Tenses may have a fixed or flexible orientation. Tenses with fixed
orientation are always related to UT-T. Whenever tenses, or rather, Tense systems are
oriented to the moment of speech (i.e. the speaker) we say that they are used deictically
(i.e. they are interpreted as pointing expressions, just like adverbs (tomorrow, now, here,
there) or pronouns (this, that, I, you)).
         The traditional term for tenses that relate to UT-T is absolute tenses. Tenses that
relate to an orientation time other than UT-T are known as relative tenses .
         Not all temporal reference is made by Tense. In English, the Future is indicated
by another type of morpheme, the modal auxiliary shall/will. It is also common to have a
combination of present tense (or present tense progressive in English) and future time
adverbial that indicates the future, sometimes called Futurate.
         Some languages have tenses that indicate Present, Past and Future. Some others
have a tense distinction between past and non-past, still others have a distinction
between present and non-present. Some languages (e.g. Mandarin Chinese, Malay,
Classical Hebrew) do not have the functional category of Tense. For these languages
temporal location is expressed directly by adverbials and indirectly by (viewpoint)
aspect.
         There are also languages where tenses contribute temporal location as well as
aspectual value, i.e. aspectual viewpoint may also be conveyed by Tense. The French
‘Impairfait’ and the Romanian ‘Imperfect’, for instance, may also convey a general
imperfective viewpoint. In English, as we have seen, the expression of aspectual
viewpoint is independent of Tense.

1.2. Temporal Adverbials

Alongside Tense, temporal adverbials help us locate in time the situations talked about.
As we have seen in our discussion of Aspect, temporal adverbials also contribute to the
aspectual interpretation of sentences. The classification we adopt has been standardly
recognized since Bennett and Hall-Partee (1972,1978) and Smith (1978), and the list
below has been borrowed from Crainiceanu (1997).
       Temporal adverbials fall into the following classes: (a) locating adverbials (Smith
1978/)1991) or frame adverbials (Bennett &Hall Partee, 1972); (b) duration adverbials;
(c) completive adverbials (Smith, 1991) or containers; (d) frequency adverbials.
       Our discussion of temporal adverbials will consider first those under (b) and (c)
above, i.e. duration adverbials and completive adverbials, respectively, because these
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types of adverbials also have an aspectual value, requiring compatibility with the
situation type.
A. Duration adverbials include the following expressions: for three weeks/a month/a
day, for a while, since the war/Christmas, at night, all the afternoon, half the afternoon, for
hours, all the time, over the weekend, through August, a few days, during the war, always,
permanently, all day long, throughout, from June to/till October, all day/night long, etc.
Duration adverbials have been defined as:

- indicating the duration of the described event by specifying the length of time that is
asserted to take (Bennett & Hall- Partee, 1978);
- expressing measures of time that are not specifically confined to future or past (Quirk,
1985)
- contributing to the location of a situation in time (Smith, 1991)

The definitions above suggest that duration adverbials have aspectual value: they are
compatible with atelic sentences and odd with telics, that is to say that duration
adverbials are sensitive to the aspectual character of the eventuality description they
combine with. They are restricted to homogeneous eventualities/situations (processes
and states) as the examples below indicate:

         (2)      (i)      Susan was asleep for two hours (atelic)
                  (ii)      Andrew swam for three hours (atelic)
                   (iii)   (?)John wrote a/the report for two hours (telic)
                   (iv)     *The train arrived late for 2 hours

    De Swart (1998) adopting current views (Vet, 1994, Moens,1987 and others) points
out that duration adverbials bring in a notion of boundedness.
    According to Smith (1991) the role of a single durational with atelic situation types is
to locate an eventuality within the stated interval,. The interpretation of the sentences
above is that the situation denoted by the predicate (the verb phrase =VP) lasts at least
as long as the denotation of the durative adverbial. Whenever the situation type features
and the adverbial features are compatible, the standard interpretation of the adverbial is
to locate the situation within the stated interval.
        Whenever telic events occur in the context of duration adverbials there is a clash
between the aspectual properties of the situation type and the aspectual properties of
the adverbials. Such clashes are resolved by a shift in the value of the verb constellation
which receive a marked interpretation. De Swart (1998) building on ideas developed by
Moens (1987) assumes that the contextual reinterpretation is made possible by the
process called coercion.2
        Instantaneous atelic eventualities (semelfactives)3 in the scope of durative
adverbials and durative telic verb constellations (accomplishments) are reinterpreted as
atelic/durative in the context of durationals:

2
  Coercion is viewed as an operator that would yield an eventuality of the appropriate type which, then, can
combine with the durative adverbial to result in a bounded process. The value of the operator is dependent on
linguistic context and world knowledge
3
  The incompatibility of atelic instantaneous eventualities of the ‘knock’ type suggests that actually the feature
that characterizes durationals is as their name suggest [+durative]. One of the reasons to include such predicates
within the class of achievements must have been the incompatibility of these predicates with this class of
adverbials.
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       (3)     (i)      I read a book for a few minutes.
               (ii)    Jerry wrote a report for two hours.
               (iii)   John knocked on the door for two hours.

        The event of book -reading and report-writing is coerced into a process; so is the
semelfactive, which gives the sentence an iterative reading (i.e. the knocking is that of a
process of the multiple- event type; actually an instantaneous atelic eventuality is
interpreted as ‘durative’). The two telic events (3a,b) are not interpreted as involving
natural endpoints. It is to be noticed that the direct object NPs are indefinite.
        In the case of accomplishments with definite NPs in object position the sentence
is interpreted as a process of the multiple-event type (i.e. an iterative reading) or as a
state (i.e. iterative/habitual reading); the same interpretation is valid for achievement
predicates. It is true that in the examples below the form of the adverbial crucially
contributes to the habitual reading:

       (4)     (i)     John played the sonata for 2 hours.
               (ii)    For years, Mary went to school in the morning.
               (iii)   For months, the train arrived late.

        We think that a distinction should be made between the example in (4c) above
and the example borrowed from Dowty (1979) and given in (4’) below. In this latter
case, (as already mentioned) the entire situation is interpreted as a process (habitual of
the multiple-event type) due to the uncountable NP in direct object position, i.e. the
adverbial takes in its scope a process predication not an achievement predication:

       (4’)    All that summer, John found crabgrass in his yard

       We have to stress the fact, acknowledged by linguists, that the felicity of an
aspectual reinterpretation is strongly dependent on linguistic context and knowledge of
the world as the example below indicates. In this case there is no possible shifted
interpretation and the sentence is odd:

       (5)     (??)Mary reached the top for an hour

B. Completive adverbials are also known as containers (or adverbials of the interval
(Smith, 1991)) and include expressions like in 2 hours, within two months, and their
role is to locate a situation/eventuality at an interval during which the event is
completed/culminates.
        Aspectually, completive adverbials are telic. The assumption, then, is that they
are compatible with telic eventualities and odd with atelics. The examples below
(borrowed from Smith 1991:157) confirm this assumption:

       (6)     (i)     John drew a circle in five seconds
               (ii)    Mary wrote a sonnet in ten minutes
               (iii)   ?Bill swam laps in an hour
               (iv)    ?Mary believed in ghosts in an hour

        Since completives denote an interval within which the situation occurred/took
place, the atelic situations in (6iii,iv) are difficult to interpret. If they can be understood
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at all, they impose an ingressive interpretation to the entire sentence, in the sense that
the adverbials refer to an interval elapsed before the beginning of the situation and not
to an interval during which the situation occurs. Depending on linguistic context and
knowledge of the world the sentence in (6iii) above may also be reinterpreted as telic in
the context of completive adverbials, i.e. the reinterpretation may ascribe a natural
endpoint to the eventuality. The possible readings for (6iii) would be as in (7i,ii) below
and (7iii) for (6iv):

       (7)    (i)     Bill swam his planned number of laps (with)in an hour.
              (ii)    In/After an hour, Bill swam his laps.
              (iii)   At the end of/after an hour she began to believe in ghosts.

As far as (6iv) is concerned, the eventuality is taken as inchoative, as the paraphrase in
(7iii) shows. The inchoative is an Achievement and has the ingressive interpretation that
standardly occurs for achievements (and semelfactives, for that matter) with completive
adverbials as in the following examples:

       (8)    (i)     They reached the top in ten minutes.
              (ii)    He won the race in ten minutes.
              (iii)   She knocked at the door in ten minutes.

Another clash is to be noticed with the imperfective viewpoint. Telic adverbials are
incompatible with the progressive aspect. According to Smith (1991:159), in general, all
imperfectives in combination with completive adverbials have an ingressive reading, i.e.
the eventualities occurs at the end of the time interval referred to by the adverbial. The
example below has such a reading:

       (9)            In an hour, Bill was walking to work.

C. Frequency adverbials also give information that contributes to the temporal location
of a situation (Smith 1991). Specifically they indicate the recurrent pattern of situations
within the reference interval. The adverbial expression of frequency reinforces the
notion of repetition, iteration:

       (10)   (i)     Samuel cycles to work most days, every day.
              (ii)    We always/often went to the mountains in wintertime

As already mentioned such sentences express a series of individual events which, as a
whole, make a state of the habitual type. Examples of frequency adverbials are:
frequently, on Sundays, never, sometimes, often, whenever, monthly, daily, once a week,
every week/month/year, usually, seldom, etc.
D. Locating Adverbials (or Frame Adverbials). This type of adverbials contribute to
the specification of Situation Time or Assertion Time. Generally, sentences with one time
adverbial specify Assertion Time.
    As the name ‘frame’ adverbial indicates, they refer to ‘ an interval of time within
which the described action is asserted to have taken place’ (Bennett& Hall Partee, 1978).
The situation talked about in the sentence fills all or part of the time specified by the
adverbial (Smith, 1991).
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    Just like Tense, frame adverbials require an orientation point, and just like Tense
they mirror the three possible temporal relations: simultaneity, anteriority and
posteriority. Frame adverbials have the role ‘to locate situations in time by relating them
to other times or to other situations (Smith, 1991). According to the time of orientation
they indicate we can distinguish three classes:

    (i)       Deictic adverbials: which are oriented to the time of utterance. Such
              adverbials are represented by the following expressions: now, today, last
              Sunday, last week, this week/year, tomorrow, next week, the day after
              tomorrow, tonight, a week ago, etc. As can be noticed, all adverbials in this
              class refer to some specific time span which is related to some other specific
              time span which is UT-T, but most of them give only the ‘maximal boundaries’
              of the time span(s) in question (Klein, 1992)
    (ii)      Anaphoric adverbials include time expressions that ‘relate to a previously
              established time’ (Smith, 1978) such as : until, till, in the evening, on Sunday, at
              night, early, before, in three days, on Christmas, at lunchtime, two years later, in
              March, already, etc. In this case too, we have only the ‘maximal boundary’ of
              the time span in question.
    (iii)     Referential adverbials which refer to a time established by clock or calendar
              (Smith, 1978), such as: at six, August 19, in 1987, etc

     The time adverbials that are explicitly related to the time of utterance are known as
‘anchored’ adverbials. Deictic adverbs are ‘anchored’ adverbials. The last two classes are
known as being ‘unanchored’, i.e. they are not anchored to the utterance time, their
interpretation is made possible by an orientation point other than the time of utterance.
According to their form, frame adverbials can be (i) simple or (ii) complex.
(i)Simple adverbials include expressions like :now, yesterday, tomorrow
(ii) Complex adverbials exhibit two types of complexity:

                  (a) the complex adverbial consists of two or several concatenated
                  adverbs: yesterday afternoon, tomorrow morning at 5. Complex time
                  adverbials, in these cases, are taken as single units in temporal
                  interpretation establishing the interval of time within which the described
                  action is asserted to have taken place . For examples like the one below the
                  complex adverbial, in conjunction with the tense morpheme, specifies AS-
                  T:

           (11)   Bill visited us last Sunday afternoon.

                  b) the complex adverbial may consist of a preposition and a nominal, the
                  entire group forming one constituent syntactically:

           (12)   Phyllis decorated the cake before last night.

       In simple tense sentences (i.e. without morphological aspect) the relation
between the EV-T and AS-T is taken to be simultaneous, or rather EV-T is
included/within AS-T. In such cases, we may consider the adverbial, in conjunction to
the Tense morpheme to specify EV-T. To conclude, with simple tense forms in root
clauses the Event/Situation time is non-distinct from Assertion Time regarding their
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relative order to Utterance Time, hence we can assume that with simple tenses
adverbials actually specify EV-T.


2.0. The syntax and interpretation of tenses in root sentences
        As we have already mentioned there are three times that are required for the
temporal-aspectual interpretation of sentences. The three times involved are Utterance
Time (UT-T) , Assertion Time (AS-T) and Situation Time(Sit-T), also known in the
literature as Event Time (EV-T)
         Adopting current approaches we define Utterance Time as the time at which the
event of uttering the sentence takes place and it may function as an ‘anchoring’ event for
another event or time interval defined as Assertion Time. AS-T has a dual role: it is part
of the system of temporal location for complex sentences, and it gives the temporal
standpoint of a sentence i.e. the locus from which the situation talked about is presented.
        The Assertion Time is explicitly given by the finite component of an utterance, i.e.
by the tense morpheme on the verb or auxiliary and represents the ‘anchoring’ time for
the interval when the situation denoted by the predicate occurs. Locating adverbials like
yesterday, on Sunday etc. generally specify Assertion Time.
        Event Time is the time interval at which the situation ‘occurs’ or ‘holds’. It is
related to whatever is expressed by the nonfinite component of the utterance (the ‘lexical
(semantic) content’ of the utterance).
        Tense is defined as a relation between AS-T and UT-T, while Aspect relates EV-T
to AS-T. We have also mentioned the fact that in the simple tense forms EV-T and AS-T
time are non-distinct regarding their relative order to UT-T and in such cases UT-T can
be taken to be the orientation/reference point for the time of the situation/event.
        In the simple tenses, therefore, Tense relates the time of utterance, which
functions as reference/anchoring point, and the time at which the situation denoted by
the VP occurs or holds (EV-T/AS-T). AS-T, as we have seen is important for the
progressive forms and, as we shall see, for the Perfect forms and the Futurate.
        The standard assumption is that in the simple tenses UT-T may precede
(BEFORE), follow (AFTER) or be included (WITHIN) in the EV-T/AS-T:

                 UT-T BEFORE EV-T/AS-T = PAST [-ED]
                 UT-T AFTER EV-T/AS-T = FUTURE [WILL]
                 UT-T WITHIN EV-T/AS-T = PRESENT [-S]

        The discussion so far has tried to highlight the fact that both Tense and Aspect
relate two times. This parallelism can be captured syntactically (Stowell 1993,
Demirdache&Uribe-Etxebarria, 2000) by proposing that Aspect (Asp) and Tense (T) are
in fact dyadic predicates of spatio-temporal ordering that take as arguments time-
denoting phrases.4 T takes as external argument UT-T (in root sentences) and AS-T as an
internal argument ; Asp takes AS-T as external argument and EV-T as internal
argument.
         The phrase structure for temporal relations looks like:




4
 The representation in (13) is the syntactic phrase structure of the linear temporal representation given in the
chapter on Aspect.
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(13)                 TP


         UT-T                      T’


                     T                  AspP



                           AS-T                      Asp’



                                               Asp               VP


                                                 EV-T                  VP


T is a spatio-temporal predicate with the meaning of AFTER (past), BEFORE (future) or
WITHIN (present). ASP, in its turn is also a spatio-temporal predicate with the meaning
of AFTER (perfect aspect), BEFORE (prospective aspect) or WITHIN (progressive
aspect). Whenever ASP (or T) lack morphological content, the external argument and
the internal argument are co-indexed; this co-indexation indicates that the two
times/events overlap or coincide. One such particular case occurs in sentences with
morphological tense but without morphological aspect – that is the simple tenses. In such
cases, as already mentioned EV-T = AS-T (i.e. EV-T is WITHIN or included in AS-T). In
such cases they are considered as non-distinct regarding their relative order to UT-T.
Whenever Asp has no morphological content the event is portrayed in its entirety –as
including both its initial and its final bounds (perfective viewpoint aspect, in Smith’s
(1991) classification)
        Time adverbs, just like tenses and aspects, are taken to be phrases headed by a
two-place spatio-temporal predicate representing the temporal structure in the syntax
and establishing a relation of inclusion (WITHIN)), precedence (BEFORE) and
subsequence (AFTER).
        The proposal put forth by Demirdache&Uribe-Etxebarria, (2004) holds for all
types of time adverbials – locational or durational adverbs expressed syntactically as
bare NPs (Christmas, yesterday) , PPs (after/at/ before last week/Christmas), temporal
clauses (CPs) (while I was reading the book/when he came/since/after she left).
        Recall that these adverbs have been taken to be able to restrict the reference of
AS-T or that of EV-T. Here is an example of the way time adverbs can be integrated
within the model proposed by Demirdache&Uribe-Etxebarria, (2004):

         (14)        (i)           Susan left at/after/before midnight.
                     TP


         Ut-T        T’


                     T                  AspP
             after

                     Ass-Ti                    Asp’


         Ass-Ti               PP               Asp          VP


                    P    DP
       at/after/before midnight                        Ev-Ti          VP
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The example above illustrates the grammar of Past Tense simple. Past Tense orders the
UT-T after the AS-T. The AS-T is co-indexed (i.e. temporally coincides) with EV-T since
Asp has no morphological content. Co-indexation entails that the event described is
portrayed in its entirety –as including both its initial and final bounds. The UT-T, is thus
ordered after the AST-T/ EV-T , yielding the past (and perfective) interpretation.
       The PP in (14), as already argued , serves to restrict the reference of the event
described by the sentence – Susan left -. Syntactically, it functions as a restrictive
modifier of a time-denoting expression – the AS-T or EV-T. In our particular case (i.e
example 14) AS-T is co-temporal with EV-T, hence we get a non-distinct interpretation.
The temporal representation above describes a past event, since the UT-T in (14b) is
located after the AS-T – itself co-temporal with EV-T (perfective aspect). The
preposition has as external argument the AS-T and as internal argument the adverbial
NP –midnight. So, what the preposition does is to restrict the reference of the time span
denoted by AS-T (past) to the time designated by the internal argument of the
preposition, i.e. midnight. Since the AS-T is co-temporal with EV-T the PP indirectly
provide a location time for the EV-T of the situation described by (14a).
       Consider next the past perfect sentence illustrated in 15(a) below, which is
assigned the temporal structures in (15b,c):

       15)           a)           Susan had left London at noon
                     a’)          At noon, Susan had left London


       b)            TP


       UT-T                       T’


                     T                 AspP
             after

                         AS-T            Asp’


            AS-T     PP         Asp        VP
                                        after

              P          DP
              at                                   EV-T        VP


       c)            TP


       UT-T               T’


                     T                 AspP
             after

                     AS-T                  Asp’


                                         Asp      VP
                                       after


                                                  EV-T    VP
10

                         EV-T   PP

                                 at      DP




        The past perfect sentence in (15a) (without the time adverbial) presents Susan’s
departure as having culminated before a reference time, the AS-T, which is itself ordered
by Tense prior to UT-T. In this case the AS-T and the EV-T are disjoint in reference. It
can be naturally predicted that the addition of a temporal adverbial will yield two
interpretations for (15a) , but not for (15a’), depending on whether the adverbial
modifies the Event Time or the Assertion Time, as illustrated in (15b,c).
        In (15b) the time adverb modifies the AS-T. Susan’s departure is presented as
having occurred prior to AS-T, which is set at 7 p.m. (i.e. Susan’s leaving occurs prior to 7
p.m.) In (15c) the time adverb is predicated of the EV-T, the preposition AT restricting
the time of the event to the interval designated by 7 p.m. (i.e. Susan’s leaving occurred at
7 p.m.)
        It is a well-known fact that time adverbs may occur at the end or at the beginning
of the sentence.
        It is generally assumed that whenever the time adverb occurs in sentence initial
position the time adverb is generally taken to specify AS-T. Hence such a sentence will
have the temporal representation in (15b) above, where the time adverb modifies AS-T.
2.1 Indefinite Present Tense Sentences. It is generally assumed that the Simple
Present Tense is, par excellence, a deictic tense. Situations reported in the Present enjoy
both psychological being at the present moment (Leech, 1971) and actual being at now.
         The ‘interpretive’ constraint (to be accounted for below) that affects present
tense sentences, is that ‘present tense sentences may not include the endpoints of
situations’. Sentences in the Simple Present refer to open situations except for marked uses.
        As a consequence, in the Present tense and the perfective viewpoint stative
sentences have their normal (open) interpretation (recall that the perfective does not
span the endpoints of States) while non-stative verb constellations have a derived
habitual/generic interpretation. As such, from an aspectual point of view all non-stative
predicates in the simple present tense recategorize as stative (Smith, 1991). This
generalization accounts for two of the uses of the indefinite present tense, i.e. the
generic and the habitual use.
         Linguists and grammarians have distinguished among several uses of the
indefinite/simple present tense (Leech, 1971, Binnick 1991, etc). These include:

        the generic value;
        the habitual value;
        the instantaneous/reportive value ;
        the past time (historical) value;
        the future value or futurate.

       This wide distribution of the Simple Present is not to be regarded as indicative of
the polysemy of this temporal form; the Simple Present has a core meaning irrespective
of context, i.e. the Simple Present places the UT-T within the AS-T/EV-T.
       The past and future values ascribed to the Simple Present should be regarded as a
composite of tense information, lexical aspect and the contribution of adverbs.

2.1.1 The Simple Present Tense and Perfectivity
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        In the previous chapter we argued that, generally, sentences in the simple tense
form have a closed, perfective interpretation. The simple present tense, nevertheless, is an
exception to this generalization, in the sense that the simple present tense is
incompatible with perfective (closed) readings. This constraint is valid for all Germanic
and Romance languages but the consequences are different.
       A consequence of the above-mentioned constraint for English is that the simple
present tense of durative events (activities and accomplishments) cannot be used to
refer to one particular instance/ occurrence of the situation denoted by the predicate
and have the continuous /imperfective interpretation, i.e. in English the simple present
tense cannot be used to describe a non-stative, dynamic event unfolding at UT-T, unlike
in other Germanic languages and Romance languages. Compare the sentences below:

(16)      a) Mary smokes.
          b) Maria fumeaza./Maria raucht.
          c) Mary eats an apple.
          d) Maria mananca un mar./Maria isst ein Apfel.
          e) Mary loves John.
          f) Maria il iubeste pe Ion./Hannah liebt Johann.

        Of all the examples in (16) it is only the last two (i.e. 16 e,f) where there are no
interpretive differences between English and Romanian/German. The sentences in (16
e, f) mean that a certain state holds of the subject at the Utterance Time.
        The examples in (16a-d) include predicates belonging to the class of
accomplishments and activities and, as can be noticed, the English sentences cannot have
the imperfective /continuous reading, that is they cannot mean that ‘Mary is presently
involved in an event of smoking or eating an apple’, respectively.
        The Romanian/German sentences allow these readings, i.e. they may describe
one particular occurrence of an ongoing, continuous event. In order to get the ongoing
reading in English, the present progressive must be used with such predicates.
        The neutral interpretation one would assign to the English sentences in (16 a,c)
above would be habituality5. Actually, this reading is also available for the other
Germanic and Romance languages. Habitual sentences are defined as ‘characterizing’
sentences that describe a generalization over patterns of events.
        Interestingly, English is not different from the other languages as far as the other
possible interpretations of the sentences in (16) above are concerned. The sentences
admit the so-called reportive/instantaneouse reading, where an event is described as
perfective but its time is not directly related to the utterance time. Under the
instantaneous reading, the interval of time normally associated with the event is
telescoped to a point. The sentences are assumed to have a dramatic interpretation
having nothing to do with real time, i.e. the event is not directly anchored to the
utterance time. Such sentences are grammatical as commentary on a picture, movie or
book or when uttered by a radio commentator. Consider the following examples
borrowed from Georgi&Pianesi (1997:153) and Palmer (1978):

         (17)     (i)       In ‘Gone with the wind’ Scarlet writes a letter.


5
  Recall that the difference between statives and non-statives in the Present tense has been used as a test for
stativity. If a constellation has only a habitual action reading with simple (i.e. perfective) aspect and Present
Tense, it is non-stative.
12


              (ii)    Napier takes the ball and runs down the wing. He passes the ball to
                      Attwater. Attwater beats two men, he shoots. It’s a goal!

       More will be said about the availability of this interpretation of the simple
present tense in due time.
       As far as present tense achievement/semelfactive predicates are concerned, the
continuous /imperfective reading is unavailable in all Germanic and Romance
languages:

       (18)   (i)     Susan finds a book.
              (ii)    Maria gaseste o carte.
              (iii)   Hans findet ein Buch.

        Achievements/semelfactives have the lexical property that they are single stage
situations, that is they lack a processual stage. Therefore, achievements/semelfactives
always denote closed events. This property holds cross-linguistically. In none of the
languages above can the sentences be interpreted as ongoing at Utterance Time.
        To summarize, the problems related to the present tense sentences that are to be
accounted for are as follows:

       (a)        In English, unlike in other Germanic languages and Romance languages,
                  present tense sentences with an accomplishment or activity predicate
                  can never describe one particular ongoing/ continuous event;
       (b)        The imperfective reading with present tense achievement/semelfactive
                  predicates is unavailable in all Germanic and Romance languages;
       (c)        The impossibility of the simple present tense with the perfective
                  interpretation as a default.

2.1.2. In the chapter on ‘Aspect’ we argued, following current research, that non-stative
predicates (i.e. dynamic) in the simple/indefinite present are neutrally interpreted as
habitual/generic.
        The assumption underlying the conclusion above is that a sentence with ‘the
perfective viewpoint’ presents a sentence with the endpoint (i.e. temporal) properties of
its situation type schema’. Moreover, non-stative predicates obey the following truth-
condition postulate (Taylor, 1977):

(19)   If V is an activity verb or an accomplishment/achievement verb, then V(x) is only
       true at an interval larger than one moment.

Dowty (1979:167), commenting on Taylor’s (1977) postulate, observes that if the
Utterance Time is conceptualized as a moment then the postulate above predicts
that it is impossible to have a deictic present tense with durative, eventive predicates.
         According to this analysis the impossibility of an ongoing/continuous reading of a
sentence such as Susan sleeps is due to the intrinsic temporal properties of dynamic
predicates and to the fact that the utterance time is a point.
         To account for the cross-linguistic differences exemplified in (16) above, (in
particular the problem concerning the impossibility of English present tense non-stative
predicates to have a continuous one-occurrence interpretation) we will adopt a
suggestion put forth by Georgi&Pianisi (1997) already hinted at in the previous chapter.
13


       According     to    Giorgi&Pianesi    (1997)     the     constraint      on    the
simultaneous/continuous reading of non-stative verbs is aspectual in nature and can be
stated in the form of what they call the ‘Punctuality Constraint’. Actually, they offer a
principled account of the assumptions given above. The important assumptions Giorgi
and Pianesi make are :

         (i)       the temporal interpretation of an utterance involves the anchoring of the
                  event denoted by the predicate to the Utterance time, i.e. to the time of the
                  event which consists of the utterance itself;
         (ii)     the speech event, as an anchoring event, is conceptualized as punctual;
         (iii)     all eventive predicates in English are lexically characterized as perfective;

       In what follows we shall enlarge upon the last two assumptions put forth by
Giorgi&Pianesi.
       (i) Georgi&Pianisi (1997) propose that, in English, all eventive (i.e. non-stative)
predicates are associated with the feature (+perf). This is necessary in English , but not
in other languages, due to the morphological properties of the English verbs.6 The
[+perf] feature on the verb stems of English non-stative predicates means that such
predicates always denote ‘closed situations’. As already argued, closed/perfective events
have all the temporal properties of the situation type, the endpoint properties included.
       Additional evidence in favour of the assumption that verb stems in English
always denote closed events comes from the Accusative +Infinite/Participle
construction in English. Consider the following examples:

         (20)     (i)      Susan saw Mary write the essay.
                  (ii)     Susan saw Mary writing the essay.
                  (iii)    Susan saw Mary run.
                  (iv)     Susan saw Mary running.
                  (v)      Susan saw Mary leave.
                  (vi)     Susan saw Mary leaving.
                  (vii)    *Susan saw Mary know the answer.
                  (viii)   *Susan saw Mary knowing the answer.

        In English, perception verbs can take two types of complements : either the
Acc+‘bare/naked’ infinitive (i.e. infinitives without to) or Acc+ Present Participle
constructions.
        In the first six sentences above, (where the complement is an accomplishment,
activity and achievement predicate, respectively) the ‘bare’ infinitive form allows only a
perfective/closed reading.
        In (20i,ii) the complement is an accomplishment predicate.(20i) entails that
Susan witnessed the entire act of writing, i.e. the sentence in (20i) means that ‘Susan

6
  Giorgi & Pianesi argue that the aspectual feature [+perf] is a Lexicon feature that would ‘compensate’ for the
lack of explicit inflectional verbal morphology . The argument goes that a word like eat can be categorially
ambiguous: it is a ‘naked’ form and can express any of several verbal values, such as the infinitive (without to),
the first and second person singular and the first, second and third person plural, as well as, an ‘object’ (N) or
‘action’ (V). Hence, the only way to discern nouns from verbs is to identify the characteristic feature that would
define the lexical category. In the case of verbs this feature is aspectual.. Romance languages, on the other hand,
need not associate the verb with an aspectual feature because of the rich verbal inflectional morphology
characterizing this group of languages. The lexical entry of verbs in Romance languages will always have a
much richer feature bundle that would include inflectional features such as person and number.
14


saw an event e, which is an event of writing, the agent is Mary, and the theme is an essay,
and e has reached the telos’. The complement event expressed as a ‘bare/naked’
infinitive is interpreted as closed/bounded/perfective.
        In the example in (20ii), on the other hand, the verb is in the –ing form ; it refers
to a non-closed/non-bounded/imperfective event. Consequently, it is not possible to
infer that the essay was eventually written. Activities and achievements may also occur in
such constructions with the same interpretation, as the examples in (20iii-vi) show.
        State predications, on the other hand are excluded in such constructions as the
examples in (20vii,viii) indicate.
        (ii)    The second assumption put forth by Giorgi& Pianesi is that ‘anchoring’
events are ‘punctual’.
        The difference between a ‘closed/perfective event’ and a ‘punctual event’ is that,
while conceptually, a ‘closed event’ denotes an entity that can be decomposed into a
‘processual part’ (stages) and a ‘boundary’, i.e. ‘e’ has temporal structure, a ‘punctual
event’ cannot be ‘decomposed’ into other elementary events, hence they are not
conceptualized as having temporal structure.
        Punctuality amounts to neglecting temporal structure. The UT-T, as already
mentioned, temporally anchors the time of the situation, hence it can be viewed as an
‘anchoring event’ and consequently as a ‘punctual event’. We give below the
‘interpretive principle’ necessary to understand the ‘Punctuality Constraint’:

       (21) The anchoring event (Utterance Time or some other reference time in the
       matrix clause) is punctual
       (22) Punctuality Constraint
       A closed event cannot be simultaneous with a punctual event

        The Interpretive Principle (21) and the Punctuality Constraint (22) very nicely
accommodate the habitual/generic reading of non-stative predicates in the simple
present tense.
        The impossibility of a particular continuous/simultaneous reading for simple
present tense eventive sentences follows as a consequence of (a) the Interpretive
Principle (21) which requires the speech event to always be punctual and (b) the
Punctuality Constraint (22) which expresses the general impossibility of punctual events
to be simultaneous with closed (+perf) events.
        To put it differently, like any anchoring event, UT-T is punctual; the [+perf]
simple Present tense form cannot be simultaneous with UT-T, since the event denoted
by the verb has internal temporal properties which are incompatible with the
punctuality of the anchoring event; as a consequence the progressive form must be used
whenever we want the sentence to denote a particular ongoing/continuous event, i.e. in
English, deictic present is legitimate with state predicates alone; with dynamic, non-
stative eventualities the progressive form is necessary.
        The acceptability of habituals/generics (generalizations over events/properties)
is due to the fact that, in these sentences, the conflict between the punctuality of the
Utterance time (viewed as a speech event) and the closure of the event denoted by the
predicate does not arise, habituals being understood as asserting the occurrence of a
series of events of the same kind which include the Utterance Time. According to Giorgi
and Pianesi a habitual sentence only requires that UT-T be a temporal part of the interval
where the habit holds.
15


         As far as inherent statives are concerned they are not conceptualized as closed
(i.e. as processual or bounded), (recall the truth-condition and the temporal schema
associated with States) hence they can be simultaneous with the punctual anchoring
event, describing ‘one particular occurrence’ of the situation denoted by the predicate.
        In Romance languages, and some Germanic languages as well, the event
expressed by the present is not viewed as closed/perfective and, hence, can be
simultaneous with punctual anchoring events, with an imperfective reading, naturally.
        The temporal aspectual interpretation of present tense sentences like, for
instance, Mary smokes/ Mary is clever is provided below:

       (23)                 Mary smokes./ Mary is clever.

                (i)         UT-T – now
                            AS-T –present (tense morpheme)
                            EV-T co-temporal with AS-T
                (ii)        UT-T within AS-T/EV-T

                     UT-T
       …[…… …[……]………]……….>
      EV-T / AS-T


2.1.3.Values of the Simple Present Tense.
A.The generic/habitual value
        Our next step is to try and give a logical account of the uses/values of the simple
present tense identified by grammarians and linguists in the course of time.
       All grammars of English acknowledge that the basic uses/values of the simple
present tense are the habitual value and the generic value. The question that arises is
whether we need to distinguish between the two, since in both cases the sentences in
the present tense are dubbed by linguists as ‘categorical’ sentences, or ‘characterizing’
sentences, consisting in the ascription of a property to a subject . In both cases no
reference is made to a particular occurrence of a situation or a unique, definite moment
of time. The sentences below exemplify the two uses:

       (24)     a)          (i)       Cats are widespread
                            (ii)      The cat is widespread
                            (iii)    *A cat is widespread
                            (iv)     Milk is good for the bones


                b)          (i)      Tigers eat meat
                            (ii)     The tiger eats meat
                            (iii)    A tiger eats meat


                c)          (i)      A lion has a bushy tail
                            (ii)     Lions have a bushy tail
                            (iii)    The lion has a bushy tail

       (25)                 (i)     My brother/Michael drinks wine with his dinner
16


                      (ii) The milkman calls every Monday/on Mondays

        We have argued so far that non-stative predicates in the simple present tense in
English will (always) result in a habitual reading of the simple present tense (cf.
examples in (25). The assumption is presumptuous, to say the least, since the examples
in (24 b i-iii) do not have a ‘habitual reading’ but rather a ‘generic’ reading, although the
predicates qualify aspectually as non-stative predicates. So what is the difference, if
there is any, between generic and habitual sentences? Moreover, the examples in (24a)
and (24c) are basic stative predicates and they are also characterized as generic. These
are the questions that we would like to answer in the next subchapter.
2.3.1. We are already familiar with the distinction between stage-level and individual-
level predicates due to Carlson (1977). He shows that the distinction between the two
types of predicates has ramifications in the grammar of English. Lately, it has been
shown that this distinction appears widely in language constituting covert grammatical
categories in some languages (e.g. Chinese) (Smith 1991).
        Individual level predicates denote relatively stable/permanent properties.
Stage-level predicates speak of events and occurrences that have a distinctly temporal
tenor (i.e. they describe situations that are restricted in time and space). In general,
verbs that may take the progressive form refer to stage-level interpretations of their
subject nominals, describing transitory/non-permanent properties or situations.
        The predicates so differentiated are selective as far as the type of referents to
which they apply is concerned. Individual-level predicates select object-level and kind-
level individuals (i.e. individuals). Stage level predicates apply to stages of individuals.
        From an aspectual point of view, as we can see, generic sentences (see 24a-c) are
based on either basic eventive verbs or basic lexical states describing relatively stable
properties of their subject nominals ; the habitual sentences (25) are mostly based on
eventive predicates. They are described as ‘characterizing’ sentences. Nevertheless, a
few more subtle distinctions are to be taken into consideration.
        Generally speaking, habitual sentences , also known as derived statives, are based
on predicates that are basically characterized as stage-level predicates, in particular
eventive predicates, ; they express dispositions, indicating a potential for an individual
(object-level) to have stage properties, since they denote generalizations over events of
the same type over a period of time. In most sentences there is a frequency adverb (e.g.
every day, sometimes, usually, never, on Mondays, etc) that would support the habitual
reading, or, sometimes, frequency may be expressed by a plural or mass noun in object
position, as in (25) or (26) below:

       (26)           (i) The milkman calls every Monday/on Mondays
                      (ii) I buy my dresses at Harrods
                      (iii) We eat very little bread.
                      (iv)My wife always comes to watch me when I play for England.
                      (v)My sister smokes.


        As Dowty (1979) observes: ‘ Even when we predicate them of an individual at a
particular time, it is really not a property that individual’s current stage has at that
moment that makes them true, but our ‘total experience’ with previous stages of that
individual. We can truthfully assert that John is in the habit of smoking if we have
identified a “suitable number” of past occasions on which John’s stage-smoking was true.
17


Such a broad and pragmatically vague interval presumably also includes a number of
future instances of John’s stage property of smoking’ (Dowty 1979:279).
        Habitual sentences are semantically stative, they apply to an object level
individual, who participates in the pattern of events. The predicates underlying habitual
sentences are dynamic predicates at the basic level of classification but their temporal
schemata are stative: they consist of an undifferentiated period rather than successive
stages.
        On the other hand, as Smith (1991:42) remarks, habitual sentences do not have
all the syntactic characteristics of basic-level states. Thus, habitual sentences are good
with agent-oriented adverbials, embedding under verbs like persuade, appearance in
pseudo-cleft do sentences and imperatives. The examples illustrate some of these
features:

(27)                   (i) What Mary does is play tennis every Friday.
                       (ii) I persuaded Mary to play tennis every Friday.

        Generic sentences are commonly viewed as analytical sentences, i.e. sentences that
are true by virtue of the meaning of the terms. That means (roughly) that generic
sentences state that a particular property or relation expressed by the predicate holds
true of the entity denoted by the subject noun phrase. The subject noun phrase denotes
kind-level (24a) or object-level individuals (24b)
        It is already a well-known fact that traditional grammars labeled generic
sentences as ‘universal/eternal truths’, ‘timeless truths’ or ‘omnipresent’ sentences.
What is actually meant by these ‘labels’ is the fact that they are ‘a-temporal’, i.e. from the
point of view of their time specification they do not specify a particular moment or
interval of time.
        For a long time, an important aspect of generic sentences has been related to the
use of the generic present. The contribution of the Simple Present in generic sentences
amounts to specifying that the state is valid/holds ‘now’, which means that the UT-T is
placed within the AS-T/EV-T.
        In certain contexts (see examples in 24a), there seems to be a very strong
interrelation between the generic interpretation of the noun phrases and the generic
reading of the verb phrase (ultimately the clause/the sentence), interrelation that will be
apparent in the presentation that follows.
        Linguists (e.g. Krifka, et al. 1995:2) claim that generic sentences are ‘true of some
particular entities’, namely kinds. Hence, genericity can be identified with ‘reference to
kind’ and the NPs used are kind-referring NPs or sometimes called generic NPs7. The
sentences in (23a) above are instances of this type of genericity.
        Kind referring NPs are NPs that may co-occur with kind-level predicates such as:
die out, be widespread, be extinct, be in short supply, be common, be indigenous to/in short
supply/everywhere, come in all sizes, etc. These NPs refer rigidly to a kind-level individual
and the predicate attributes a property to it that cannot be distributed to the members
of the kind, i.e. they make singular statements about a particular kind.8 Such statements

7
  We are already familiar with the distinction made by Carlson (1977) between individuals (that may be objects or kinds) and stages of
individuals (spatio-temporal slices of individuals). Kind-level individuals have certain peculiarities as compared to more normal individuals,
i.e. kinds can be here and there ( they are continuous in space, according to Zemach (1975), they are non-sortals), whereas normal
individuals (object-level individuals) are generally confined to one location at a given time ( they are bound in space, according to Zemach
(1975), they are sortals. For a complete characterization see also Ileana Baciu, Functional Categories in English, 2004.
8
  In the sentences in (23a) we have the intuition that the truth or falsity of the statements has nothing whatsoever to do with predicating
widespread or everywhere, for instance, to any particular cats at all. That is to say, intuitively, we could not paraphrase (23a (i)) as ‘ Puffy is
widespread, Duffy is widespread,…….therefore cats are widespread’. With the examples in (23 b,c), on the other hand, where the predicate
18


have been called particular/proper kind predications (PKP) (Ter Meulen, 1995: 345,
Link, 1995:358)) or definite (or specific) generics (D-generics) (Krifka 1987). They are
characterized as being ‘descriptive’ generalizations. One important characteristic of this
type of generic statements is that the predicate (VP) may be progressive, attributing a
gradual change in a property to a kind (e.g. Elephants are dying out (Ter Meulen
1995:346)).
       Kind referring expressions are bare plurals, definite singular NPs and mass nouns,
but as the example in (24a iii) above indicates, not indefinite NPs, i.e. indefinite NPs are
not considered kind-referring expressions (i.e. they cannot function as names for kinds).
        Nevertheless, all traditional grammars mention indefinite NPs as one of the
expressions that may occur in ‘generic sentences’ as the examples in (24b,c), repeated
under (28) for convenience, show:

(28)                   (i)        Lions have a bushy tail
                      (ii)        The lion has a bushy tail
                      (iii)       A lion has a bushy tail
                      (iv)        Tigers eat meat
                      (v)         The tiger eats meat
                      (vi)        A tiger eats meat

        It is not difficult to notice that the predicates qualify as basic stage level
predicates re-categorized as individual level predicates. In point of eventuality type, the
predicates in the examples in (28i-iii) are basic state predicates, while those in (28iv-vi)
are dynamic predicates, basically.
        The examples in (28) report a kind of general property of individuals that
constitute members (object-level individuals) of the kind, and represents the second type
of genericity, namely characterizing sentences or simply generic sentences, as they
express generalizations. Such statements are known in the literature as the
characteristic kind of predication (CKP) (Ter Meulen 1995) or i-generics (i.e.
indefinite/non-specific) (Krifka 1987).
        Other common terms for characterizing sentences are ‘gnomic’, ‘dispositional’
‘general’ or ‘habitual’. Kind-denoting (generic) NPs may also occur in characterizing
sentences (see 28) and the sentences describe a general/essential or default property
which holds for the specimens (i.e. object level individuals) of the kind. Often this is
expressed explicitly by an adverbial such as: usually, always, generally, etc.
        An important property of characterizing sentences is that they may be true even
when there are members of the kind which fail to have the property expressed by the
predicate. Characterizing generic sentences are stative sentences (they may be related to
inherently stative predicates or derived stative predicates (i.e. inherently dynamic/stage
level predicates coerced into statives). Habitual sentences will be taken to be included
within the class of characterizing generic sentences.
         Both ‘habitual/generic sentences’, (see examples in (29)) which are related to
dynamic verbal predicates (drink, smoke, read, laugh, etc) and the so-called ‘lexical’
characterizing sentences which are related to inherently state predicates (have a bushy
tail, know, cost, weigh, love, fear, possess, have, own, etc) generalize over patterns of
events/properties ; the difference between the two is that while the former have an

‘have a bushy tail/eat meat’ occurs, we have the intuition that the truth or falsity of the statement somehow involves the predication of having
a bushy tail/eating meat to particular lions. Again, in intuitive terms we might think that: ‘Puffy has a bushy tail/eats meat,, Duffy has a
bushy tail/eats meat, etc………therefore lions have a bushy tail/eat meat.
19


episodic counterpart, the latter lack an episodic reading and while the former generalize
over events, the latter generalize over properties.
        Characterizing sentences were assumed not to express accidental properties
(e.g.Dahl 1975 among others); they state properties that are essential, necessary,
inherent or analytic (Nunberg and Pan 1975). On the other hand, unlike d-generics, they
are not ‘descriptive’ generalizations but ‘normative‘ ones. (Dahl 1975).
       Characterizing sentences put no limitation on what types of NPs may occur in
them. We can find proper names, definite NPs, indefinite NPs, quantified NPs, bare plural
NPs.
         Given the variety of NPs in characterizing sentences, the suggestion is that this
type of genericity should be analyzed as a sui generis type of sentence. (Krifka, Pelletier,
Carlson, Link, Chierchia 1995:6)

(29)           (i) My brother/Michael drinks wine with his dinner
             (ii) Italians drink wine with their dinner
            (iii) Every Italian drinks wine with his dinner
            (iv) An Italian drinks wine with his dinner

         As already mentioned, there are certain elements that may enforce a
characterizing, generic reading such as adverbs like ‘generally’, ‘usually’, ’typically’,
‘often’, sometimes’ that lead to law-like characterizing sentences.
         The above discussion has attempted to stress the fact that the locus of genericity
can be found both at the level of the NP and at the level of the clause.
         With bare plural NPs and definite NPs related to kind-level predicates, the locus of
genericity is at the level of the respective NPs, since they are kind-referring expressions,
as well as, in the predicate, as the examples in (23 a) show; kind-referring expressions
refer to a specific type of individual, namely kinds, hence, generic bare plural NPs and
definite NPs will be interprepreted as having a specific reading.
         With indefinite NPs, proper names, quantified NPs the locus of genericity is not in
the NP but rather in the sentence itself, i.e. these NPs cannot be considered ‘kind-
referring’ or ‘generic’ in and of themselves. They get a ‘generic’ interpretation only when
occurring in characterizing (generic/habitual) sentences. This type of genericity is
independent of verbal predicates, i.e. the predicates may be both states and non-states
and the contribution of the Simple Present is essential.
         The term ‘generic’ sentence will be taken to refer to both types of generic
phenomena, although as we have seen there are differences between the two types..
         The contexts that favor a characterizing generic reading are as follows:
definitions, proverbs, geographical statements, law-like, prescriptive statements, habituals:

(30)          (i)      An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
              (ii)     He who laughs last, laughs best.
              (iii)    A new broom sweeps clean.
              (iv)     Smooth waters run deep.
              (v)      Hydrogen is the lightest element
              (vi)     Oil floats on water.
              (vii)    Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius
              (viii)   In chess, bishops move diagonally.
              (ix)     London stands on the Thames.
              (x)      The Severn flows into the Atlantic.
20


              (xi)     A symphony has four movements
              (xii)    An Italian loves opera music.
              (xiii)   My dog chases cars.
              (xiv)    Mist and cloud usually render it impossible to see the sun rise from
                       the sea.

B.The Instantaneous/Reportive Simple Present Tense, is another value/use of the
Simple Present Tense. The general assumption is that this value is a marked use of the
perfective viewpoint in Present sentences (Smith 1991:241).
         This use of the Simple Present Tense contrasts with the habitual/generic use in
that it describes a particular occurrence of an event. Under the instantaneous reading
there is a telescoping of the interval of time normally associated with the event to a point;
what this actually amounts to is that the situation denoted by the predicate is
interpreted as simultaneous with UT-T. Such sentences include perception and mental
Achievements, performatives, and, according to some grammarians, reportives of the
dramatic, sportscaster’s type (Smith 1991).
         The instantaneous present is found in asseverations that use what are known as
performative verbs, namely verbs that themselves form part of the activity they report,
i.e. the event announced and the act of announcement are one. It would be more correct
to speak of performative sentences, since these verbs behave performatively only under
some restrictive conditions that will be apparent in the sentences below:

(31)          (i)      I hereby christen this ship ‘Queen Mary’.
              (ii)     I promise to help you
              (iii)    I resign.
              (iv)     I pronounce you man and wife.
              (v)      I declare the meeting open/adjourned/closed
              (vi)     We accept your offer.
              (vii)    I deny the charge.

       To utter these sentences is to perform the acts reported by the predicate.
Syntactically, it is characteristic of performative statements to occur in the first person
singular/plural and to permit the insertion of hereby in front of the verb. The temporal
characteristic of performative sentences is straightforward: the utterance time and the
event time are simultaneous, this being part of the conditions on the use of such
statements. Another condition for the felicitous use of these sentences is that ‘the
particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the
invocation of the particular procedure involved’ (Austin 1961:34).
       Sentences including perception predicates are also used in the Simple Present. In
such cases these predicates are interpreted, aspectually, as achievements. Such
sentences constitute reports of instantaneous events, reflecting the special immediacy of
perception. Reports of mental Achievements are also of the same type. Consider the
examples below, borrowed from C. Smith (1991:153):


(32)          (i)      I see the moon.
              (ii)     I feel the current of the river
              (iii)    Oh, I see!
              (iv)     I understand.
21


                  (v)      Yes, now I remember!

       Running commentaries and demonstrations, such as the eyewitness broadcasts of
sportscasters, radio commentators, or reports of conjurors and demonstrators, informal
commentaries with preposed locatives are other instances of the instantaneous use of the
Simple Present:

(33)              (i)     Napier takes the ball and runs down the wing. He passes the ball to
                  Attwater. Attwater beats two men, he shoots. It’s a goal!
                  (ii) …he gets it in to Hewlett and he’s fouled immediately by Malnati and…
                  the rebound goes to Joe May.
                  (iii) Look, I take this card from the pack and place it under the
                  handkerchief – so.
                  (iv) I place a bell jar over the candle, and after a few moments the water
                  gradually rises.
                  (v) There goes the bus/ Up she goes/Down she falls.

        In these cases, the co-extensiveness between the time of utterance and the time
of the situation is subjective rather than objective: the events are presented as
simultaneous with the utterance time even if strictly speaking they are not. The
commentaries are restricted to a limited range of contexts where the speaker is
specifically assigned the role of commentator.
        The dramatic use of Simple Present sentences (also labelled as the ‘timeless’ use
or ‘imaginary’ use; grammarians often include this use under the past time value of the
Simple Present) refers to specific completed or terminated events. Such sentences are
also grammatical with an Accomplishment or Activity predicate and have a dramatic
flavor. These dramatic, reportive sentences telescope time. We understand them
punctually, as though the events take only an instant, regardless of their normal
duration. The event denoted by the predicate is described as perfective, but its time is
not (directly) related to the speech event.9 This a-temporal status of such sentences
require the dramatic interpretation.
        Smith (1976:573)) argues that ‘…the reason that a dramatic interpretation is
plausible is that dramatic readings, by definition, have nothing to do with real time. The
dramatic framework gives one license to telescope duration so that completion can take
place in a single point in time’.
        As Smith (1991) and Huddleston & Pullum (2002) remark, such statements are
found in certain definable contexts such as a commentary (synopses) on a picture, book,
movie,TV programmes (in sentences introduced by ‘in DP’ where DP refers to a book, a
movie), as well as in the stage directions of play scripts, focus on present existence of
works created in the past, captions in newspapers and to illustrations in books, chronicles
of history, recipes.
        Below are some examples (borrowed from different sources: Smith 1991:154,
Stefanescu 1988:253, Giorgi and Pianesi, 1998:153, Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 130)
that instantiate the contexts of use just mentioned:

(34)


9
 In the previous subchapters we have extensively argued that the perfective interpretation is excluded for
present tense sentences
22


              (i) Seth and Minnie come forward as far as the lilac clump…She nudges
              Minnie with his elbow.. (Eugene O’Neill, Mourning Becomes Electra)
              (ii)In ‘Gone with the wind’ Scarlet writes a letter.
              (iii) In the Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky draws his characters from the
              sources deep in the Russian soil.
              (iv) Like Rubens, Watteau is able to convey an impression of warm, living
              flesh by the merest whiff of colour.
              (v) Aboriginal protesters occupy part of the old Parliament House in
              Camberra yesterday .(photographic caption)
              (vi) Roman soldiers nail Jesus onto the Cross (description of a painting)
              (vi) 1434 Cosimo de Medici begins his family’s control of Florence
                    1435 Congress Arras: Burgundians withdraw support from England,
                    in favour of France.

        When discussing an artist and his surviving work, we can talk about it from the
perspective of their present and potentially permanent existence rather than that of
their past creation. By contrast, when we are concerned with the act of creation itself,
then the past tense is required. Likewise, photographs, newspaper captions, drawings
can give a permanence to what would otherwise be a transient historical occurrence.
        A very important remark is in order here. As many linguists and grammarians
have noticed before, sentences without a frequency adverb may receive a
specific/existential or generic interpretation depending on context and world
knowledge.
        There are some elements of the linguistic context that may help us distinguish
between the two readings: habituality/genericity may be indicated by a bare plural
object/subject, while an instantaneous reading can be rendered by means of an indefinite
or definite object/subject or by an instantaneous perception verb like ‘Look’. Compare
the sentences below:

(35)          a) Swallows fly higher than doves (generic)
              a) Look, the swallows fly higher than the doves.

              a) Carter’s dog chases cars. (habitual)
              b) There’s a red car whizzing down the road and Carter’s dog chases it.

              a) He scores goals.
              b) He scores a goal.

C. Simple Present referring to Past (Historical present)
        The Present Tense can also be used in reference to the past. What is past is the
time of the described situation; the Simple Present performs its usual function, namely it
places the UT-T within the AS-T, while EV-T precedes AS-T/UT-T.
        According to a wide number of grammarians (Huddleston and Pullum, 2002,
Leech, 1976, Jespersen, 1933 etc), the ‘historical present’ is best treated as a story-
teller’s licence, whereby past happenings are portrayed or imagined as if they were going
on at the present time. The Present Tense is used for past time situations in informal
conversational narration or in fiction.
23


      Very often the present tense is accompanied, with apparent incongruity, by an
adverbial indicating past time or it may alternate with a Past Tense form. Consider the
examples below, borrowed from Leech (1976) and Huddleston & Pullum, (2002):

(36)             (i) At that moment in comes a messenger from the Head Office, telling me
                 the boss wants to see me in an hurry.
                 (ii) There was I playing so well even I couldn’t believe it and along comes
                 this kid and keeps me off the table for three frames.

      This use of the simple present tense can be viewed as a metaphorical use, a device
conventionally used (in a wide number of languages, actually) to make the narrative
appear more vivid by assimilating it to the here and now of the speech event.
      It is customary for novelists and story-writers to use the Past Tense to describe
imaginary/fictional events. Some writers10 deviate from normal practice and use the
Present in imitation of the popular historical present of spoken narrative. In such cases,
transposition into the fictional present is a device of dramatic heightening; it puts the
reader in the place of someone actually witnessing the events as they are described.
Consider the following excerpt from Bleak House by Dickens:

(37)            Mr Tulkinghorn glances over his spectacles and begins again lower down.
        My Lady carelessly and scornfully abstracts her attention. Sir Leicester in a great
        chair looks at the fire and appears to have a stately liking for the legal repetitions
        and prolixities as ranging among national bulwarks. It happens that the fire is hot
        where my Lady sits and that the handscreen is more beautiful than useful, being
        priceless but small.

There are cases when the use of the present tense alternates with the simple past tense.
       Poutsma (1926) remarks that shifting from the past to present is often practiced
in picturing a series of incidents and circumstances which is to serve as a background
for the representation of subsequent events. An example would be the following excerpt
from Thackeray’s The Virginians:

(38)             His lordship had no sooner disappeared behind the trees of the forest, but
                 Lady Randolph begins to her confidante the circumstances of her early life.
                 The first was she had made a private marriage…..

        Declerck (1991:69) notes that, in narratives, the shift of temporal perspective
may not only be from the past to the present but also from the post-present (i.e. future)
to the present, as in the example below:

(39)           I can well imagine what will happen. I can see it happen before me: John sets
              out his plans, Mary disagrees, they start shouting at each other and in no
              time there is a terrible row. I’ve seen it happen often enough to know that it
              is going to end like this.

   Some grammarians (e.g. Huddleston&Pullum 2002:131) include here another
context in which the present tense extends into past time territory, namely ‘news
10
 Examples of writers employing the present tense in fiction writing would be Camus, Dickens, Thackerey ,
George Elliot, Joyce Cary, Thomas Mann, to mention just a few.
24


headlines’, spoken or written, as in the examples in (37) below. The texts beneath the
headlines use past tenses but in headlines the Simple Present is shorter and more vivid.
It is considered that this might also be regarded as a metaphorical extension of the
reportive use of the present tense:

(40)           (i) UN aid reaches the stricken Bosnian town of Srebrenica
               (ii) Trade Unions seek assurances

   A different kind of historical present is found with ‘verbs of communication’ as in the
examples below (borrowed from Leech, 1976:7, and Huddleston &Pullum, 2002:131):


(41)           (i)The ten o’clock news says that it’s going to be cold.
               (ii)I hear we are getting some new neighbours.
               (iii)Your correspondent A.D. writes in the issue of February 1st that….
               (iv)I gather from Angela that you’re short of money again.

    According to Huddleston & Pullum (2002) the use of the Present Tense to report past
time occurrences serves to background the communication occurrences themselves and
to foreground their content, expressed in the subordinate clause. The main clause is
assumed to provide the evidence for believing or entertaining this content. The primary
purpose is therefore to impart this content or to seek confirmation of it. The verbs most
commonly used are: say, tell, inform, hear, gather, understand i.e. verbs referring to the
productive or receptive end of the process of communication Given that the main clause
is backgrounded, it does not contain adjuncts or temporal specification.
D.Present Tense with Future value ( the Futurate) . The Simple Present may be used to
describe future situations . The fact that the Simple Present still means ‘present’ is
rendered clear by the possibility of having different time specifications within he same
clause, as the examples below (42) indicate (H&P 2002:133):

(42)           The match now starts next Monday, not Tuesday, as I said in my letter.


       The two adjuncts specify different time intervals: now specifies UT-T/AS-T while
next Monday specifies the time of the future situation, i.e. EV-T.
       The presence of the present tense morpheme has immediate consequences on
the interpretation of the future situation assigning it a high degree of certainty, i.e. it
attributes to the future the same degree of certainty that we normally accord to present
or past events (Leech 1971: 60). This entails that the futurate construction is subject to
severe constraints among which we mention the following:

       (i)     the presence of future time adverbials,
       (ii)     the aspectual type of the situation (state predicates are excluded in such
               sentences ) and, last but not least
       (iii)     the future situation is determinable from the state of the world now, that is to
               say that the clause must involve something that can be assumed to be known
               already in the present.
25

        In the example above the present tense morpheme and the adverb now give the time of
the arrangement or schedule. It is generally assumed that with the Simple Present the
arrangement is felt to be an impersonal or collective one, made, for example, by a committee,
a court of law or some un-named authority.
        The most widely used predicates belong to the class of non-durative event verbs in
particular verbs of directed motion such as go, leave, come, meet, aspectual verbs such as
begin, start, end, etc.
        According to grammarians, the most common uses involve :

(i)     statements about the calendar or cyclic events,
(ii)    scheduled events (regarded as unalterable) and
(iii)    subordinate clauses introduced by conditional and adverbial conjunctions.

      Consider the examples below borrowed from different sources (Leech 1971,
Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002):

(43)    (i) Tomorrow is Sunday./Next Christmas falls on a Thursday/The next
             high tide is around 4 this afternoon/When is the next full moon?
        (ii) The next Kevin Costner film opens at the Eldorado on Saturday./When do the
        lectures end this year?/She is president until next May/Her case comes before the
        magistrate next week./The Chancellor makes his budget speech tomorrow
        afternoon/We start for Istanbul tonight.
        (iii) When the spring comes , the swallows will return./Jeeves will announce the
        guests as they arrive./If you don’t do better next time you are fired/Either he
        plays according to the rules or he doesn’t play at all/I’ll tell you if it hurts.

        The set of examples in (43i) reflect the use of the Simple Present for recurrent
events whose time of occurrence can be scientifically calculated, hence it can be included
under what is currently known. By contrast, the simple present is not used for future
weather since such events are not conceived of as being within the domain of what is
known (Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002:132). Weather forecasts are rendered by means
of ‘going to’ or ‘shall/will’
        In (43ii) we have examples that describe situations that have already been
arranged, scheduled. The element of current schedule or arrangement is seen in the
contrast in (44) below (Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002:132):

(44)    (i)    Australia meets Sweden in the Davis Cup final in December
        (ii)   ???Australia beats Sweden in the Davis Cup final in December

The sentence in (44i) is quite natural in a context where Australia and Sweden have
already qualified for the final. The use of the Present in (44ii) is unnatural, since the
sentence conveys that the result itself has already been arranged. It is to be noted that
subjective certainty is not enough; knowing the skill, experience and past performances
of the team, one might feel certain about the result of the match but this does not
sanction the Simple Present.
       The use of the Simple Present in (43iii) is not just a requirement of the syntactic
pattern, but has its base in a contrast of meaning. In the dependent clauses mentioned,
the happening referred to is not a prediction, but a fact that is given. A conditional
sentence, for instance, has the structure ‘If X is a fact, then I predict Y’. (Leech 1971:60).
26


Hence, the use of the Simple Present with Future value is appropriate to indicate that the
consequence of the condition being fulfilled it is inevitable or already decided, as in
(43iii).
         To sum up, the key to the Simple Present with Future value is that it represents
FUTURE AS FACT, that it attributes to the future the same degree of certainty that we
normally accord to present or past events.( Leech 1971:60).

2.2. Simple Past Tense Sentences
       The Simple Past Tense (or Preterite, as it is sometimes called), formally
represented by the morpheme –ed , is primarily used to express that a situation is
located at a past interval of time, i.e. a time which precedes the Time of Utterance (i.e.
UT-T AFTER AS-T/EV-T). Aspectually, the simple past tense sentence is interpreted as
perfective (i.e. AS-T=EV-T)
       Dynamic events in the simple past are not as severely constrained as events in
the Simple Present. In the Simple Past the situations described may refer to one
particular occurrence of that situation – an existential reading, or to a series of events of
the same type – a habitual reading . Compare the examples below ( Huddlestone and
Pullum, 2002) :

       (45)   (i) I do ‘The Times” crossword.        Present: habitual reading
              (ii) I did ‘The Times’ crossword.     Past: existential or habitual reading

       The interpretation in (45i) as a dynamic/existential situation is ruled out, but
such an interpretation is natural for (45ii) which can refer to a doing of the crossword as
readily as to habitual doing of the crossword.
       With the Past Tense, therefore, greater importance attaches to adjuncts and
context in selecting between the two readings. The addition of a locating/deictic adverb
like yesterday induces a dynamic/existential interpretation, while the addition of a
frequency adverbial like regularly or whenever I have the time yields a habitual
interpretation.
       Sentences including a state predication in the Simple Past Tense (perfective
aspectually) are flexible in interpretation (depending on context): such sentences may
convey an open interpretation or a closed interpretation. What this means is that the
time of the event/situation need not wholly coincide with AS-T. Consider the example
below:

       (46)   I lived in London.

        If we add an expression like ‘in those days’ the interpretation would be that I no
longer live in London, but if we expand it to ‘I already lived here in London at that time’
we get an interpretation where I still live in London. This also confirms the importance
of adverbs and context in selecting the intended reading.
        Traditional grammars have identified different values or uses of the Simple Past
tense, which are given below.
A. The Deictic/existential value
        As already mentioned, the Simple Past Tense , is primarily used to express that a
situation, viewed as closed, is located at a past interval of time, i.e. a time which precedes
the Time of Utterance. The temporal/aspectual representation is UT-T after AS-T/EV-T.
27


        More often than not this past time interval is explicitly stated by locating or frame
time adverbials (deictic, referential and anaphoric) like: yesterday, last week, two
minutes/days/months ago, at 5 o’clock, at noon, once, when, , which are deictically
interpreted. (i.e. relative to the moment of utterance now). Hence, at the time of
utterance, the content of the event or state located on the past time axis is recollected.
Together with the tense of the predication, these adverbs contribute to the specification
of the AS-T/EV-T.
        In this case the Past Tense is used as an absolute tense, and the value or use is
known as the deictic/existential value/use. From an aspectual point of view, the events
are viewed as perfective (i.e. with the endpoint properties of the situation types). In
these contexts the Past Tense is interpreted as a specific tense with existential value.
        Curme (1931:357) remarked that “……if this [tense form] is employed, the time of
the act must be stated accurately or indicated clearly by the context, so that the idea of
indefiniteness or generality is entirely excluded’.
        Leech (1976:9) remarks that ‘There are two elements of meaning involved in the
commonest use of the Past Tense. One basic element of meaning is: ‘the happening takes
place before the present moment. This means that the present moment is
excluded.[……….]. Another element of meaning is:’ the speaker has a definite time in
mind. This specific time in the past is characteristically named by an adverbial
expression accompanying the Past Tense verb.’
        As already mentioned time adverbs, locating or otherwise, come in different
forms: PP (at five, in September/1986, on Easter Monday, after/before breakfast),
NP/DP ( once, this Monday/week/month, tomorrow, yesterday, last week), CP
(after/before John arrived, when she left). Consider the examples below:

(47)              (i)     Haydn was born in 1732.
                  (ii)    I thought once he would marry.
                  (iii)   I misplaced my glasses a moment ago and can’t find them.
                  (iv)    The glacier moved only about 50 meters during the last century

         The aspectual-temporal representation of deictic Past Tense sentences is given in
(48) below. The representation shows that the past tense morpheme orders the UT-.T
after AS-T. Since Aspect has no morphological content, EV-T temporally coincides with
AS-T (i.e. EV-T=AS-T) which means that the entire situation is viewed in its entirety from
its initial to its final boundary; as a consequence, the ET-T precedes UT-T. The adverbial
restricts the reference of the past time event, in our particular case AS-T/EV-T since AS-
T and EV-T are co-temporal:

(48)     (a) Haydn was born in 1732

           (i)        UT-T after AS-T                              EV-T/AS-T      UT-T

           (ii)       AST = EV-T                  …[……………[……………]……]…[……]…›
                      UT-T after AS-T/EV-T         in 1732


        (b) I met Susan yesterday/ before Christmas


                                                       EV-T/AS-T           UT-T
     (iii) AS-T = EV-T                          …..[……[…………]……]……[……]……..>
28


      (iv) UT-T after AS-T/EV-T                yesterday




(v)      TP`                      AS-T=EV-T BEFORE CHRISTMAS

         UT-T          T’                       AS-T/EV-T           UT-T

                                               …[.………]…[…………]……[……]…..>
                  T         AspP                    CHRISTMAS
               after

                  AS-Ti            Asp’


         AS-Ti         PP    Asp          VP


                 P       DP
                in   1732           EV-Ti      VP
               before X-mas
                Ø     yesterday

        The syntactic temporal-aspectul representation of the sentences shows that the
situation occurred within an interval located in the past, since the UT-T is ordered after
the AS-T- itself co-temporal with EV-T (expressed by co-indexation).
        The PP further restricts the reference of the AS-T (=EV-T) by locating the time
span within the time designated by the expression 1732/beforeChristmas/yesterday.
The role of the preposition is to order the two time denoting arguments, i.e AS-T/EV-T
and the time adverb (Christmas, 1932, yesterday).
        In the case of the preposition IN (or at, on) the ordering relation is one of central
coincidence. The event designated by the VP occurred within the time span indicated by
the time adverb .
        Prepositions like BEFORE/AFTER also restrict the reference of AS-T. In this case
the relation established between AS-T and the time designated by the time adverb is a
relation of non-central coincidence as illustrated above.
        Notice that bare NP adverbs like yesterday, June 10, last week, this
Monday/year/week, are locating adverbs as well, but they are not introduced by an overt
preposition. They are integrated in the model by assuming that they are concealed PPs
headed by a silent preposition (Ø) expressing central coincidence, i.e. the event described
is contained within the time designated by the time adverb .
        In sum, the PP ultimately serves to provide the location time for the event
described by Haydn be born/ I meet Susan. Notice that this analysis explains why in a
Simple Past Tense sentence, the event is portrayed in its entirety – as including its initial
and final bounds (perfective aspect). The described event is viewed in its entirety,
because the AS-T coincides with the EV-T, from its initial to its final boundary.
        Simple Past Tense predication types also occur with duration adverbials, such as:
for two weeks, for a moment, in two hours, from two to four, six weeks, until 2001, from
1924.. These adverbs do not as such locate the situation but rather specify the
duration/the temporal size or the boundaries of the AS-T/EV-T. In (49) below the
adverb in three weeks specifies the duration of the event described by the VP Howard
29


read the book. The preposition IN specifies the duration of the event described by the VP
Howard read the book by establishing a relation of central coincidence between the AS-
T/EV-T and the time span denoted by three weeks. The UT-T is ordered by the Past
Tense morpheme after AS-T/EV-T:

       (49)   (i)    Howard read the book in three weeks
                           EV-T/AS-T    UT-T

              (ii)   …[…………………]…[……]…..>
                             3 weeks




       Time adverbial specification may be missing in a Past Tense sentence in those
cases in which the adverbial can be inferred from the larger linguistic context:

       (50)   Susan: This time last year I was in London.
              Howard: How curious! I was there too.

       Howard’s’s answer is correct without a Past Tense adverbial because the missing
adverb can be equated with the adverb mentioned in the preceding sentence (i.e., this
time last year).
       Another case in which a Simple Past Tense sentence can occur without a
temporal adverb includes sentences like the following:

       (51)   Joan has received a proposal of marriage. It took us completely by
              surprise.
              I have seen him already. He came to borrow a hammer.
              I’ve seen him today. I met him in the park.
              I have tasted lobster once, but I didn’t like it.
              I have been making inquiries. It was not difficult. The whole community is
              in an uproar.

        In such contexts, the Present Perfect is used to introduce an event that took place
sometime before the moment of speech; once an anterior frame of reference is
established it is natural to resume reference to the already introduced event by the
Simple Past Tense, which is thus uniquely identified. (Leech 1971, Stefanescu 1988, etc)
        The examples above are similar to the ones below in the sense that it is context
again - extra-linguistic this time - that allows for the use of the Past Tense.
         Questions about particulars of a situation e.g. when, where how, why it occurred
or who was involved in the situation, or sentences that provide further details
concerning a previously mentioned situation require the use of the Past Tense. Fenn
(1987: 168) calls this ‘occurrence focus’.

       (52)   I can’t remember where I bought that vase.
              Just tell me how you did it.
              He’s not with us any more. – You mean he resigned? – No, he was thrown
              down an elevator shaft in Goodge Street. (Fenn 1987:175)
              How did you break your arm?
              When did your father leave for England?
30


       In some cases the situation described by the sentence is uniquely identifiable for
the simple reason that it is unique. For a full interpretation of such sentences the hearer
is supposed to be familiar with the referents of the relevant NPs:

       (53)   (i)     Byron died in Greece.
              (ii)    Christopher Columbus discovered the New World.
              (iii)   Hindenburg directed German strategy during World War I.

    Finally, the Simple Past Tense can be used without a definite specification when a
comparison is drawn between present and past conditions (paraphrasable by ‘used to’):

     (54)     (i)     England is not what it was (what it used to be)
              (ii)    Even dogs are not what they were (what they used to be)
              (iii)   Life is not so pleasant as it was (as it used to be)
               (iv)   He is not so active as he was. (used to be)

 In all these contexts the Past Tense is characterized as being indefinite or rather non-
specific and its value is existential.

B. Narrative value.
       Beside its deictic/existential usage, the Simple Past Tense is used non-deictically
and without a temporal adverb in the narrative mode. The situations narrated happened
before the moment of speech but this moment is not given and has to be identified as
part of the information associated with the way narratives function. Here are three
examples of which the first constitute the opening paragraphs of J. Joyce’s “Eveline” and
W. Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”:

       (55) She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head
       was leaning against the window curtains, and in her nostrils was the color of
       dusty cretonne. She was tired.

       (56) The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of the rock
       and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.

       (57) One morning the three sisters were together in the drawing room. Mary
       was sewing, Lucy was playing on the piano and Jane was doing nothing; then
       suddenly the door opened and John burst into the room, exclaiming…. (Jespersen
       1969:264)

       Notice the way the progressive is used in these examples: the progressive forms
of the predicate form a ‘temporal frame’ around an action denoted by the non-
progressive form. In a connected narrative, therefore, the progressive often occurs in a
description of the general situation, which serves as setting or background to what is
expressed by means of the simple tenses.
       Linguists and grammarians have also identified other uses of the simple past
tense:
            the habitual use;
            the past perfect use;
31


            the present time use also known as attitudinal past (i.e. past reference in
              combination with politeness/diffidence)

C. Habitual Past
       Whenever Past Tense combines with frequency adverbials, the reading of that
sentence is habitual. The examples below illustrate full habitual sentences of several
basic-level situation types (Smith 1991:87):

       (58)   (i)     Sam rode his bicycle on Fridays.
              (ii)    Will wrote a report every week.
              (iii)   Jim was often unemployed.
              (iv)    He always arrived on time.
              (v)     He never knocked on the door.

       However the habitual interpretation often arises without a frequency adverbial,
especially if context and world knowledge makes it reasonable (Smith 1991:87). Consider
the examples below:

       (59)   (i)     Susan rode a bicycle last summer.
              (ii)    Marcia fed the cat that year.
              (iii)   Lynn moved last year.

       None of the situations described above would generally take an entire year, yet
the sentences would probably receive different interpretations. While riding a bicycle
and feeding the cat are ordinary and likely to be taken as habitual, moving is the sort of
event that doesn’t take place often and cannot be thought of as taking up one year.
Hence the sentence in (59iii) would receive a specific/deictic interpretation.
       In a habitual sentence such as the one in (60) the adverb at noon is part of the
frequency adverbial phrase at noon every day (which specifies the repeated EV-T of the
predication) while the adverbial during his childhood specifies the past interval during
which the recurring event took place (and indicates, in conjunction with the Past Tense,
the AS-T/EV-T of the predication):

       (60)   John got up at noon every day during his childhood

      As is the case with the present tense habituals, the determiner of the frequency
adverbial in the past tense habituals must be indefinite:

       (61)   (i)     They went to the movies three times a week
              (ii)    *They went to the movies three times the week

       The habitual reading of a sentence may also be conveyed by the plural form of the
direct object, as indicated in (62):

       (62)   (i)     Fido chased cars (habitual reading)
              (ii)    Fido chased a car / Fido chased the car (non-habitual reading)
32


        The progressive form may also occur in sentences interpreted as habitual /
iterative due to the presence of a frequency adverb. Consider the following examples
borrowed from Jespersen (1969:265):

       (63)   (i)     Every morning, when he was having his breakfast his wife asked
                      him for money.
              (ii)    Every morning, when he was having his breakfast his dog was
                      staring at him.
              (iii)   He looked at her repeatedly when she was not looking.
              (iv)    Whenever I looked up he was looking.

In all these cases the progressive serves as background/time frame for the situation
denoted by the simple tense form.

D) The Simple Past Tense with Past Perfect Value

Consider the sentences below (Stefanescu, 1988)

       (64)     (i)   He enjoyed and admired the sonnets of Shakespeare
               (ii)   He knocked and entered /
              (iii)   He shaved and listened to the radio

       In (64i) we have a description of two state situations; states are characterized as
being unbounded and durative, hence the sentence is understood to describe two
simultaneous states. On the other hand, the sentence in (64ii) describes two
eventualities (a semelfactive and an achievement – both characterized as non-durative)
that can be performed only sequentially (as a rule, one first knocks and then enters).
Now, in this case, the eventuality that is interpreted as taking place before another
eventuality in the past has a past perfect value – we have to do with a shifted reading of
the Simple Past Tense in the case of events. The example in (64iii) is ambiguous
between a sequential reading and a simultaneous reading. This is due to the Aktionsart
type of the predicates: activities. The two readings can be identified by means of
inserting disambiguating elements such as an adverbial or a conjunction:

       (65)   (i)     He shaved while he listened/was listening to the radio.
                      (simultaneous reading)
              (ii)    He shaved and then he listened to the radio. (sequential reading)

       Temporal relations between two consecutive events can be explicitly marked
either by: (i) an adverbial or conjunction or by (ii) the anteriority indicating auxiliary
have or (iii) both. Consider the following examples:

       (66)   (i)     Home Secretary J.R. Clynes, a Scot, greeted the little princess
                      BEFORE Nurse Beevans took her back to her mother’s bedside.
              (ii)    It occurred to me AFTER I ground the coffee that what I really
                      wanted was ice tea.
              (iii)   He dropped the letter BEFORE he went away.
              (iv)     I tucked the newspapers under my arm. THEN I fished my keys out
                      of the recesses of my pocket and leaned forward.
33


                  (v)         John had left when I arrived.
                  (vi)        The police arrived after the bomb had exploded.

       In the sentences in (66) above the temporal adjunct clauses modify the AST-T of
the main clause. That is, the spatiotemporal predicates BEFORE/AFTER establish an
ordering relation between the AST-T (itself co-temporal with the EV-T) of the main
clause and the AST-T (itself co-temporal with EV-T) of the adjunct clause. The schema
below illustrates the ordering relation between the two events in example (66iii) above
relative to each other and relative to the UT-T:


                    AS-T1/ EV-T1       AS-T2 / EV-T 2        UT-T

(67)               …[……………]…[…………]…………[……]…….>

The schema indicates that the past event described by the matrix (his dropping the
letter) is ordered before the past event described by the subordinate clause (his going
away). The Assertion Times of the two events are each co-indexed with the respective
Event Times, the events described being viewed in their entirety as including both the
initial and final boundary (perfective ). Generally, after- and before-clauses semantically
require closed main clauses.
         Relative to UT-T, the matrix event is past, given the tense marker –ed which
orders the UT-T AFTER AS-T1. AS-T1 of the matrix clause is also assumed to be the
external argument of the spatiotemporal predicate BEFORE, ordering it before AS-T2 of
the adjunct clause. The syntactic representation below illustrates the temporal schema:

(68)              TP

         UT-T            T’


                  T             AspP
               after

                  AS-Ti                Asp’


         AS-Ti           PP      Asp          VP


             P  ZeitP
         BEFORE                      EV-Ti              VP
                                                   drop the letter

The above representation confirms the observations of a large number of grammarians
and linguists11 according to whom all temporal conjunctions (after, before, until, since)


11
  These observations are supported by diachronic evidence. In old English, after, before were not used as
conjunctions. Instead a prepositional phrase of the form ‘after then that’ was used. (see Visser 1970:868)Apart
from the diachronic evidence, the prepositional origin of temporal conjunctions appears from the fact that, like
34


can be paraphrased by means of a prepositional phrase with the word ‘time (at which)’ .
Roughly the paraphrase for the adjunct clause in (66iii) is ‘before the time at which he
went away’.
The approach put forth by Demirdache&Uribe-Etxebarria (2004) adopts this point of
view, incorporating temporal adjunct clauses within their model assuming that they are
PPs. The head of the PP (a spatiotemporal predicate) takes as internal argument a
temporal DP/Zeit Phrase, modified by a restrictive relative clause – roughly [PP
before/after [ZeitP the time [CP Øi [CP he went away ti]]]]. The CP acts as a relative clause
restricting the reference of the time span. (expressed as the implicit ZeitP)
        A notable exception to the above observation is ‘when-clauses’. In old English,
when was used as a question word or indefinite adverb and only later developed its use
as a conjunction (Mitchell 1987:402). What is meant is that when, unlike after or before
do not have the overt syntax of PP. (Compare: Sue left before/when Howard arrived vs
Sue left before noon/ *when noon). It is to be noted, nevertheless that when clauses, as
well, express a temporal relation in the domain established by the matrix clause.
Consider the examples below (Declerck 1991:99):

         (69)              (i)      It happened when the police were there

In the example above, when is equivalent to ‘at a time when’, so that (69’) is a good
paraphrase of (69) (Declerck 1991:99)::

         (69’) (i)         It happened [PPat [ZeitPthe time [CPwheni [TPthe police were there
                           ti]]]]

        This paraphrases makes clear that the when clause locates the situation it
describes at the implicit time, that is simultaneous with the situation described by the
matrix clause.
        Demirdache&Uribe-Etxebarria (2004) integrate when-clauses into the model by
assuming that these time adjuncts are concealed PPs – that is phrases that are headed by
a silent (Ø) preposition indicating central coincidence (within relation).
        It has long been argued that the interpretation of when-clauses depends on
viewpoint, situation type and pragmatic factors (cf. Dowty 1979, Smith, 1984,1991, to
mention just a few). What we mean is that when-clauses are flexible, allowing several
interpretations. When seems not to impose any particular relation on situations. (unlike
after which always requires that the main clause have a closed interpretation). The
situations presented may be taken as simultaneous, overlapping or successive,
depending on viewpoint and situation types. Consider the examples below:

         (60)              (i)      When the bell rang Mary was swimming.
                           (ii)     When the bell rang Mary swam.
                           (iii)    When he was a student he wrote poetry .
                           (iv)     When he got the letter he burned it.
                           (v)      *When he read the letter he burned it.
                           (vi)     When he had read the letter he burned it.



prepositional phrases, temporal clauses can be postmodifiers: e.g. (i) He felt very nervous during the days before
the examination; (ii) He felt very nervous during the days before the examination took place.
35


(60i) has the reading that Mary’s swimming was already in progress at the time of the
event of bell ringing, and does not have another interpretation. The two situations are
taken as overlapping for a short interval. In contrast, (60ii) has the reading that the
swimming began at the time of the other event; the situations presented are taken as
(somewhat) successive (actually this is known as sloppy simultaneity), since the
perfective clause is taken as inceptive: given our world knowledge, the durative activity
of swimming is conceptualized as lasting longer than the event of bell ringing. (60iii)
allows for a simultaneous interpretation since both situations qualify as (homogeneous)
states. As far as (60 iv) is concerned the reading we obtain is that the two situations
follow one another, the situation described in the when-clause precedes the situation
described by the main clause. This interpretation is valid since getting a letter is viewed
as falling under the ontological type achievement. The example in (60v) does not allow
for the same kind of interpretation, though, given world knowledge this is the
interpretation we favour. This is due again, to the type of situation in the when-clause:
reading a letter is a durative event (accomplishment). To render the sentence
semantically clear we would have to use a marker of anteriority, in this particular case
the auxiliary ‘have’ (60vi).
E. The Simple Past Tense Referring to Present Time (Attitudinal Past)

       The Past tense with no adverbial specification may be used in preference to the
Present in everyday conversation, being considered somewhat more polite. The
politeness/diffidence feature is also found with the past progressive. All the examples
below are interpretable as a more polite, more diffident version of the present tense
versions of the sentences:

       (61)   (i)     A: Did you want to see me?
                      B: Yes, I hoped you would give me a hand with the painting.
              (ii)    I wanted to ask your advice.
              (iii)   I wondered whether you could help me out.
              (iv)    I thought I might come and see you later this evening.
              (v)     My daughter was hoping to speak to the Manager.

Leech (1971:11) makes the following comments on the exchange in (61i): “The subject
of this exchange would probably be the present wishes of speaker B, despite the use of
the past tense. The Present and the Past are, in fact, broadly interchangeable in this
context; but there is quite an important difference in tone. The effect of the past tense is
to make the request indirect, and therefore more polite….The present tense (I hope…) in
this situation would seem rather brusque and demanding – it would make the request
difficult to refuse without impoliteness. The past tense, on the other hand, avoids the
confrontation of wills. Politeness also extends to the original question Did you want to
see me? The logically expected tense (Do you want me?) might have peremptory
overtones, and would seem to say ‘Oh, it’s you, is it? You always want something!’.
        Along the same lines, Huddlestone & Pullum (2002) state that: ‘ The added
politeness associated with the preterite comes from avoiding explicit reference to the
immediate present: I distance myself slightly and thus avoid the risk of appearing too
direct, possibly brusque.”
        According to Huddlestone & Pullum (2002:38) ‘this conventional use of the
preterite is quite consistent with its basic past time meaning’. In the absence of any
contextual indication that reference is made to some definite time in the non-immediate
36


past, the time referred to will be interpreted, in such sentences, as immediate past. As
can be noticed, all the situations described in the sentences are state situations, not
eventive/dynamic situations and the use of the past tense does not entail that the state no
longer holds. Since there is nothing to suggest that the state has ended, the
interpretation will be that the state also obtains at utterance time, so that all the
sentences convey the present tense versions of the sentences.
         The prototypical case (for either aspect) is a declarative with first person subject,
but 3 rd person subjects can be used when speaking on behalf of somebody else, as in

(60v) above. The same usage carries over into interrogatives, with a switch to 2nd person
subject, as in (60i).

3. The Perfect in English

3.0. The aim of this subchapter is to introduce and discuss important matters
concerning the characteristics of perfect sentences in English. Perfect constructions have
a characteristic set of temporal location and aspectual values, and appear in many
languages. Traditionally, the term referred to a tense of ancient Greek12. Nowadays it is
used for constructions that have a certain temporal and aspectual meaning, whether or
not they involve tense. (Smith 1991:146).
        Comrie (1981a apud R.Declerck 1991:319) discards the present perfect from his
treatment of the tenses because, in his opinion , the present perfect does not differ from
the past tense in terms of time location; both tenses locate a situation as prior to he time
of utterance. The difference is claimed to be one of aspect only.: the present perfect
implies current relevance’, the past tense does not. This position is roughly the same as
that defended by tradititional grammarians like Jespersen (1924:269) and Poutsma
(1926:209) or, in recent times, McCoard (1978:19).
        In English the perfect is signalled by the auxiliary have, which obligatorily
selects the past participle form of the main verb. Perfect sentences appear with Present,
Past and Future reference time and with both a perfective and progressive viewpoints.
One of the roles of have is to carry the tense morpheme (present, past). The examples
below illustrate Present, Past and Future Perfects:

        (62)              (i)      Now John has arrived.
                          (ii)     Last Saturday John had (already) arrived.
                          (iii)    Next Saturday John will have already arrived.

       In all these cases the adverbials in conjunction with the tense morphemes
(Present, Past, Future) specify AS-T and the sentences describe a situation, namely [John
arrive] as occurring at a time before the specified Reference time (i.e. AS-T) This is the


12
   In point of terminology there is a clear difference between the ‘perfect’ and ‘perfective’. The former
refers to a construction with particular temporal and aspectual characteristics, while the latter refers to a
closed grammatical viewpoint. Both come from the Latin word ‘perfectus’ the past participle of ‘perficere’
(to carry, end, finish, accomplish). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘perfect’ was first
applied to the Latin tense which denoted a completed action or event viewed in relation to the present
and then with qualifications to any tense expressing completed action; the first such use cited in OED is
1530. (Smith 1991:164). In English the aspectual relations identified as PERFECTIVE and PERFECT are
encoded as follows: PERFECTIVE is encoded by the simple form,and the event is portrayed in its
entirety, as including its endpoints, while the perfect encodes the PERFECT which describes an event as
completed prior to a reference time.
37


second role of the aspectual auxiliary HAVE. So, one of the hallmarks of the Perfect is that
it presents the prior situation as related to a reference time.
         In (62i) the adverb in combination with the present tense morpheme -s specify
the AS-T : AS-T overlaps the time of utterance (i.e. UT-T WITHIN AS-T ) and the event
as such is located within the interval prior to AS-T (i.e AS-T AFTER EV-T), yet also part
of a general period of the present which extends backward, not being limited to UT-T;
hence the situation is viewed as completed and within an interval that extends back
from the moment of speech –the ‘extended now’ interval (McCoard 1984).
         The reference times of the next two examples (62ii, iii) are similarly extended in
some way to include the time of John’s arrival. Both sentences have unspecified Past and
Future reference times (i.e. UT-T precedes or follows AS-T); they also convey that the
event precedes the reference time ( i.e. AS-T AFTER EV-T ).
         To conclude, the situation described in a perfect sentence is viewed as completed
in relation to a reference time ( our AS-T) which itself can be located in the present, past
or future.
                As already mentioned, the contribution of the perfect to the meaning of
the sentence is that it makes available an AS-T distinct from the EV-T. The situation
described by the VP occurs prior to AS-T (due to the auxiliary have) while the tense
morpheme , shows that AS-T is concomitant/before /after the time of Utterance i.e.UT
within/after/before AS-T , AS-T AFTER EV-T. In this case the time sphere is
present/past/future; in all the cases the claim is made about a time span that does
not include the event at stake i.e the aspect component says that AS-T is in the
posttime of EV-T (i.e. AS-T AFTER EV-T) .
         Since the perfect encodes the temporal relations between AS-T and EV-T placing
the former after the latter, we assume with Demirdache & Uribe-Etxebarria (2004)
that the perfect can be analyzed as a marker of aspect represented as the spatio-
temporal predicate AFTER. The aspectual meaning of the perfect is thus closely related
to its temporal meaning. This interpretation perfectly accomodates the presence of
perfect constructions in contexts where the inflectional past tense cannot occur:

       (63)           (i)     Sheila may have left last week
                      (ii)    Susan’s having left early surprised everyone

         Perfect sentences have a stative value They present a state of affairs (a situation)
that results from and is due to the prior situation, as illustrated by the previous examples
and the present perfect examples below. It is assumed (Giorgi &Pianesi 1998:97) that
this is the contribution of the perfect morphology.

       (64)           (i)     Anabelle has gone to Paris.
                      (ii)    They have built a cabin in the mountains.
                      (iii)   Helen has danced with Tom (twice).
                      (iv)    The ball has rolled down the hill.
                      (v)     Susan has been sick.

      In all these sentences the focus is on the (consequent ) state that obtains in the
present, a state which is due to the occurrence of the situation described by the VP.
      To accommodate this state of fact Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria (2002)
decompose/split the VP, taking advantage of the fact that VPs can be recursive, as in
(65):
38



       (65)             VP1
               Ev-T1            VP1     Process <e>
                         V0            VP2
                              Ev-T2        VP2 Resultant State <e’>

        Each VP in (65) stands for a phase in the internal temporal structure of the event
described by the VP. VP1 represents the processual subpart of the event while VP2
stands for the resultant state (or consequent state) after the culmination/termination of
the process.
        The third characteristic of Present Perfect sentences in English is that they
ascribe to their subjects a property that results from their participation in the situation
(Smith 1991:148). Let’s consider the examples in 64(i,iii) above. The sentences assert
that their subjects have participated in the events described. We understand not only
that an event of going to Paris has taken place or that an event of dancing has occurred,
the sentences attribute to their respective subjects the property (experience) of having
gone to London and the property (experience) of having danced, that is to say in order
for the subjects to receive the participant property , to experience the events described
they must be sentient beings (roughly, they must be alive at reference time). It is
assumed that this pragmatic felicity requirement on the use of the perfect accounts for
the oddity of a sentence like the following:

       (66)            Einstein has lived in Princeton

       The sentence is grammatical but pragmatically infelicitous when uttered after the
death of Einstein (Jespersen 1931:60). This failure is accounted for in terms of the
participant property. The felicity requirement is that the person referred to by the
subject NP must be able to bear the property ascribed to them by a perfect sentence. The
notion of Current Relevance is sometimes invoked to explain the infelicity of such
sentences (Jespersen 1931, McCoard 1978).
       According to Giorgi and Pianesi (1998:95): ‘only perfect tenses, which separate
the reference time from the event time, permit assertions about the involvement of the
subject to be separated from those of the event itself….. With the simple tenses R (i.e AS-
T) coincides with (or contains ) the time of the event, so that the participation of the
subject in the event is viewed together with the event itself’.
       To conclude this short introduction, we will assume with C. Smith (1991:146)
that Perfect constructions generally convey the following related meanings:
       (a) the situation described precedes Reference time (i.e. As-T after EV-T) (i.e.
perfect tenses make available a reference time distinct from the event time) ;
       (b) the construction has a resultant stative value; in Giorgi and Pianesi’s (1998)
terms, ‘the perfect tenses provide individual level predicates’.
       (c) a special property is ascribed to the subject, which holds at a given reference
time by virtue of the participation in the situation.
       There are some differences across languages (e.g. French, Romanian, German vs
English) but these are the primary identifying characteristics.


3.1.Present Perfect sentences
39


3.1.1. This subchapter looks into the main problems identified with respect to the
Present Perfect, such as:

     (i)     the difference between the present perfect and the past tense.
     (ii)    the various readings of the Present Perfect;
     (iii)   the ambiguity phenomena arising with present perfect sentences.
     (iv)    the relationship of the present perfect with time adverbs and the Present
             Perfect Puzzle

3.1.2 A commonplace manner of analysing the present perfect has been to place it in
opposition to the Simple Past tense. The three main points around which the distinction
between the 2 tenses revolves are the following:
      (i)     they both express temporal anteriority but in different ways: Past Tense
              expresses temporal precedence between UT-T and AS-T while the Perfect
              expresses temporal precedence between EV-T and AS-T
      (ii)    compatibility with adverbial phrases.;the present perfect is incompatible
              with specific past time adverbs (dubbed as ‘the present perfect puzzle’)
      (ii)    Perfect sentences are stative (irrespective of the underlying eventuality
              type) while Past tense sentences inherit the aspectual properties of the
              underlying eventuality

       The main characteristic shared with the Past Tense is that they both express a
relation of anteriority of an eventuality to a reference time (i.e. in terms of the theory
put forth by Demirdache & Uribe-Etxebarria (2004) the perfect (have) just like the past
tense (ed) are temporal predicates with the meaning AFTER ). The question that
grammarians had to solve was whether the type of anteriority induced by the Past
tense is indeed different from that expressed by the Present Perfect . Consider the
examples below:

         (67)          (i)    Miriam ate an apple.
                       (ii)   Miriam has eaten an apple .

         Both sentences describe a situation located in the Past and are true under the
same circumstances. The essential insight about these constructions is due to
Reichenbach 1947, as already mentioned.
          Of the three temporal entities we have employed in our analysis of the tenses,
namely UT-T, AS-T, EV-T, the relevant one in the understanding of the differences
between the two tenses under consideration is AS-T.
          Following current research, we have argued that AS-T acts as a perspective time,
that is, it acts as a time from which the event is considered, or in Klein’s (1992) terms, a
time about which a particular claim is made. The difference between the sentences in
(66) above is a matter of temporal point of view or perspective.
         As we have seen in our discussion of the Present Tense and Past Tense, Tense
relates UT-T and AS-T, while Aspect relates AS-T and EV-T. With simple tense forms
AS-T coincides with (or contains) EV-T, since Aspect has no morphological content.
         With the Past tense the EV-T and AS-T are co-temporal, which means that the
event occurs at/within the stated AS-T; the relation of anteriority (expressed by the
past tense morpheme –ed) exists therefore between Assertion time/Event Time and
40


Utterance time: i.e. UT-T after AS-T/EV-T since AS-T= EV-T. The time-sphere is Past: the
claim is made about a past time span that includes the entire event.
        The contribution of the perfect to the meaning of the sentence is that it makes
available an AS-T distinct from the EV-T. In the case of the Present Perfect the situation
described by the VP occurs prior to AS-T (due to the auxiliary have) while the present
tense morpheme –s, shows that AS-T is concomitant with the time of Utterance, i.e. UT-
T within AS-T , AS-T after EV-T. In this case the time sphere is present.; the claim is
made about a present time span that does not include the event at stake. Here are
the two representations:

       PAST TENSE
                                                              AS-T/EV-T              UT-T

       (a)     TP`                            (b)      -----[----------]-----------[------]----


       UT-T          T’

               T          AspP
             AFTER

               AS-Ti             Asp’


                           Asp          VP



                                  EV-Ti       VP

             PRESENT PERFECT
                                                                   EV-T           UT-T

       (a)     TP`                                (b) ---[----------------]----[-------]--------
                                                                                  AS-T


       UT-T          T’

              T           AspP
             WITHIN

               AS-T          Asp’


                           Asp          VP
                           AFTER


                                  EV-T       VP
41


        In the case of the Past Tense the AS-T is past and the event occurs at AS-T which
is prior to the time of Utterance. So, in Past sentences the point of view is squarely in the
past. In Georgi &Pianesi’s account, when AS-T and EV-T (R and E in their system)
coincide, the participation of the subject in the event is viewed together with the event as
such, since they suggest that (at least part of) the claim made about AS-T refers to
assertions about the subject at AS-T13 . What this means is that the assertion about the
event as such necessarily includes assertions about the involvement of the subject.
         In contrast, the Perfect auxiliary have locates the situation as a whole (EV-T) at a
time prior to AS-T, which, in its turn, is viewed as including the utterance time (due to
the present tense morpheme.).
        The (Present) Perfect makes available a tense component and an aspect
component, i.e it separates the AS-T from the EV-T. The tense component says that AS-T
includes UT-T while the aspect component says that AS-T is in the post-time of EV-T (i.e.
AS-T after EV-T) .
         Hence, the analysis nicely accounts for the strong feeling connected with the
present perfect: it makes a claim about a time span (AS-T) that includes UT-T and it
relates this time span explicitly to some event in the past.14 . According to this view, the
meaning of (67i) is that there is a past event of eating an apple and as far as the event is
concerned its agent is Miriam. On the other hand (67ii) means that there is a past event
of eating an apple and as far as the present situation is concerned its agent is Miriam.
        Since all accounts of the present perfect stress the present time relevance of the
present perfect, or the stative nature of the predication as well as the participant
property that it assigns to the subject, we will assume, as already stated, that present
perfect predicates (VPs)         have a structure that resembles that of transitive
accomplishment verbs (e, e’) ,i.e. e (event 1) stands for the process, while e’ (event 2)
stands for the result of that event (Hale and Keyser, 1993).

(68)                VP1
        Ev-T1                VP1      Process <e>
                     V0               VP2
                                Ev-T2       VP2 Resultant State <e’>

       Each VP in (68) stands for a phase in the internal temporal structure of the event
described by the VP. VP1 represents the processual subpart of the event while VP2
stands for the resultant state (or consequent state) after the culmination/termination of
the process.
       Each of the sub-events in (68) has an external temporal argument: the external
argument of VP1, Ev-T1, denotes the period of time during which the process unfolds in
time, from its beginning up to its culmination/termination. The external argument of
VP2, Ev-T2, designates the resultant state after the culmination/termination of the
process.
       This (VP decomposition) analysis of the present perfect proposed by Demirdache
and Uribe-Etxebarria (2002) will nicely account for the values attached to the present
perfect.
3.2 Values of the Present Perfect

13
   Actually they say that : ‘….the claim made about R is that the relevant θ-relation holds (or is said to hold) of
the subject at R.
14
   This applies analogously to the future perfect and past perfect, except that the relevance is not current
or present; but it is ongoing. (Klein 1992:53)
42


3.2.1Aspect does not say how LONG AS-T is after EV-T; EV-T may immediately precede
AS-T, but it may also be in the distant past. Nor does the perfect say anything about the
FREQUENCY of the situation described . The perfect doesn’t set any boundary on the
DURATION of EV-T, either; Klein (1992:539) argues that the duration of EV-T is ignored
due to the fact that the perfect is not b-definite (i.e. boundary definite) with respect to
EV-T. For a present perfect sentence to be true, all that is required is that SOME time
span, one at which the situation was true, precedes the time when the utterance is made.
    The fact that distance and frequency of EV-T are left open gives rise to the different
readings of the perfect (existential, resultative , continuative, etc). These readings are
not due to an inherent ambiguity of the perfect, but stem from contextual information
and the particular type of situation. Consider the following examples:

        (69)   (i)     Tabitha has lived in Hamburg ever since she married.
               (ii)    Tabitha has lived in Hamburg .
               (iii)   Jane has broken her leg /They have gone away.
               (iv)     She has recently/just been to Paris/ Malcolm Jones has just been
                       assassinated!


        In both(69i) and (69ii) , in point of situation type, the predicate [Tabitha live in
Hamburg] qualifies as state.
        For (69i) the natural reading is an open, continuative reading, the situation
continues from the time specified (ever since she married) into the time of utterance (and
in the absence of contrary indications will presumably continue into the future). This
value of the present perfect is known as the continuative or inclusive value.
        In (69ii) the absence of the duration adjunct forces the closed, non-continuative
reading, Tabitha’s living in Hamburg is said to have taken place at some indefinite time
in the past. This value of the perfect is known as the experiential value. The focus is not
on the occurrence at some particular time in the past, but on the relevance of the
situation within the time-span up to now . The connection with NOW is the subject which
must have the participant property as a present attribute. The sentence implicates that
the subject is alive and can be interpreted as the carrier of the enduring property
(experience) of having participated in the event.
        The sentences in (69iii) are the clearest cases of the resultative perfect, where the
situation inherently involves a specific change of state (the predicates are telic): the
occurrence of these situations result in a state that still obtains at now.
        The example in (69iv) is assumed to be a case of the Perfect of Recent Past, or
with other grammarians, the Hot News Present Perfect,(McCawley 1976), the Indefinite
Past (Leech 1971 ).
        According to, among others, Anagnostopoulou, Iatridou &Izvorski (1998:17) the
Experiential Perfect and the Perfect of Recent Past may be considered to fall under the
cover term ‘Existential’ Perfect, or it can be included in the domain of Resultative
perfect. These identified major uses can be thought of as different ways in which a past
situation may have ‘current relevance’. As already mentioned the different uses of the
Present Perfect depend on the situation types denoted by the VP as well as context.
3.2.2.We turn now to the description of the various meanings of the present perfect:

     (i) the Experiential Present Perfect ((first identified by Zandvoort, 1965), renamed
            in current studies as the Existential Value;
43


     (ii) the Perfect of Recent Past (also known as the ‘Hot News Present Perfect’);
     (iii ) the Continuative Present Perfect;
     (iv) the Resultative Present Perfect;

A. Experiential Perfect (Existential Value)

    As already mentioned several times so far, the values or meanings of the present
perfect crucially depend on the aspectual properties of the underlying eventuality and the
context (cf. Comrie, 1976, Smith, 1991, Kamp and Reyle, 1993, Julien, 2001, Demirdache
and Uribe-Etxebarria, 2002, 2004 among many others).
         The Perfect of experience ‘expresses what has happened once or more than once
within the speaker’s or writer’s experience’ (Zandvoort, 1967). This meaning is often
reinforced adverbially by ever, never, or before (now) (Leech 1971:32); the number of
events can also be mentioned adverbially: “I’ve been to America three times’. As can be
noticed, state predicates are recategorized as events in the context of frequency adverbs
(e.g. I have hated liars three times in my life)
         The Experiential value of the Perfect may occur with any Aktionsart:

        (70)   (i)     Sam has broken my computer (twice) (Accomplishment)
               (ii)    All my family have had measles/Have you been to America? (State)
               (iii) She has danced with John five times (Activity)
        (iv) I’ve discovered how to mend the fuse. (Achievement)
        (v)    Have you visited the Gaugain exhibition?
        (vi) I have sat for hours on the river bank on a fine summer’s day, waiting for a
               fish to bite. (Zaandvoort 1967:62)
        (vii) Men’s hairs have grown grey in a single night.
        (viii) Mr Philips has sung in this choir.
        (ix)   Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for
               love”. (Stefanescu, 1988)
        (x)    It’s the first/third time you’ve asked me this question today.

        As can be easily noticed, in the present perfect sentences in (70) the eventualities
are presented as ‘bounded’, since some of them can be repeated, i.e they show the
existence of one or several eventualities (states, processes or events) that are presented
as completed prior to the moment of speech (Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria, 2002).
The focus, however, is not on their occurrence at some particular time in the past but on
the existence of the situation within the time span. This is the reason why this value is
also knwn as the Indefinite Past value of the Present Perfect (Leech 1971). The
connection with now is the potential occurrence or recurrence of the situation at any
time within the time span up to now and this potentiality is made possible by the status
of the subject (the participation property).
    What is interesting about the experiential perfect is that, under restrictive
conditions, it allows for the presence of a past time adjunct (Comrie 1985;
Georgi&Pianesi 1998; Klein 1992; Huddlestone and Pullum 2002:144):

     (71)       (i)   We’ve already discussed it yesterday. vs We discussed it yesterday.
               (ii)   He has often got up at five o’clock. vs He got up at five o’clock.
44


    Notice that the presence of the adverbs ‘already’ and ‘often’ cancel the effect of the
past time adverbs, i.e. there is no reference to any specific occasion, as there is in the
simple preterite.
B. The Perfect of Recent Past
    Most grammarians agree that the Perfect of Recent Past is used to report an
eventuality that just happened. According to Leech (1971) this use of the Present Perfect
is a subcategory of the Present Perfect of Experience, which he calls ‘Indefinite Past.’
    Some other linguist and grammarians consider this value as a subcategory of the
Resultative Perfect but for the component of recency. (Fenn 1987).             Huddlestone
&Pullum 2002:145) suggest that ‘it is arguable that the existential and resultative
categories are broad enough to cover all non-continuative uses....’. We go along with the
suggestion that this use can be included in the Present Perfect of Experience group.
     In this reading of the Perfect just like in the Present Perfect of Experience category
the underlying eventuality can be of any Aktionsart.
        The most widely used adverbs with this value of the perfect are recently and just,
used deictically, as well as already and yet.
        These adverbs do not refer to definite times in the past but indicate an indefinite
time within a short interval stretching back from UT-T. This use of the present perfect is
quite frequent with news announcements as in the radio bulletin examples in (72ii,iii)
(wherefrom the name ‘Hot News Present Perfect’ McCawley (1971))

       (72)   (i)     She has recently/just been to Paris/It has just struck twelve.
              (ii)     Malcolm Jones has just been assassinated! (Leech 1971)
              (iii)   It has been a bad start to the year, with two fatal road accidents
                      overnight (H&P 2002:145)
              (iv)    Has the dustman called yet?
              (v)     He has just graduated from college.

        An interesting fact about this use of the present perfect is the one mentioned by
Leech (1971:46, as well as Mittwoch 1988) according to whom, under certain
circumstances, the perfect progressive may describe ‘recently finished’ eventualities ‘the
effects of which are still apparent’. Consider the examples below:

       (73)   (i)     Why are you crying? I’ve been chopping onion.
              (ii)     You’ve been fighting again (‘I can tell from your black eye)
              (iii)   I’ve just been listening to a program on Vietnam.
              (iv)    I’ve just been cooking.
              (v)     He has been eating your porridge; it’s all gone. (Mittwoch 1988)
              (vi)    I have been writing a difficult letter; thank goodness it’s finished.
                      (Mittwoch 1988)

C. Resultative Perfect

    The Present Perfect can also be used with reference to a past event the result of
which is still valid at the present time (at now). The Perfect of result is possible only
with telic predicates since they denote a transition from one state to another and only for
as long as the effect /result of the underlying eventuality holds. The connection with the
present is that the resultant state still holds ‘at now’. The resultant state begins at the
time of occurrence of the underlying eventuality and continues through into the present.
45


Huddlestone and Pullum (2002) call this use the Perfect of Continuing Result. Consider
the following examples:

       (74)   (i)      The taxi has arrived.
              (ii)     I have lost my glasses.
              (iii)    He has been given a camera.
              (iv)     They’ve gone away.
              (v)      Oh! My God! Sam has broken my computer.
              (vi)     I’ve recovered from my illness.
              (vii)    He has gone to America.
              (viii)   I’ve bought a new car.
              (ix)     Twenty years have passed since we first met. (Zandvoort 1967:62)
              (x)      He has collected much evidence against her. (Jespersen 1969:266)

    It is generally assumed that the resultative reading does not need any support from
adverbials. Sometimes it is indistinguishable (or at least difficult to distinguish) from
the Perfect of Recent Past.

D. Continuative or Inclusive Perfect

    The Continuative Perfect conveys the meaning that the situation described holds
throughout some interval stretching from a certain point in the past up to the present
moment (Zanvoort 1967,Leech 1971,McCoard 1978, Dowty !979, ,etc). Jespersen (1931)
calls this use of the Present Perfect the ‘inclusive present perfect’ which speaks of a state
that is continued from the past into the present time.
    It is currently assumed that the Continuative Perfect is not one of the core meanings
of the Perfect since many languages do not have it. (Jespersen 1933, Comrie 1976).
         Different linguists and grammarians have identified different constraints that are
operative on this use of the perfect.
         It is generally assumed that the Continuative reading of the Perfect can be formed
from stative predicates, that is the underlying eventuality must be stative. The
continuative reading is manifest with atelic situation types (or rather unbounded), i.e.
homogeneous eventualities.
         A second condition for the instantiation of this use has been assumed to be the
presence of certain adverbials. Consider the following examples borrowed from
different sources (Zandvoort1967, Jespersen 1933, Leech1971, Huddlestone & Pullum
2002, Stefanescu 1988, a.o.):


       (75)   (i)      He hath beene dead foure days. (Jespersen 1969:241)
              (ii)     We’ve known each other for years.
              (iii)    How long has he been unconscious? (Zandvoort,,1967:59)
              (iv)     We’ve lived here all our lives. vs We’ve lived here (Leech,1971:31)
              (v)      Have you known the Faulkners for long?


       Leech (1971:32) mentions that the adverbial need not be required in the
following exchange:
46


        (76)     A: Why haven’t you been writing to me?
                 B: I’ve been too angry/I’ve been ill.

        Huddlestone and Pullum (2002) state that the continuative perfect in the non-
progressive form only allows atelic situations, i.e. ones without a terminal point. What
this actually amounts to is to say that basically it is only states that may occur with this
value in the simple tense forms. All the other situation types require the use of the
progressive.
        This suggestion is supported by Anagnostopoulou, Iatridou&Izvorski (1998;22),
who assume that actually what counts for a proper use of the Continuative Perfect is
unboundedness, (open reading)15 i.e. the Continuative Perfect will not be possible with
the Perfect of telics and activities alike, unless they are used in the progressive or they
have an iterated (generic/habitual, hence stative) interpretation. Compare:

        (77)     (i)    *He has written another poem/found his keys ever since he came
                        home.
                 (ii)   *He has danced ever since this morning.
                 (iii) He’s been writing this poem ever since he came home
                 (iv) He’s been dancing ever since this morning
                 (v)    He has written about religion all his life
                 (vi) Mr Phillips has sung in this choir for fifty years.
                 (vii) I’ve always walked to work.
                 (viii) I’ve enjoyed my meals all the better since you started going out
                 (ix) The news has been broadcast at ten o’clock for as long as I can
                        remember.
                 (x)    He has worked here ever since he was a child.
                 (xi) She’s been rehearsing for five hours now.
                 (xii) She has been working here longer than the others.

        The assumption is not unreasonable, since we argued that all situation types with
the exception of states are interpreted in the perfective viewpoint as containing
boundedness (i.e. endpoints). States are ambiguous between an open (unbounded) and
a closed (bounded) reading.
        This ambiguity of the states is visible with the Present Perfect as well. Compare
the following sentences:

        (78)     (i)      We have lived in London.
                 (ii)     We have lived in London ever since 1997/all our lives

       The first example without the adverbial does not favour the continuative reading
but rather a closed, bounded reading, namely the Perfect of experience (Leech, 1971,
Fenn 1987, Huddlestone and Pullum 2002, etc). The presence of the adverbial in the
second sentence makes possible the Continuative reading of the Perfect. Actually, the
same ambiguity may arise with activity predicates. Consider the following examples:

        (79)     (i)      Mary has rehearsed since noon
                          (a)   Now she is resting
15
  Huddlestone and Pullum (2002:142) consider the continuative reading of the Perfect to be imperfective
aspectually
47


                      (b)    She is still rehearsing

               (ii)   Mary has been rehearsing since noon

The second sentence is not ambiguous at all: the only available reading of the sentence is
the Continuative reading.

       To sum up, the most important characteristics of the Continuative Perfect
outlined in the literature are the following:

              the Continuative Perfect presents a state as holding from a moment in the
       past up to and including the moment of speech.
              the Continuative Perfect requires unbounded ( homogeneous)
       eventualities;
             the Continuative reading of the Perfect necessarily requires adverbial
       modification

The role of adverbial modification

       According to Anagnostopoulou, Iatridou and Izvorsky (1998) the Continuative
reading of the Present Perfect asserts that the underlying eventuality holds throughout
the interval specified by the adverb and at its endpoints. This means that the UT-T is
included by assertion. According to them, this use of the perfect is possible only when
the perfect is modified by adverbs that denote time spans .
       The adverbials assumed to trigger the Continuative reading fall into two groups,
namely, some with which the Continuative reading is possible and some with which the
Continuative reading is obligatory:

        (80)      (i) Continuative reading possible: since, for five days, so far, up
                      to now
                 (ii) Continuative reading obligatory: at least since, ever since, for five
                      days now

       It has long been acknowledged (Dowty 1979, Vlach 1993) that there are at least
two levels of adverbials, namely, perfect level and eventuality level adverbials. One
diagnostic for whether an adverb is perfect level is whether perfect morphology is
obligatory; since is a case in point:

       (81)    (i)    I have been away since yesterday
               (ii)   *I am/ was away since yesterday

       For-adverbials,on the other hand, seem to be optional with perfect morphology;
actually such adverbials are ambiguous between a perfect-level and eventuality level
reading.
       The adverbs mentioned above relate to intervals; in this capacity they can be
interpreted as ‘durative’ or ‘inclusive’ (Dowty 1979; Mittwoch 1988).
       If a Perfect-level adverb is durative the situation denoted by the predicate must
hold of every subinterval of the time span, i.e. the time span must be ‘filled up’ with a
homogeneous predicate. In such cases we obtain a Continuative reading of the perfect.
48


       If the perfect level adverbial is inclusive the perfect sentence asserts that a
particular eventuality/situation is properly included in the perfect time span. The
eventuality is interpreted as closed , i.e. the situation is located at some time within the
time span indicated, and the Perfect of Experience is obtained. Huddlestone &Pullum
(2002: 709) define this use of the adjunct as ‘temporal location’.
       Since-adverbials are largely restricted to the perfect in BrE being used to mark
the starting point (the left boundary (LB) of the perfect time span denoted by the
perfect.16 These adverbials are ambiguous between the inclusive and durative reading as
the examples below (borrowed from H&P 2002:709) indicate:

         (82)     (i)       I’ve moved house since you left (inclusive reading)- Experience
                  (ii)      I’ve been here since four o’clock (durative reading)- Continuative
                  (iii)     I’ve been ill again since then .(ambiguous)
                  (iv)      Sam has been in Boston since Tuesday. (ambiguous)
                  (v)       Since Tuesday, Sam has been in Boston

The ambiguity of the last two sentence can be resolved if the adverbial is preposed as in
(82v) above.

        It is to be noticed that telic predicates (accomplishments and achievements) in
the context of ‘since’ only allow the inclusive reading of this adverbial, hence what is
known as the experience reading of the perfect.
        Durational reading ‘since’ allows ‘ever’ which forces the Continuative reading (e.g.
I’ve been lonely ever since you left) and it provides answers to how long questions (e.g. A:
How long have you been here? B: Since four o’clock) (H&P 2002:709).
        The adverbial at least also forces the Continuative reading .
         As already mentioned, the Continuative reading obeys two constraints: (i) the
presence of durative adverbs and (ii) the existence of homogeneous predicates: i.e. basic
states, generics and dynamic predicates in the progressive aspect. Compare:

         (83)     (i)       Peggy has been in Asia ever since January. (Continuative, state)
                  (ii)      ???Peggy has rehearsed ever since noon. (process predicate)
                  (iii)     Peggy has been rehearsing ever since noon. (Continuative)
                  (iv)      I have worked here ever since 1998. (habitual, continuative)
                  (v)       ???I have read this book ever since 1998.
                  (vi)      I’ve been reading this book ever since 1998.

Whenever since-adverbs occur with events (accomplishments and achievements), the
stress lies on the result ensuing from the termination of the event:

         (84)     (i)       He has written two books since 1992
                  (ii)      He has reached the top since 6 o’clock

For-adverbials have been characterized as being both perfect level and eventuality level
adverbials ; for-phrases do not obligatorily require the perfect.


16
  Since can, however, occur with other tenses : (i) This is the first cup since Tuesday; (ii) Bill Clinton will be the
youngest president since Kennedy. AmE allows preterits more widely: Since you went home we redecorated our
bedroom (H&P:697)
49


        As a perfect –level adverbial the for-phrase indicates the length of the reference
interval.
        As an eventuality–level adverbial, the for-phrase indicates the length of the
situation.
        Consider the examples below, where in (82i) the for-adverbial indicates the
length of the situation, we have an eventuality –level reading; in the second example the
sentence is ambiguous between an eventuality-level and a perfect –level reading, which
is suspended once the adverb is in sentence –initial position (we only have the perfect-
level reading, i.e. the adverb indicates the length of the reference interval):

       (85)   (i)      I was a teacher for 20 years.
              (ii)     I’ve been been a teacher for thirty years. / For 20years, I have been
                       a teacher
              (iii)    *Mary wrote the letters for half an hour. vs. She wrote letters for
                       half an hour
              (iv)    *He spotted a hawk for half an hour. vs. I spotted a hawk every week
                       for a month.

        For-adverbials are durational which means that the predicate they modify must
be homogeneous/have the subinterval property (Dowty 1979). Hence telic predicates
and punctual verbs are excluded. The examples in 82(iii, iv) are valid since the bare
plural ‘letters’ and the frequency adverb ‘every week’ turn the predicates into a process
of the multiple event type.
        Given that for-adverbials can be eventuality-level and perfect –level adverbials,
the perfect sentences may be ambiguous between two readings, the perfect of experience
and the continuative perfect, whenever we deal with sentence- final for- adverbials.
Whenever the for-adverbial is in sentence -initial position the only available reading is
the continuative perfect. In such cases the for-adverb is interpreted as a perfect- level
adverb. Compare the following:

       (86)   (i)     I have lived in Thessaloniki for ten years (E-reading/C-reading)
                      (a)E- reading: since I was born till now there was a time span of ten
                      years that I lived in T.
                      (b) C-reading : Within the time span of 10 years I lived in T.

              (ii)    For ten years, I have lived in Thessaloniki. (only C-reading )

For-adverbs may occur in perfect sentences in the context of a perfect-level adverbial
like since-adverbs. In such cases the for-adverbs is interpreted as eventuality level:

       (87)   (i)     Since 1970, I have been sick for five days.

Process predicates in the perfect in the context of for-adverbs also exhibit an ambiguity
between E-reading and C-reading . The ambiguity disappears once we use the
progressive form of the perfect:

       (88)   (i)     Tom has pushed the cart for two hours .(E-reading/C-reading)
              (ii)    Tom has been pushing the cart for two hours.
50


       The perfect level /eventuality level ambiguity of for-phrases is suspended once
the adverb now is added, irrespective of the final position of the for-phrase:

       (89)   (i)     Mary has been sick for two weeks now.

Always. Always is interpreted as being either perfect-level or eventuality-level.
Individual-level predicates can combine with always only in the perfect:

       (90)   (i)     Emma has always been tall.
              (ii)    I have always known he was a rascal.

       In such contexts the adverb is characterized as perfect-level and cannot co-occur
with other perfect-level adverbs:

       (91)   (i) * Since 1990, Emma has always been tall.

        Whenever always co-occurs with stage-level states or dynamic predicates it may
occur in non-perfect sentences or in perfect sentences with perfect adverbials in which
case it has an eventuality level reading:

       (92)   (i)     I always give/gave him a dime when he asks/asked for money.
              (ii)    He has always smoked in the morning as far as I know.
              (iii)   Since 1990, she has always been sick when I visited her.

4. The syntax of Perfect sentences

       (93)   (i))    He has visited the museum twice
              (ii)    Mary has lived in Cairo for three years (now)
              (iii)   Oh! Sam has broken my computer
              (iv)    Malcolm Jones has just been assassinated!

       The sentences above are examples of the four identified values of the present
perfect:
       (i) the perfect of experience (93i) also known in the literature as the existential
value shows the existence of one or several eventualities (states, processes or events)
that are presented as completed prior to the moment of speech (Demirdache and Uribe-
Etxebarria, 2002).
       (ii) the continuative perfect (93ii); the present perfect in (93ii) indicates that Mary
still lives in Cairo at the moment of speech. The adverb of duration shows that the state
in question began three years before the moment of speech and this state still continues
at the moment of utterance.
       (iii) the perfect of result (93iii) ; the resultative reading obtains with a VP that
describes an accomplishment or an achievement; the result state which derives from the
event described by the sentence (Sam break my computer) is presented as persistent at
the moment of utterance.
(iv) the perfect of recent past (or hot news present perfect) in (93iv) will, in our opinion
be identified with the existential value of the present perfect; the reasons are twofold:
(i) this value accepts all Aktionarts; (ii) there are some differences between BrE and
AmE with respect to the choice between the Present Perfect and the Past Tense Simple –
51


cases where AmE may prefer a Simple preterite and BrE prefers or requires a Present
Perfect. The cases concern situations in the recent past; AmE would prefer : I just saw
them /He already left yesterday, whereas BrE prefers : I’ve just seen them/He’s already
left.
      Following current suggestions (Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria ,2002) we
collapse the continuative present perfect , and the resultative present perfect but collapse
the present perfect of recent result into the experiential value of the present perfect, as
their semantics is very similar (see below).
        In what follows, we present the syntax and semantics of the existential and
resultative / continuative values of the present perfect following the analysis proposed
by Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria (2002, 2004). The two readings of the perfect will
be uniformly derived from the proposal that the perfect is a spatio-temporal predicate
with the meaning AFTER/BEFORE.
        Since all accounts of the present perfect stress the present time relevance of the
present perfect, or the stative nature of the predication as well as the participant
property that it assigns to the subject, we will assume, as already stated, that present
perfect predicates (VPs)        have a structure that resembles that of transitive
accomplishment verbs (e, e’) ,i.e. e (event 1) stands for the process, while e’ (event 2)
stands for the result of that event (Hale and Keyser, 1993).




       (94)        VP1
              Ev-T1           VP1     Process <e>
                         V0           VP2
                              Ev-T2         VP2     Resultant State <e’>


       Each VP in (94) stands for a phase in the internal temporal structure of the event
described by the VP. VP1 represents the processual subpart of the event while VP2
stands for the resultant state (or consequent state) after the culmination/termination of
the process.
       Each of the sub-events in (94) has an external temporal argument: the external
argument of VP1, Ev-T1, denotes the period of time during which the process unfolds in
time, from its beginning up to its culmination/termination. The external argument of
VP2, Ev-T2, designates the resultant state after the culmination/termination of the
process.

Existential Value
Consider now the grammar of the existential present perfect as illustrated in
sentence(93i):

                                                               UT-T

       (95)           …[…………]..[…………]………[………]…….>
                          EV-T1         EV-T2               AS-T


    The English present perfect (have V-en) is a predicate with the meaning AFTER.
Under this analysis the Perfect ASPECT acts like a Past TENSE: both are predicates with
the meaning AFTER. In the existential reading the situation is viewed is closed, perfective,
52


bounded. The relevance at the present time is given by the subject property which is
based on participation in the prior situation. The existential value of the present perfect
is induced by the fact that AS-T just designates a time interval after Ev-T1 but this
interval does not coincide with the interval that characterizes the resultant state of the
process. Thus, the eventuality is presented as completed with respect to the interval
designated by As-T, which is concomitant with Ut-T.

The resultative / continuative value of the present perfect

We follow Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria (2002) and hypothesize that the present
perfect induces a resultative or continuative reading when it focuses on the result state
of a process:

                        UT-T/AS-T

       (96) …[………][………]……..>
               EV-T1     EV-T2




         In this case the perfect focuses one of the internal phases of the temporal
structure of the situation denoted by the VP ; it orders As-T after Ev-T1. In this way, the
perfect focuses Ev-T2, that is, the interval that designates the resultant state of the event
after the culmination of its processual subpart, as shown in (90). In its turn, the present
orders Ut-T WITHIN As-T; in this way, As-T makes visible the resultant state of the
process, as illustrated in the schema in (96).
        It follows that the result state is presented as still persisting at UT-T, as
continuing from a past interval up to the moment of speech.
        The derivation of the continuative reading of the present perfect, illustrated in
(93ii) (Mary has lived in Cairo for three years (now)), is very similar to the one provided
for the resultative reading, with a small difference though. The VP in (93ii) will also be
decomposed into two subintervals of time VP1 and VP2, as shown in (94). Following
Kamp and Reyle (1993) we hypothesize that in the case of a state eventuality such as
‘live in Cairo’ the resultant state begins just after the onset/the starting point of the
process itself (and not after its culmination, as there is none); the presence of the
duration adverb for three years is obligatory and it measures the whole reference
interval.
        In sum, the English present perfect has two properties: its VP structure can be
complex and it orders its external argument As-T after its internal argument Ev-T1. The
peculiarity of the present perfect is that its As-T can pick up any time interval after Ev-T1
as already shown and repeated below for convenience:

Existential Value
                                        UT-T

       (97) …[…………]..[…………]………[……]……….>
                EV-T1         EV-T2       AS-T


Resultative/Continuative Value
53

                           UT-T

       (98) …[…………][…………]………….>
               EV-T1      AS-T
                        EV-T2


    In (97), the present perfect just designates a time interval after Ev-T1 but this
interval does not coincide with the interval that characterizes the resultant state of the
process: in this case the present perfect acquires an existential value. Thus, the
eventuality is presented as completed with respect to the interval designated by As-T,
which is concomitant with Ut-T.
    In contrast, in (98) the present perfect focuses an internal phase of the VP complex
structure: it picks up an interval after Ev-T1, which designates the resultant state of the
process (Ev-T2). The reading induced by the present perfect is resultative/continuative
because the moment of utterance is concomitant with the focalized state.
    The (VP decomposition) analysis of the present perfect proposed by Demirdache and
Uribe-Etxebarria (2002) also accounts for the semantics of the English present perfect
progressive in a neat way. A sentence such as Mary has been opening the door means that
Mary was in the process of opening the door – it does not mean that Mary was in the
resultant state after the culmination of the process. This means that the progressive
orders its external argument (As-T1) within its internal argument (Ev-T1); in this way,
the progressive focuses a subinterval that designates the processual component of the
VP, i.e., Ev-T1, and not the subinterval that defines the resultant state of the process (Ev-
T2). AS-T2 expressed by the perfect coincides with the UT-T either within the interval
characterizing the event (99) or after the endpoint of the situation (100). In the first case
we may say that we have the continuative reading of dynamic predicates while in the
second we may identify the recent result reading of the progressive.

             AS-T1 (-ing) AS-T2 (have)
(99)   …[……[……………]………[…/……]……]…..
           EV-T1          EV-T2 UT-T

            AS-T1     AS-T2
(100) …[………(………)……]………(………)……..
      EV_T             UT-T

Other Temporal Uses of the Present Perfect
  (i) In adverbial clauses of time the present perfect is used with a future value to
         express the idea of completion. Consider the sentence below:

(63) You can go when you have finished your work

The conjunctions commonly used to introduce the adverbial clauses of time are: when,
as soon as, before, after, until, once, by the time (that), the moment (that).
       In some contexts, the use of the present perfect is in free variation with the
present tense. This variation depends on the situation type :

(95) I shall leave as soon as the meeting ends / has ended

In other contexts, the choice between the two tenses is not free:
54


(a)    when the events in the main clause and the subordinate clause temporally
coincide, the use of the present tense in the subordinate clause is favored, as in (96a)
below; when the event in the subordinate clause occurs before the one in the main
clause, the use of the present perfect in the subordinate clause gives well formed
sentences, as in (96b) below:

(96) a) Come over and see us when our guests leave.
    b) Come over and see us when our guests have left.

(b) when a causal relation between the event in the main clause and that of the
subordinate clause is established, the use of the present perfect is favored in the
subordinate adverbial clause of time. In the second sentence it is the situation type that
requires the use of the perfect (durative accomplishment).

(97) You’ll feel a lot better after/when you have taken this medicine.
   We can go out as soon as we have had dinner / *We can go out as soon as we have
   dinner.

(ii) Like the Simple Present the Present Perfect can be used with a narrative ‘fictional’
value (Leech 1971:38).Consider the example below borrowed from Leech (1971:38):

(98) John and Joy Jennings, who have been fighting a gang led by Red Reagan, have
followed the sinister goatherd Khari to a mountain hide-out, where they stumble upon a
coded message from Red’s lieutenant Hercule Judd.....

The example above is a case of serial story instalment, on the radio, TV, or popular
magazine. It is used to give a retrospective account of previous episodes which are ‘in
the past’ from the point of view of the stage of the story now reached.


C. Temporal Adverbs with the Present Perfect and the Past Tense – The Present
Perfect Puzzle

       In the literature on the perfect forms of predicates (cf. among others Leech
(1971), Comrie (1985), McCoard (1978) Klein (1992), H&P (2002), etc) it is shown that
locating, punctual adverbials such as on Thursday, yesterday, in 1976, before the
wedding, are considered ungrammatical when occurring with the present perfect in all
analyses and by all speakers. This phenomenon is known as the Present Perfect Puzzle
(Klein 1992).
        Adverbs like recently, just or today are considered to be compatible with the
present perfect, while deictic adverbs like today, this morning, this March, this year have
an intermediate status.
       It is important to notice that the phenomenon under consideration is not found
with other perfect forms (Giorgi& Pianesi (1998: 85):

(98)          past perfect: Sam had finished his paper yesterday (Heny:1982)
              modals: Bill may have been in Berlin before the war (Comrie 1976)
              infinitives: The security officer believes Bill to have been in Berlin before
              the war (Comrie 1976)
55


                gerunds: Having been in Berlin before the war, Bill is surprised at the
                many changes (Comrie 1976)

       A major contribution of McCoard’s study (1978) is the detailed analysis of the
way in which temporal adverbs relate to the present perfect and/or past tense. Adverbs
bring in their temporal meaning and they bear on tense selection and even on tense
interpretation. McCoard identifies three classes of adverbs: those that occur with the
simple past tense but not with the perfect, those that occur with either the simple past
or with the perfect and those that occur with the perfect but not with the simple past.

Occur with the simple past    Occur with either simple    Occur with perfect but not
   not with perfect            past or with perfect        with simple past

     long ago                 long since                 at present

     five years ago            in the past               up till now
      once (= formerly)           once (= one time)         so far
      the other day              today                    as yet
      those days               in my life                during these five years
      last night               for three years           herewith
      in 1900                  recently                   lately
      at 3:00                  just now                  since the war
      after/before the war     often                     before now
      no longer                 yet
                              always
                              ever
                              never
                              already
                              before
                              this morning

       The adverbs in the first column refer to points or stretches of time that precede
the moment of speech, either by their semantics or by context (e.g., at 3:00).
       The adverbs in the third column coincide with or are oriented to the moment of
speech. In context, these adverbs can be thought of as beginning before the moment of
speech and extending beyond it. They only occur with the present perfect and exclude
the past tense.
       For the adverbs in column two, it is the context and in particular the tense used,
which decide which time-sphere (past or present) is actually being referred to. They are
known as ‘neutral’ time-span adverbs (Fenn, 1987).
       As far as the adverbs in column two are concerned, the following comments are
in order. The comments here leave out for-phrases, since-phrases and always which we
have already discussed.
       Ever and never are used when the life experience of the subject is predicated
about. Both suggest the meaning ‘within a period of time’. When they occur with the
present perfect it is the present perfect that relates their time-span to the moment of
speech (e.g., A saner and more practical man I’ve never met). The period is viewed as
open including the time of utterance. On the other hand, their ‘within a period of time’
meaning also makes them compatible with the past tense (e.g., I never saw the St.
56


Patrick’s Day Parade while I was in New York). The period is viewed as closed excluding
the time of utterance.
        Adverbs such as often, sometimes, which refer to frequency can, depending on the
context, occur with either the present perfect or with the past tense (e.g., I have always
suspected your honesty / He always made a lot of fuss about nothing when they were
married).
        Lately and recently are commonly regarded as synonyms but they show different
compatibility as to their occurrence with the past tense and the present perfect. Lately is
a perfect level adverbial, i.e. it accepts only the present perfect (e.g., I have spent/*I spent
a great deal of money lately) while recently goes with both the past tense and the present
perfect (e.g., I have been ill recently / I was ill recently).
        Adverbs such as today, this week, this year can occur with both the present
perfect and the past tense (e.g., I have seen John this morning / I saw John this morning).
Both sentences convey the meaning that “the act occurred within the time span this
morning. The difference lies in whether the event is viewed simply as a factor of
experience obtaining at the moment of speech [with the present perfect] (i.e., the
morning time-span is not over) or whether it is viewed within the context of the time at
which it occurred [with the past tense] (i.e., the morning time-span is over)“ (Fenn,
1987).
        The difference in uses between adverbs such as just and just now is the following.
Just can take either the present perfect or the past tense (e.g., I have just seen your sister /
I just saw your sister) while just now, which is interpreted as a moment/second/minute
ago, can only occur with the past tense (e.g., I saw your sister just now).
        Finally, there are adverbs that combine with either the present perfect or the past
tense but with a clear difference in meaning. Now is mainly associated with present
tenses: Now my ambition is/has been fulfilled. With past tense, it is a narrative substitute
for then (= ‘at this point in the story’): Now my ambition was fulfilled. Once, with the
meaning ‘on a certain occasion, at one time’ occurs with the past tense, despite its
indefinite meaning: He was once an honest man. With the present perfect, it is a
numerical adverb contrasting with twice, three times, etc: I have visited the Highlands
only once (Leech, 1971).
        Already, still, yet and before occur with the present perfect in the sense ‘as early
as now’, ‘as late as now’: I have seen him already / I (still) haven’t seen him (yet). With the
past tense they must have a meaning involving a past point of orientation: I was already
(= ‘as early as then) very hungry (Leech, 1971).
        We now turn to the phenomenon known as the present perfect puzzle. Why is it
that in English (unlike other languages, Germanic or Romance) punctual adverbs cannot
co-occur with the present perfect.?
        An interesting fact about the English present perfect is that this ban against
punctual adverbs is not absolute. In fact, as has often been noted in the literature
(Comrie 1985), Heny (1982), Lewis 1975, Klein (1992)) the ban disappears if the
temporal adverbs occur in the context of a frequency adverb such as often, never,
always. Consider the examples below borrowed from Giorgi and Pianesi (1998:111):


(99)           (i) John has never/ always/ often left at four
                vs.
               (ii) *John has left at four
57


Consider also the example below (Klein 1992):

(100) Why is Chris in jail? He has worked on Sunday and working on Sunday is strictly
forbidden in this country.

The sentence He has worked on Sunday is fine because the expression on Sunday does
not relate to a specific time in the past ( as the context makes clear). It seems, therefore,
that in English there is a ban against specific temporal adverbs, as Giorgi and Pianesi
(1998) suggest
On the basis of such evidence, Klein (1992) suggests that the facts relating to the present
perfect puzzle can be explained by a pragmatic principle called the P-Definiteness
Constraint. Klein’s system is similar to the one we have adopted, being based on three
temporal entities.

(101) P-Definiteness Constraint:: In an utterance the expression of AS-T and the
      expression of EV-T cannot both be independently P-definite.

        According to Klein (1992) temporal expressions can refer either to
precise/specific temporal positions on the time axis or not.
        The first kind of expressions are called P(osition)-definite and the second kind
P(osition)-indefinite.
        According to him, the English present tense is P-definite in that it constrains every
temporal entity to include the time of utterance. The simple past tense, on the other
hand, is non p-definite, since it only requires that the time of the event should precede
the utterance time.
        The difference between the Present Tense and the Simple Past in English is
analogous to that of the deictic adverbs here and there: “ if we ignore boundaries , there
is only one ‘here’ in a given utterance situation but there can be many ‘theres’ Here is
thus p-definite and there is not. ….… The same is true of the tense forms is and was: if we
ignore duration there are many ‘wases’ but only one ‘is’” (Klein 1992:537).
        A similar distinction holds with respect to the boundaries of temporal entities.
Some expressions do not specify the boundaries of the entities they denote. He calls
these B(oundary)-indefinite expressions. Other expressions fix such boundaries , and
are thus called B(oundary)-definite. Both the Present tense and the Past tense are
characterized as being B-indefinite.
        According to Klein, the P-definiteness constraint rules out (70ii). As-T is P-
definite because of the present tense morpheme on the auxiliary and so is the EV-T of
the eventuality <John leave at four> because of the adverbial . The adverbial can only fix
the EV-T because in a present perfect sentence the AS-T includes UT-T.
        The same pragmatic principle accounts for the well-formedness of (100), Klein
assuming that adverbs like at Christmas, in spring, on Sunday and even at ten, do not
necessarily relate to or fix a specific time span. In other words, such expressions need
not be p-definite and under the non- p-definite reading (usually made clear in the
context) they are compatible with the present perfect.
        To summarize, the P-definiteness Constraint allows either As-T or EV-T to be
expressed by a p-definite expression, but not both.
        A very important comment is in order here. We have argued that adverbial
phrases may specify either AS-T or EV-T. Let’s have a look at cases where no time-
58


interval is lexically specified. Consider the examples below (borrowed from Klein
1992:546) :

(102) (i)       Chris has been in Pontefract.
      (ii)      Chris was in Pontefract.
      (iii)     Chris will be in Pontefract.

In (102i) the expression of AS-T on the auxiliary (i.e. present) is p-definite whereas the
expression of EV-T is not; the event (Chris be in Pontefract) occurred before AS-T, given
the perfect auxiliary, hence in the past. (i.e. in ‘the indefinite past’ according to Mc-Coard
1978, Leech 1971).
        In the simple past variant in (102ii), neither the As-T nor the EV-T is specifically
given i.e. neither is p-definite. Therefore such an utterance is felt like ‘hanging in the air’
unless we get the information from context, or some explicit adverbial. The same is true
for (102iii); again, either context or some definite adverbial must provide the necessary
specification.


Past Perfect Sentences (de completat)
The Past Perfect parallels the functions of the Present Perfect as the following examples
borrowed from Leech (1976:42) show:

        (i)     The house had been empty for ages (Continuative- state predicate)
        (ii)    Had they been to America before? (Experience)
        (iii)   Mr Phipps had preached in that church for 50 years (Continuative-
                habitual)
        (iv)    The goalkeeper had injured his leg, and couldn’t play (resultative)

      Consider the following sentence in the past perfect where the event of Mary’s
leaving the school is viewed as completed before a past reference time, expressed by the
adverbial clause:

(103) (i)       When I arrived there, Mary had left school

As was the case with the present perfect, the past perfect is analyzed as a spatio-
temporal predicate with the meaning AFTER. (104) illustrates the phrase structure of
the past perfect sentence in (103) (Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria, 2002, 2004):

(104)                TP
            Ut-T           T’
                    T0             AspP
                   after    As-T          Asp’
                                     Asp0      VP
                                   after  Ev-T         VP


Proceeding from bottom to top, the perfect aspect orders the As-T after the Ev-T. It thus
picks out a time after the interval defined by the Ev-T. The past tense on the auxiliary is
also a spatio-temporal predicate with the meaning of AFTER. It orders the Ut-T after the
59


As-T. The overall temporal / aspectual representation of the past perfect is illustrated
below and in the accompanying schema:

                                       EV-T     AS-T     UT-T

     (i) As-T after Ev-T             …[……… ]…[……….]…[………]…..>
     (ii) Ut-T after As-T


Since the Ut-T follows the As-T, which itself follows the Ev-T, the event of Mary’s leaving
the school is viewed as completed before a past reference time (As-T).
       Notice that since As-T and Ev-T denote two disjoint intervals, if we add a
temporal adverb such as at 5 to the sentence in (103), as in (105), the sentence will have
two distinct readings depending on whether the time adverb modifies the Ev-T or the As-
T:
(105) Mary had left school at 5

First, the time adverb at 5 in (105) can modify the Ev-T: we understand that Mary’s
leaving the school occurred at 5 o’clock. This reading of the sentence is illustrated by the
schema below and it yields the so called event time reading of the sentence:

          EV-T    AS-T        UT-T

     …[……… ]…[……….]…[………]…..>
        5 PM




Second, the time adverb in (105) can modify the As-T: in this case we understand that
Mary’s leaving the school occurred prior to the As-T, which itself coincides with the time
denoted by 5 p.m. This reading of the sentence is illustrated by the schema below and it
yields the so called reference time reading of the sentence:

        EV-T     AS-T       UT-T

     …[……… ]…[……….]…[………]…..>
                  5 PM


In complex sentences, the matrix sentence establishes the past As-T of the subordinate
past perfect clause, as in the example below:

(106) a) They told us yesterday that Tom had arrived 3 days earlier.
    b) *Tom had arrived 3 days earlier

Notice first that sentence (106b) is ungrammatical as an independent sentence because
it contains an adverbial and a tense marker that together cannot establish the As-T.
Sentence (106a) is well formed because the adverb yesterday in the main clause also
establishes the As-T of the embedded clause: we understand that Tom’s arrival occurred
3 days prior to yesterday. The adverb in the embedded clause specifies a time other than
As-T, namely Ev-T2. Thus, while the adverb in the main clause specifies As-T for both
60


clauses, the adverb in the embedded clause specifies only its Ev-T (and its As-T is shared
with that of the matrix clause).

The past perfect can be used in main clauses (as in 105) and in subordinate clauses. As
we have seen, it may occur in complement clauses to describe an event that occurred
previous to a past reference time as well as in subordinate adverbial clauses introduced
by the conjunctions: when, after, before, till, as soon as. Consider some examples:

       I realised that we had met before./ I thought I had sent the cheque a week
       before/I wondered who had left the door open.

(107) He would not allow anyone to leave the inn till he had drunk himself asleep / As
     two and a half years had elapsed since he had made any money, Spencer returned
     to London / When his mind had been weaker his heart led him to speak out /
     Within the minutes after he had received the assurance that the thing was
     impossible, he was conducted into the outer office. / He went out before

       As stated by different linguists and grammarians, under certain conditions the
perfect may be omitted with little or no effect on the temporal interpretation
In subordinate adverbial clauses of time introduced by an explicit conjunction, such as
as soon as, before and after the perfect may be omitted with little or no effect; the past
perfect can be substituted by the simple past tense, if the predicate denotes a non-
durative eventuality :

(72) After/When he came back from India, he was made a member of Parliament / As
     soon as he discovered them, he ran away / I ate my lunch after my wife came back.
     She left after/as soon as/before he spoke to her. After he finished his exams he
     went to Paris for a month./As soon as I put the phone down it rang again./She left
     the country as soon as she completed her thesis.

      However, there are cases when the past perfect is not substitutable by the past
tense, as a marker of anteriority of the event in the subordinate clause is necessary for
the correct interpretation of the whole sentence. It is the durative feature of the
situation type that requires the use of the perfect (durative accomplishment/activity):

(73) When he had read the letter, he burned it / * When he read the letter, he burned it
     / After he had listened to the radio, he turned it off / * After he listened to the
     radio, he turned it off. /She left the country as soon as she had written her thesis.

The durative feature of the situation is indeed relevant in using the past perfect in
subordinate clauses of time. Compare the following sentences:

       (i)     She left the country as soon as she had completed/completed her thesis.
       (ii)    She left the country as soon as she had written/*wrote her thesis.
       (iii)   She left the country before she had written her thesis
       (iv)    She left the country before she wrote her thesis
61


There is a distinct difference in interpretation between (iii) and (iv): (iii) suggests that
she had started writing when she left while (iv) indicates that the leaving preceded the
whole of the thesis writing. (H&P 2002:147)
       As already mentioned, when-clauses are flexible, allowing several interpretations.
When seems not to impose any particular relation on situations (unlike after which
always requires that the main clause have a closed interpretation). The situations
presented may be taken as simultaneous, overlapping or successive, depending on
viewpoint and situation types. Given these characteristics of when, the contrast between
perfect and non-perfect takes on more significance. Compare the following:

         (i)     When I had written the letters I did some gardening.
         (ii)    When I wrote to her she came at once.
         (iii)   When I had opened the windows I sat down and had a cup of tea.
         (iv)    When I opened the window the cat jumped out.

        As we can notice, following Swan (1995:421), the past perfect in (i,iii) marks the
first action as separate, independent of the second, completed before the second started.
In contrast the simple past (ii, iv) can suggest that the first event ‘leads’ into the other, or
that there is a cause-effect link between them.

Means of expressing Future Time
        It is a well-acknowledged fact that one cannot be as certain of future situations as
one is of events past and present, and for this reason (Leech 1971) there are a number of
ways of expressing future time in English, the most important of which are:

        Simple Present : The parcel arrives tomorrow
        Present progressive: The parcel is arriving tomorrow
        Be going to + Infinitive: The parcel is going to arrive tomorrow
        Will/shall + Infinitive: The parcel will arrive tomorrow
        Will/shall + Progressive Infinitive: The parcel will be arriving tomorrow

       All these linguistic means that express future time belong to either the modal
system (will, shall) or to the aspectual paradigm (the progressive). As known, modal
verbs such as will and shall express predictions about what might happen in the future.
All epistemic senses of modal verbs (i.e., possibility/probability) involve future time:
they represent predictions of present attitudes with respect to a future time sphere (e.g.,
it may/shall/will take place tomorrow).
        In what follows we describe the above-mentioned five means of expressing
futurity in English for us to be able to grasp some differences and nuances of usage that
distinguish among them.

2.4.1. Present Tense with Future value ( the Futurate) . The Simple Present may be
used to describe future situations . The fact that the Simple Present still means ‘present’
is rendered clear by the possibility of having different time specifications within he same
clause, as the examples below (39) indicate:

(39)             The match now starts next Monday, not Tuesday, as I said in my letter

                                                     (Huddlestone&Pullum:133)
62



         The two adjuncts specify different time intervals: now (as well as the present
tense morpheme) specifies UT-T/AS-T while next Monday specifies the time of the
future situation, i.e. EV-T. (UT-T/AS-T BEFORE EV-T)
         The presence of the present tense morpheme has immediate consequences on
the interpretation of the future situation assigning it a high degree of certainty, i.e. it
attributes to the future the same degree of certainty that we normally accord to present
or past events (Leech: 60). This entails that the futurate construction is subject to severe
constraints among which is:
              the presence of future time adverbials,
              the aspectual type of the situation (state predicates are excluded in such
                 sentences ) and, last but not least
              the future situation is determinable from the state of the world now, that is
                 to say that the clause must involve something that can be assumed to be
                 known already in the present.
         In the example above the present tense morpheme and the adverb now give the
time of the arrangement or schedule. It is generally assumed that with the Simple
Present the arrangement is felt to be an impersonal or collective one, made, for example,
by a committee, a court of law or some un-named authority.
         The most widely used predicates belong to the class of non-durative event verbs
in particular verbs of directed motion such as go, leave, come, meet, aspectual verbs such
as begin, start, end, etc.
         According to grammarians, the most common uses involve:
(i)statements about the calendar or cyclic events,
(ii) scheduled events (regarded as unalterable) and
(iii) subordinate clauses introduced by conditional and adverbial conjunctions.
 Consider the examples below borrowed from different sources (Leech 1971,
Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002):

(40)        (i) Tomorrow is Sunday./Next Christmas falls on a Thursday/The next
            high tide is around 4 this afternoon/When is the next full moon?

     (ii) The next Kevin Costner film opens at the Eldorado on Saturday./When do the
             lectures end this year?/She is president until next May./Her case comes before
             the magistrate next week./The Chancellor makes his budget speech tomorrow
             afternoon/We start for Istanbul tonight.
     (iii) When the spring comes , the swallows will return./Jeeves will announce the
             guests as they arrive./If you don’t do better next time you are fired/Either he
             plays according to the rules or he doesn’t play at all/I’ll tell you if it hurts.

        The set of examples in (43i) reflect the use of the Simple Present for recurrent
events whose time of occurrence can be scientifically calculated, hence it can be included
under what is currently known. By contrast, the simple present is not used for future
weather since such events are not conceived of as being within the domain of what is
known (Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002:132). Weather forecasts are rendered by means
of ‘going to’ or ‘shall/will’
        In (43ii) we have examples that describe situations that have already been
arranged, scheduled.The element of current schedule or arrangement is seen in the
contrast in (44) below (Huddlestone and Pullum, 2002:132):
63



(41)   (i)    Australia meets Sweden in the Davis Cup final in December
       (ii)   ???Australia beats Sweden in the Davis Cup final in December

The sentence in (44i) is quite natural in a context where Australia and Sweden have
already qualified for the final. The use of the Present in (44ii) is unnatural, since the
sentence conveys that the result itself has already been arranged. It is to be noted that
subjective certainty is not enough; knowing the skill, experience and past performances
of the team, one might feel certain about the result of the match but this does not
sanction the Simple Present.
         The use of the Simple Present in (43iii) is not just a requirement of the syntactic
pattern, but has its base in a contrast of meaning. In the dependent clauses mentioned,
the happening referred to is not a prediction, but a fact that is given. A conditional
sentence, for instance, has the structure ‘If X is a fact, then I predict Y’. (Leech 1971:60).
Hence, the use of the Simple Present with Future value is appropriate to indicate that the
consequence of the condition being fulfilled it is inevitable or already decided, as in
(43iii).
         To sum up, the key to the Simple Present with Future value is that it represents
FUTURE AS FACT, that it attributes to the future the same degree of certainty that we
normally accord to present or past events.( Leech 1971:60).

2.4.2. The Present Progressive (Progressive Futurate)
Consider the following examples borrowed from Leech:

(45) I’m starting work tomorrow/ She’s getting married this spring/Next they are
playing the Schubert Octet /

        In each of the sentences there is the implication of an arrangement already made.
        Important to mention is the fact that the progressive viewpoint of the predicate
does not have its usual value (Smith 1991:247), in the sense that the sentences above do
not present an open situation. As in the case of the Simple Present, the Present
Progressive with future time value is used to predict a future situation by virtue of a
present plan, programme or arrangement. According to Smith, the plan, arrangement are
to be taken as preliminary stages of the future event (just like in the case of the Simple
Present);hence the reference time (i.e. As-T) of the Progressive Futurate is the present
and the future time adverbial specifies the EV-T of the sentence. The general assumption
is that the factor of plan or arrangement restricts the Progressive Futurate to dynamic
‘doing’ verbs cases where human agency is involved, hence the anomaly of examples like
(46 b,c) below:

(46) a) John is rising at 5 tomorrow
    b) *The sun is rising at 5 tomorrow/*It is raining tomorrow
       c) *Who is being captain of the team next Saturday?

In (46c) the progressive occurs with an individual level state of being and having (be,
contain, consist, cost, have etc) that generally do not occur in the progressive.

        Present progressive sentences with future time adverbs tend to be used for the
relatively near future rather than distant future whereas there is no such difference in
64


the case of the Simple Futurate. The Progressive Futurate may also convey a sense of
imminence that is absent from the use of the simple present tense with future time
adverbs:

(47) The Smiths are leaving tomorrow / My aunt is coming to stay with us this
Christmas.

      Huddlestone and Pullum (2002) contrast the use of the simple present tense form
with the present progressive form with future time adverbs along similar terms.
Consider first the sentences (21 in H&P):

(48) (a) I phone her tonight (b) I’m phoning her tonight
       (c) She has her operation tomorrow d) She’s having her operation tomorrow
       (e) It expires tomorrow/in five years (f) It’s expiring tomorrow/?in five years

 ‘The difference between progressive and non-progressive is fairly clear in pairs like
(48a,b). The non-progressive (48a) suggests a schedule or plan: perhaps I regularly call
her on Sunday or perhaps the call is part of a larger plan or arrangement- it’s hardly
possible if I’d simply said casually, I’ll phone you tonight. The progressive could be used
in these schedule/plan scenarios, but it is not limited to them: it could be that I have
formed the intention to call her (without consulting her or anyone else about the matter)
and am waiting till I think she’ll be in. In (c ) and (d) there is little difference between the
two forms; operations normally involve formal scheduling, the only possible difference
is that the progressive tends to be used for the relatively near future



2.4.3. Be Going To
Consider the following example:

(49)   (i) I’m going to call him
       (ii) It’s going to rain.

          Be going to is a frozen form that cannot be analyzed into two separate verb forms:
it is listed as such in the lexicon. Jespersen (1931) remarks that the structure be going to
derives from the progressive form of the verb to go: “going loses its meaning as a verb of
movement and becomes an empty grammatical word”. The same process occurred in
French with the form je vais faire. In contemporary English, be going to is mainly used in
colloquial speech.
          The basic meaning of be going to is that of “future fulfillment of the present”
(Leech, 1971). Leech (1971) identifies two extensions of this general meaning of to be
going to:
      the first one is “the future fulfillment of present intention” that is chiefly found
          with human subjects who consciously exercise their will and with doing or
          agentive verbs. Thus a sentence like *I wonder whether she is going to know you is
          odd because one cannot will oneself into knowing somebody.

(50) What are you going to do today? I am going to stay at home and write letters
      They’re going to get married in a registry office/
65



        On this reading a sentence such as ‘I am going to punish you’ is felt as stronger
than ‘I intend to punish you’; it implies the speaker’s confidence in his power to put the
threat into effect.
        The intention communicated by to be going to is usually ascribable to the subject
of the sentence. In passive sentences, to be going to refers to the intention of the implied
agent: This wall is going to be painted green (i.e. ‘we or somebody else intend to paint the
wall green’) (Leech 1976:55)
     the second extension of the general sense of be going to can be stated as “future
        fulfillment of present cause” (Leech, 1971). This sense is common with both
        animate and inanimate subjects and agentive and non-agentive verbs, covering
        thus a wider range of contexts than the intentional meaning of to be going to
        (Leech 1976):

(51) She is going to have another baby (i.e., she is already pregnant) / I think I’m going
     to faint (i.e., I already feel ill) / There’s going to be a storm in a minute (i.e., I can
     see the black clouds gathering)/Watch out! The pile of boxes is going to fall

     In all the sentences above the feeling is that the events/causes leading to the future
event are under way.
     Notice that be going to can also be used when speaking about periods remote from
UT-T, that is to say in neither of the two uses is imminence a necessary semantic
accompaniment of be going to:

(52) (i) I’m going to be a policeman when I grow up (present intention)
   (ii) If Winterbottom’s calculations are correct, this planet is going to burn itself out
      200,000,000 years from now (present cause)

     Generally, Be going to is inappropriate in main clauses of IF- subclauses Compare:

(53)    If you accept that job, you’ll never regret it vs.
        *If you accept that job, you are never going to regret it

     The difference is accounted for by the fact that ‘be going’ focuses on the present
     circumstances (AS-T =present), while in the case of will it focuses on future rather
     than present contingencies (AS-T =future).
     If the circumstances are present rather than future be going to is suitable in the main
     clause of if-clauses (see ex.52ii and 54i,ii). On the other hand, many corpus studies
     mention that, unlike shall/will, be going to is well-represented in if-clauses:

(54)    If we carry on like this we are going to find ourselves in difficulty.
        If you’re going to lose your temper, I am not going to/ won’t play.
        And if he’s going to walk to Tenby they could be starting when he is in Tenby.
        If we are going to get there on time we must leave immediately (H&P: 201)


2.4.4. Will and Shall
      Most traditional grammars have interpreted the modal auxiliaries will and shall
as means of expressing future time. In fact, the contribution of these modal verbs in
66


sentences such as (55) below is modal: the examples in (55i) the interpretation is that of
making predictions, i.e. something involving the speaker’s judgement, while those in
(55ii) express volitional futurity:

(55) (i) Allan will be in Bucharest now / Mary will be in Sibiu tomorrow / Tomorrow’s
     weather will be cold and cloudy / You will feel better after you take this medicine
       (ii) If he should decide to instruct us further in the matter, we’ll let you know.
         The only relative I know of, Doctor, is a daughter in America. I’ll cable her,
     naturally.

      The mixture of (modal and temporal) values of these modal verbs is due to the
diachronic development of English: at the beginning will/shall had only modal values
and in time they also developed a future reading when they occur with future time
adverbs.
      Leech (1971) makes the following comments with respect to their usage:
“frequently a sentence with will/shall is incomplete without an adverbial of definite
time: *It will rain / *The room will be cleaned. These sentences are relatively
unacceptable on their own, presumably because of their factual emptiness: we all feel
certain that ‘it will rain’ at some time in the future, so there is no point in saying ‘it will
rain’ unless an actual time can be forecast”.
        Although the will/shall construction is generally assumed to provide English with
the nearest approximation to a ‘colourless’, ‘neutral future’, one should not describe it as
a ‘future tense’ on a par with the Present and Past Tenses. According to Leech, ‘we
cannot be as certain of future happenings as we are of events past and present, and for
this reason, even the most confident prognostication must indicate something of the
speaker’s attitude and so be tinged with modality. Will and shall are no exceptions’
(Leech 1976:52). Several contemporary large-size grammars, such as ‘The Cambridge
Grammar of the English Language’ (2002),assume that ‘while there are numerous ways
of indicating future time, there is no grammatical category that can properly be analysed
as a future tense (H&P:209)
    The will/shall future is favoured in contexts in which it is appropriate to make
predictions:

     (i) forecast (weather, harvest, etc): Tomorrow’s weather will be cold and cloudy.
     Next year we shall have a good harvest. It’ll be winter soon. You’ll come of age next
     year. The next budget will be a severe one.

     (ii) cause-effect relationship: You will feel better after this medicine/Perhaps I’ll
     change my mind after I’ve spoken to my wife/

     (iii)prophetic statements: In twenty years’ time the average employee will work a
     twenty-five hour week.

     (iv) main clause of conditional sentences: (i) If you pull the lever,the roof will slide
     back. If you work hard, you will succeed.

   (v)Instantaneous intention: The kettle is boiling. I’ll make some tea./ The only
relative I know of, Doctor, is a daughter in America. I’ll cable her, naturally./‘The
telephone is ringing’.’All right, I’ll answer it’.
67



Differences between shall/will future and going to future
         A very interesting and intuitively clear suggestion, put forth by R.A Close
(1970:230), is that the major difference between shall/will and be going to as markers of
futurity lies in the distinction between ‘future-oriented’ and ‘present-oriented’
expressions of futurity.
          According to Close, ‘expressions that ‘predict’ an event or state are ‘future-
oriented’, whereas ‘present oriented’ expressions are those that may contain present
indications of what the future may bring’ (Close 1970:230).
          Accordingly, be going to is described as ‘present-oriented’ since the essential
point of this construction is a focus on some present factor (e.g. intention, preparation,
obvious signs) which is felt to be leading to a future event. Will/shall are described as
‘future-oriented’, since they are preferred when emphasis on present signs, intention,
etc. is absent or irrelevant. Leech (1971:54) considers the meaning of the going to
construction to be ‘future fulfillment of the present’. Hudlestone and Pullum (2002:211)
also lay emphasis on the fact that ‘be going to has greater focus on the matrix time which
depends on the matrix tense: present with is going to and past with was going to’. The
AS-T of ‘be going to’ is ,hence, Present, the adverb, if any, specifying EV-T. In the case of
‘shall/will’ AS-T is Future and EV-T is co-temporal with it.
         The above-stated difference accounts for the following:
    (i) the inappropriateness of going to in future conditional sentences except when the
            condition is a present one rather than a future one (Leech 1971) (see
            examples above)
    (ii) imminence is not a necessary semantic accompaniment of going to constructions
            (see examples above)
    (iii) going to expressions in the past do not entail that the situation described by
            the verb was actualised, while the would version (restricted to narrative past)
            entails actualization:

(56) (i) He was going to marry his tutor at the end of the year
   (ii) He would marry his tutor at the end of the year
    (iii) He was going to/*would challenge me to a duel but on mature consideration he
   changed his mind
   (iv) I was going to/*would fail the exam, but the examiner turned out to be short-
           sighted.

The was going to version in (56i) implicates non-actualisation of the situation, which is
accounted for by the current focus mentioned above: was going to focuses on the
intention/arrangement obtaining in the past rather than on the future event as such.
Would, on the other hand, is semantically strong and the would version entails
actualisation of the event of marrying.
     In case the sentence has a past time sphere, all the future time expressions are
modified to indicate a future + past situation (future in the past):

(58) He was leaving town the day after we arrived / He was going to be a policeman
     later in his life.

     Palmer (1979:130) remarks that “for future in the past, be going to is regularly
used”, while in literary style would is likely to occur (Leech, 1971):
68



(59) I was going to say that it looked a bit like a pheasant in flight / …and the North just
     wasn’t going to have it at any price / Twenty years later, Dick Whittington would
     be the richest man in London



2.4.5. Will/Shall + Progressive Infinitive
       Traditional grammars list the structure will/shall be V-ing among the means of
expressing future time events. Huddlestone and Pullum (2002:171) take the same point
of view as far as the will+progressive is concerned. As in the case of the Futurate, the
progressive form of the verb is not interpreted in terms of ‘imperfective’ aspectuality but
rather in terms of future time reference. Consider the examples below:

       Consider the following examples:

(60) (i) This time next week I shall be sailing across the Atlantic (aspectual meaning)
      (ii) Don’t call me at 9 – I’ll be eating my supper. (aspectual meaning)
   (iii)When we get there, they’ll probably still be having lunch (aspectual meaning)
    (iv) Will you be going to the shops this afternoon? (future time reading)
     (v) Will you go to the shops? (request)
     (vi) When the meeting ends we’ll be flying to Bonn (ambiguous)

In the sentences in (60i,ii,iii) the verb is in the progressive form and the modal shall
contributes its (modal) predictive sense. Therefore, the sentence predicts that this time
next week/9 o’clock/when we get here the activity denoted by the predicate is in
progress. In all these sentences we can identify the aspectual meaning of the
progressive. In (iv) the interpretation of the sentence is different. The difference in
interpretation can best be seen by comparing (60iv) to (60v) – the non-progressive
counterpart of (60iv). According to grammarians, the salient interpretation of the non-
progressive (60v) is as a request to the subject of the sentence to go to the shops. The
role of the progressive in (60iv) is to avoid such an interpretation; the progressive
indicates that the matter has already been settled rather than being subject to decision
now (H&P 2002:172).
       The difference between the two meanings of the progressive – progressive
aspectuality and future time reference- is conspicuous in the ambiguity of (60vi). On the
progressive aspectuality (imperfective) reading we will already be flying to Bonn when
the meeting ends i.e. AS-T within EV-T; UT-T before AS-T; on the ‘already decided future’
interpretation the when adjunct says when we will leave: UT-T before AS-T/EV-T,just as
in the non-progressive we’ll fly , which, however, suggests, more or less, instantaneous
decision.
       In what follows we quote Leech’s (1971:68) comments on the different usages of
will/shall vs will/shall and the progressive, comments which confirm the statements
above.
       With human subjects and activity verbs the modals will/shall+ short infinitive
frequently combine prediction with overtones of volition. Consider first the following set
of sentences:

(57) a) I’ll drive into London next week (‘I’ve made my mind’)
69


     b) I’ll be driving into London next week (‘as a matter of fact’)
     c) Will you put on another play soon (‘Please!’)
     d) Will you be putting on another play soon? (‘Is this going to happen?’)

“In principle, it is possible to use (57a) in the neutral predictive sense of ‘I shall die one
day’, but in practice, it is difficult to avoid suggesting at the same time that one wants
and intends to drive to London. The possibility of volitional coloring is avoided in
sentence (57b), which is understood simply as a statement that ‘such and such is going
to happen’. Sentence (57b) could easily precede the offer ‘Can I give you a lift’?, for it
would forestall any awkward feeling of indebtedness on the listener’s part: ‘I shall be
making the journey anyway, so don’t feel you would be causing me any trouble.
        The same thing applies to the second pair. As a question, sentence (57c)
implicates the intentions of the listener, and therefore comes to sound almost like a
cajoling imperative; but sentence (57d) simply asks whether a future production will
come to pass”. Along with Leech (1971) we will call this form of future as ‘future as a
matter of course’

      In case the sentence has a past time sphere, all the future time expressions are
modified to indicate a future + past situation (future in the past):

(58) He was leaving town the day after we arrived / He was going to be a policeman
     later in his life


      To the above-mentioned expressions of futurity in English we can also add the
following: to be about to (used to express imminent future situations; it is less colloquial
than to be going to), to be ready to, to be near to, to be on the point of/on the verge of/on
the brink of:

(90) He was about to retrace his steps when he was suddenly transfixed to the spot by a
     sudden appearance / His finger was upon the trigger and he was on the point of
     fire / He has been on the brink of marrying her / He was just on the point of
     proposing to her / The miserable foreigner looked ready to drop with fatigue / I
     was very nearly offering a large reward

								
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