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D00M
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:45:23 AM

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Hello respected teachers,

How would the meaning change if I change the the present continuous tenses to present perfect in the following?

This quarter my roomate is working in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He is taking only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, is trying to convince him to quit the job.

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
D00M
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:49:59 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 1,607
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As a matter of fact, my books has, "The present continuous is also used to express a single activity or a series of activities happening over a given period of time, but not necessarily at the moment of speaking."

But I think for that purpose the present perfect tense can also be used. So which one is really preferred in the situation explained by the book?

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:21:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,645
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Do you mean change every present tense verb to the perfect? (It doesn't work to leave some in the present)
What it does is move the whole idea one step into the past.

This quarter my room-mate is working in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He is taking only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, is trying to convince him to quit the job.

This quarter my room-mate has worked in the dorm cafeteria. He has served breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He has taken only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, has tried to convince him to quit the job.

As you can see, what you call "the present perfect tense" is not a present tense - or shall we say, the actions all took place in the past.

In the original (red) one, the quarter is not finished - the actions are in the past, possibly present, and the future. He served breakfast each morning from the start of the quarter till now. He is serving breakfast today and he will serve breakfast every day till the end of the quarter.

In the changed (blue) one, the quarter is probably over. He could well be no longer serving breakfast. His night-courses are definitely complete.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
D00M
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:43:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 1,607
Neurons: 7,645
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Do you mean change every present tense verb to the perfect?


Thank you for the answer, DS, but I meant to change every present continuous tense to present perfect,e.g:



This quarter my room-mate is working in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He is taking only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, is trying to convince him to quit the job.

This quarter my room-mate has worked in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He has taken only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, has tried to convince him to quit the job.


And what about changing the present continuous to present perfect continuous,thus:


This quarter my room-mate has been working in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He has been taking only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, has been trying to convince him to quit the job.


The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:57:00 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,645
Neurons: 181,785
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
They don't seem to 'fit together' quite so well.

Different verbs have different usages (some seem to use the simple past more than the perfect; others use continuous tenses more than simple ones; etc).

***********
"Has worked" sounds very much like it is finished, completed.
Perfect tense Noun
1. Perfect tense - a tense of verbs used in describing action that has been completed (sometimes regarded as perfective aspect)

But then "He serves" sounds like it is not completed.

The "He has taken only two night courses this quarter" is a completely separate action, so that is OK - he has definitely completed those courses, and that does not conflict with any other part of the sentence.

The sentence about his mother doesn't conflict either, really. It sounds like she has given up trying to convince him, but maybe she will try a bit more.

***********
The perfect continuous may work - I haven't read the paragraph yet.

This quarter my room-mate has been working in the dorm cafeteria. He serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30 every morning. He has been taking only two night courses this quarter, so his father agreed to let him work. His mother, however, has been trying to convince him to quit the job.

Yes - better.
There does not sound to be a conflict of tenses in this one.
The differences I 'hear' in these is the degree to which the quarter has progressed.

This quarter my room-mate is working in the dorm cafeteria. It's happening right now. He served breakfast yesterday and today, and he will do tomorrow. The 'present tense' verbs and the 'present progressive' verbs agree that this whole scenario is continuing from the past into the future. Because "he is working" is also a form used as a future tense, this form tends to make me 'see' this quarter as being mainly in the future - it has not been going on for very long (this is just a relative 'impression', nothing definite).

This quarter my room-mate has been working in the dorm cafeteria. It has been happening for a while. From this first sentence alone, it may or may not be finished, but in the context of the second sentence, it is obvious that the statement is made part way through the month. Because the 'duration' (the progressive aspect) is in the past, it makes me 'see' this quarter as being well-advanced.

This quarter my room-mate has worked in the dorm cafeteria. This is a perfective statement. It is complete, the quarter is finished.
Thus it conflicts with using the present tense in the second sentence.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
D00M
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:08:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 1,607
Neurons: 7,645
Thank you so much for the perfect explanation, DS.

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
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