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present tenses mistake Options
karampuk
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 4:56:03 PM

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I made a mistake in a grammar exercise. The problem is our teacher told us to explain why our answers are wrong and write it in our notebooks. And I have no idea how to do this.

The sentence is:

Dan ..... in the living room while we redecorate his bedroom.

There are ABCD answers and I chose 'sleeps'. The answer key says the right answer is 'is sleeping'. But why? And if it is because the action is temporary, why is 'redecorate' in Present Simple?
D00M
Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2018 7:35:45 AM

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The sentence is wrong.

It should be:

Dan was sleeping in the living room while we were redecorating his bedroom.

Or:

Dan sleeps in the living room when we redecorate his bedroom.






The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2018 8:02:02 AM

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Hi karampuk!
Welcome to the forum.

D00M has written two good sentences - the first says what happened once in the past and the second says what happens occasionally (the room has been redecorated more than once, and will be redecorated again).

For the present-time action, I see two possible sentences meaning the same thing. The difference is only in the speaker's concept of time - how he/she thinks - and even that is a very small difference:
Dan is sleeping in the living room while we redecorate his bedroom. - "is sleeping" because it is temporary (as you say). "Redecorate" because it is looked upon as several related actions, some in the past (yesterday maybe), some happening right now and some in the future (maybe tomorrow). "We decorate" is often used as the 'timeless' form, as it is in D00M's second sentence.

Dan is sleeping in the living room while we are redecorating his bedroom. - Both verbs use the present progressive because they are actions which are currently (in this time period of a couple of days) temporarily in progress.

I hope that makes sense - that's how I see it.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
lazarius
Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2018 9:26:20 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hi karampuk!
Dan is sleeping in the living room while we redecorate his bedroom. - "is sleeping" because it is temporary (as you say). "Redecorate" because it is looked upon as several related actions, some in the past (yesterday maybe), some happening right now and some in the future (maybe tomorrow). "We decorate" is often used as the 'timeless' form, as it is in D00M's second sentence.

This is almost the same as how it is explained here:

https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/146588/a-present-continuous-usage

But I still have a question. Let us consider this situation - redecoration is in progress for several days - from a different point of view. Which of two would you say:

1. We redecorate his bedroom.
2. We are redecorating his bedroom.

?

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 6:11:02 AM

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As a single sentence, it has to be "We are redecorating his bedroom", but somehow when it follows "while" they both sound OK.

Odd!

The time-frame of a clause or sentence (past, present, future, timeless, repetitive, singular, perfect, imperfect, punctual, durational, and so on) is not only shown by the form of the verb. It is shown by a combination of the form of the verb, some adverbs and the form of the clause and the itself.

As Tᴚoɯɐuo says, occurrence, recurrence and duration 'shade into one another' - there's sometimes no discrete border.

As a single statement, "We are redecorating his bedroom" sounds like a single occurrence (which has some duration).
As a single statement, "We redecorate his bedroom" is a recurrent durational action.

The addition of the conjunction "while" and the rest of the sentence changes this slightly.

The clause "while we are redecorating his bedroom" is a time-notation, and means "for the duration of this one incident, the redecoration".
The clause "while we redecorate his bedroom" can be either a time notation meaning something like "for the duration of the whole set of events which make up this current redecoration" - or a time-notation meaning "for the duration of the whole set of events which make up redecorations which occur occasionally".
Which one it is depends on the verb in the first clause.

"He sleeps on the couch while we decorate his bedroom" indicates multiple recurrences of redecorations.
"He is sleeping on the couch while we redecorate his bedroom" indicates one current redecoration.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
thar
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 6:27:52 AM

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I guess the 'while' makes it timeless.

It gets weirder if you use two simple present tenses - then 'while' has another meaning and becomes 'but'.

eg
I live with my sister, but her flat has only one bedroom. My sister sleeps in the bedroom while I sleep on the floor in the living room.

These are both habits, so they are not compared by time, but by difference.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 7:27:57 AM

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It also means "until" (in northern English and Scottish).
You'll have to wait while Monday for these sheets.

Which can be confusing:
You'll never make any progress while you listen to me.

By one meaning, it's "You'll never make any progress during the time you listen to me."
By the other meaning, it's "You'll never make any progress until you start listening to me."
However, context and tone of voice make it very obvious which one is meant.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
lazarius
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 7:56:46 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The addition of the conjunction "while" and the rest of the sentence changes this slightly.

The clause "while we are redecorating his bedroom" is a time-notation, and means "for the duration of this one incident, the redecoration".
The clause "while we redecorate his bedroom" can be either a time notation meaning something like "for the duration of the whole set of events which make up this current redecoration" - or a time-notation meaning "for the duration of the whole set of events which make up redecorations which occur occasionally".
Which one it is depends on the verb in the first clause.

"He sleeps on the couch while we decorate his bedroom" indicates multiple recurrences of redecorations.
"He is sleeping on the couch while we redecorate his bedroom" indicates one current redecoration.

Thank you very much. And if you do not mind I will pile up a little more. This karampuk's question instantly reminded me of another discussion where we (a wretched lot of learners) tried to understand a sentence with the conjunction 'as'. Then someone brought in this excerpt:



May be this is sufficient to a native speaker, who can envision it as the writer, but not to me. What I see is that the sentences present different pictures (otherwise why call one ludicrous) but what is the difference I can not understand. Less why that particular one is ludicrous.

Could you please explain the difference to me? And as I understand it, these could present two different scenarios.

1. a live report - the reporter is standing there right now and is reporting what he observes.
2. a narrative of past events, given in the present tense.

If this makes a difference, I would like to hear 8 descriptions. :)

The problem is that in the most advanced reference for learner's - only this can be found:





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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 8:58:09 AM

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Hmmmm.
Well, I'll be the first of your eight.

On the procession question - I can see little difference, really, I possible meaning, and no reason that the last one is ludicrous.
OK, it's an unusual formation but it's not laughable.

As I stand here, the procession is entering the hall. - For some strange reason I immediately think of Richard Dimbleby. It is (to me) exactly the same as "The procession is entering the hall", but in the pedantic style of the BBC in the 1950s. "As I stand here" just means "now", which is redundant as the progressive form shows that it is 'now'.

As I am standing here, the procession is entering the hall. - exactly the same meaning - just two syllables longer - slightly more formal and too rigid. Not Richard Dimbleby style (he was actually very good at his job of describing 'state occasions' and making them continue to be interesting for hours).

As I stand here, the procession enters the hall. - to me, this is the simplest, most logical one.
"The procession enters the hall" is timeless and could apply to a repeated or single action, past or present. The "As I stand here" sets the time notation as "now".

As I am standing here, the procession enters the hall. This one puts a bit more stress on me standing than on the procession.
I suppose that what the author feels is ludicrous is the possibility that it means "The procession is entering because I'm standing here." - it could mean that, but it is not that picture which is communicated to me.
It sounds like the other three, but is the most 'awkwardly worded'

None of them sound to me to be a narration of past events - I think that would use "there" not "here".

********
What Swan says is true, but doesn't explain why you can use progressive or simple - and what the different implications are, if any.

PS - I like the new signature


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
lazarius
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 11:06:59 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Well, I'll be the first of your eight.

:) Thank you very much for taking the trouble to explain it to me. I will need some time to integrate this information into my picture of the language.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
PS - I like the new signature

Then vote for Jeremy Corbyn. :)

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 11:37:27 AM

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OK! You also need seven others to give their opinions . . .


I thought your signature was promoting Innocent! Иннокентий

I can't vote for Jeremy - He's the MP for some little constituency in the south of England, called "Islington North".

My MP represents the whole borough (it's one major town and lots and lots of villages, all connected).
She was born in the village I live in and has been the MP for a few years now since the Labour party made a total mess of things between about 2010 and 2015.
She's done pretty well (though I don't agree 100% with her policies, there are none that I find totally obnoxious).

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
lazarius
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2018 12:04:32 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/27/2016
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Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
My MP represents the whole borough

Yesterday the office of our Governor was at stake. I voted for the only communist (КПРФ) on the list. He lost to the encumbent sparrow:

https://ria.ru/politics/20180910/1528154657.html

--

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