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simple present + since clause Options
zhonglc2020
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 2:04:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 205
Neurons: 2,540
Hello everyone,

Occasionally, I see the structure. Each time, I feel curious about it.
I've googled a lot and I see some points of view about the question:

Point 1. Causal & effect
If there is a causal relation behind, the structure is acceptable:
a. Since I was robbed, I go to bed every night with a shotgun. (√)
b. I am waiting here since morning. (×)

a: a causal relation behind;
b: a pure temporal relation.

Point 2. Tense collocation issues:
c. Since 2007 he teaches at school. (×)
"He teachers at school" is something about the present while "2007" says a point of time in the past, so the sentence c is incorrect.

Of the above two, I think point 1 is easier to grasp, but point 2 is challenging. It is none other than such structures and tense collocations that make me dizzy.

Here are some more examples:
d. Since 2010, he goes to Shanghai every year.(×) (a web page)
e. Since 2007 he teaches three days a week.(√)(www.wordreference,com)
f. Since last Saturday, I can't stop thinking about you. (Swan)
The main clause either in d or e seems to be a habitual event.
To me, they're same in terms of grammar, but
d: the web page I find the sentence says it is incorrect.(no reason is given);
e: It seems controversial. A native teacher regards it correct but no further comments of other natives' on it.
f: Swan says:
“In sentences referring to since (referring to time), we normally use the present perfect and past perfect tenses in the main clause.”
“However, present and past tenses are occasionally found, especially in sentences about changes.”:
‘Since last Saturday I can't stop thinking about you.’
--- Practical English Usage, 3rd Ed. 2005 (p.522)

I don't understand what "change" Swan is referring to here.

I know it is a complicated question, and I myself should avoid using the topic sentence structure. However, on the other hand, I really want to know if there is an easy method or something to judge such sentences.


Thank you.

(PS. "It's a long time...since..." needn't to be talked about.)

EDIT: some mistakes modified.
thar
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 2:19:45 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,638
Neurons: 91,845
zhonglc2020 wrote:
Hello everyone,

Occasionally, I see the structure. Each time, I feel curious about it.
I've googled a lot and I see some points of view about the question:

Point 1. Causal & effect
If there is a causal relation behind, the structure is acceptable:
a. Since I was robbed, I go to bed every night with a shotgun. (√)

Remember the present simple is for repeated and habitual actions - without a timeframe. It is not 'present', it is 'always'.

I go to bed every night with a shotgun.
That is an habitual action.
When did this action start?
When I was robbed.
Since (the time) I was robbed, I go to bed with a shotgun.

As you have made the temporal link, you have to infer the causal link. The two are not independent.
b. I am waiting here since morning. (×)

a: a causal relation behind;
b: a pure temporal relation.

A temporal link invites you to make a causal link, because this is an habitual behaviour that only started after the robbery.

2. Tense collocation issues:
c. Since 2007 he teaches at school. (×)
"He teachers at school" is something about the present while 2007 say a point of time in the past, so the sentence c is incorrect.
He teaches - that is not a habit. It is a profession.
Since X time he has been a teacher/ taught at this school.

Of the above two, I think point 1 is easier to grasp, but point 2 is challenging. It is none other than such structures that make me dizzy.

Here are some more examples:
d. Since 2010, he goes to Shanghai every year.(×) (a web page)
This is a repeated action but there is no linkage.
Since his mother died he goes to Shanghai every yea to visit her grave.


e. Since 2007 he teaches three days a week.(√)(www.wordreference,com)
This is grammatically weak, but it might be something you say colloquially, - that new status started at that time.
But I would punctuate at the very least!

Again, this is an habitual action. Every week, he teaches three out of the five (or six) days. That is his habitual work pattern. It is an habitual action that only started at a certain point - three years ago.


f. Since last Saturday, I can't stop thinking about you. (Swan)
As (a). A timeless action. It started at a certain point, though.


The main clause either in d or e seems to be a habitual event.
To me, they're same in terms of grammar, but
d: the web page I find the sentence says it is incorrect.(no reason is given);
e: It seems controversial. A native teacher regards it correct but no further comments of other natives' on it.
f: Swan says:
“In sentences referring to since (referring to time), we normally use the present perfect and past perfect tenses in the main clause.”
“However, present and past tenses are occasionally found, especially in sentences about changes.”:
‘Since last Saturday I can't stop thinking about you.’
--- Practical English Usage, 3rd Ed. 2005 (p.522)

I don't understand what "change" Swan is referring to here.


The thing that initiates the new habitual behaviour.


I know it is a complicated question, and I myself should avoid using it.
However, on the other hand, I really want to know if there is an easy method or something to judge such sentences.

Thank you.

(PS. "It's a long time...since..." needn't to be talked about.)

zhonglc2020
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 2:40:24 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 205
Neurons: 2,540
Each item of your explanation is concise and explicit.
Thank you, thar.Dancing

A last sentence:
They are married since they came to Shenzhen.
Does it make sense?

"They are married" is a state. Can it be regarded as "a habitual event"?
I think it is wrong. Isn't it?
Similarly, the following is also wrong:
Mr. Jones is employed by the Company since September 2016.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 7:46:51 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,342
Neurons: 226,512
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi!
I've read thar's reply, but I'll answer your two posts newly, from my viewpoint. It will use different reasoning than thar's. If it helps more, that's good. If you understand already from thar's answer and this confuses you, just ignore mine!

There are two different forms with two different meanings.

In some, the "since" part is a clause - it's acting as two adverbs: an adverb of time and an adverb of cause/motivation. Therefore, it has to explain both.
This uses the present tense in the other clause.

a. Since I was robbed, I go to bed every night with a shotgun.
"Since <event>" is an adverb of time, so that's fine.
"Since <clause>" can be an adverb of cause. This uses the other meaning of "since"
since prep
2. seeing that; because: since you have no money, you can't come.
Collins English Dictionary
"Because I was robbed" explains why "I go to bed every night with a shotgun."

So your original sentence means "Since the time I was robbed (adverbial clause of time) and because I was robbed (adverbial clause of cause), I go to bed every night with a shotgun."

*********************
In others, the "since" part can be a phrase or clause, but only acts as an adverb of time.
This uses the perfect in the other clause.

b. I am waiting here since morning.
"Since morning" is not a clause. It's only an adverbial phrase of time.
It doesn't explain why you are waiting.
As your quote from Swann says: “In sentences referring to since (referring to time), we normally use the present perfect and past perfect tenses in the main clause.”
So, in this case, the present tense is wrong - it should be a perfect (I'd use perfect progressive).
"I've been waiting here since morning."

Normally, (because the "present tense" really means "always") it's not limited in time using "since".

c. Since 2007 he teaches at school. This is similar - it should be in a perfect form - either "Since 2007 he's taught at school." or "Since 2007 he's been teaching at school."
d. Since 2010, he goes to Shanghai every year. - "Since 2010, he's gone to Shanghai every year." or "Since 2010, he goes to Shanghai every year."
e. Since 2007 he teaches three days a week. - "Since 2007 he's taught three days a week." or, much more likely, "Since 2007 he's been teaching three days a week."

I don't understand why wordreference.com say "e" is OK. To me it does not fit in the same category as "f".
EDITED to add - thar says this is "grammatically weak"; I just say it doesn't work.

************************
In a few, there is an inferred clause. It's not fully explained, but is expected to be understood by the the 'recipient' of the communication.

f. Since last Saturday, I can't stop thinking about you.
"Since last Saturday" is an adverbial phrase of time - OK
However, it also infers the clause "Because of what happened last Saturday".
The word "Saturday" has a very special meaning to the two people involved - it's a whole event, an incident with significance.
The couple had a first date on Saturday. He says this and they both understand:
"Since our date, and because of the great time we had, I can't stop thinking about you."

This is the same form as "a" - but the "cause" is only implied, inferred, not explained fully.

**********************
Now, your new question:
They are married since they came to Shenzhen.
Mr. Jones is employed by the Company since September 2016.
- You are right, both sentences are wrong.
"Be married" is a very awkward verb-form, because it can mean an action or a state, so you need to be careful to not make ambiguaous sentences when you try to correct the first one..

They have been married since they came to Shenzhen. - CAN mean "They were not married when they arrived in Shenzhen. They got married after they arrived."
They have been married since they came to Shenzhen. - CAN mean "They were married when they arrived in Shenzhen, and remained married after they arrived."
The better set of sentences would be these:
They have been married since before they came to Shenzhen.
They have been married since the day they came to Shenzhen.
They got married since/after they came to Shenzhen.
zhonglc2020
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 10:59:48 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 205
Neurons: 2,540
So may I tentatively say
“Whether the structure “Simple present + since…” is acceptable depends largely on if there is an inferred “clause” behind. In other words, we may insert a “because clause” to see if the whole sentence can hold good.” ?

f. Since last Saturday, I can't stop thinking about you.
---> However, it also infers the clause "Because of what happened last Saturday".

e. Since 2007 he teaches three days a week.
---> There is no way to insert a “because clause.”

d. Since 2010, he goes to Shanghai every year. (×)
However,
Since his mother died he goes to Shanghai every yea to visit her grave.(√)
---> “since” here says both time and cause

g. They are married since they came to Shenzhen. (×)
---> There is no way to insert a “because clause.” (Regardless of its being ambiguous)
Of the two parts of the sentence, there is no linkage.
In fact, the linkage is "cause and effect."
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