Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

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Woods
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Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby Woods » 2017-10-05, 19:55

That's super basic, but I have a doubt:

"I have lived in Turku for ten years." - does that necessarily mean that I still live there?

Is it exactly the same as "I've been living...," or can I use it for something that happened ten years ago, because the experience still matters in the present?

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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-05, 20:06

I'd say you could use it for both.

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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby linguoboy » 2017-10-05, 20:41

Woods wrote:"I have lived in Turku for ten years." - does that necessarily mean that I still live there?

Is it exactly the same as "I've been living...," or can I use it for something that happened ten years ago, because the experience still matters in the present?

That would be a very odd usage to me. I would interpret it to mean you were still living in Turku.

The whole "relevant to the present" guideline for using present perfect is kind of vacuous. All speech takes place at the present time and if something's not relevant at that time, why are you saying it?
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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-05, 21:25


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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby linguoboy » 2017-10-05, 21:57

vijayjohn wrote:What about I have lived in 3 states this year?

You're still living in one of them, aren't you?
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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-05, 22:10

linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:What about I have lived in 3 states this year?

You're still living in one of them, aren't you?

Is that the only interpretation that's possible for you? I don't think it is for me, but okay. (A Google search of this sort of construction makes it look like people are kind of split on whether to accept both of these readings Woods was talking about, but so far, I haven't managed to find a source where I can also tell what the background of the people in question is).

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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby Woods » 2017-10-05, 22:57

Vijay, how long have you lived in the US?

It's interesting how I just realised this construction might be an indication of an action that hasn't ended in the present, after having read and spoken English for ten years. Somebody pointed it out to me in Danish, where I used the same present perfect construction and the person reacted "are you still living there?" Hell no, I said, and they told me I should not use the perfect in this case. So I thought that was slightly different than English, but it seems it isn't.

And nobody ever pointed this out to me, despite me having spoken English for such a long time - it's either that nobody noticed, or that English speakers are so much used to grammar being used very differently from speaker to speaker, that nobody would mind.

And I'm pretty sure I'll nail a C2 certificate, even though I don't know basic grammar :D

Let me think of some more present perfect...

"I've done this before." - well, if we can't explain it with relevance to the present, then I don't know how...
"I've seen so many films that I don't want to see no more!" - it's quite clear that I'm not seeing any more movies, but I guess the perfect is still what should be used here - because I remember all the films that I've seen or something.
"I've been there before." - well, this is almost like my original phrase - and since I'm talking of "there" and not of "here," obviously I'm not there at the moment...

So I guess it's more like this particular phrase "I've lived somewhere" has a somewhat different meaning - it just implies that the action continues in the present, but the implication lies in the usage of this verb in the present perfect and not in the tense itself.

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Re: Back to A1 - meaning of present perfect

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-06, 0:13

Woods wrote:Vijay, how long have you lived in the US?

My whole life. I was born here and have never lived outside the US.
"I've done this before." - well, if we can't explain it with relevance to the present, then I don't know how...

You could just say that there was at least one time when you had the experience of doing whatever the word this refers to.
"I've seen so many films that I don't want to see no more!" - it's quite clear that I'm not seeing any more movies, but I guess the perfect is still what should be used here - because I remember all the films that I've seen or something.

I'd say you'd use the perfect there both because you're saying that you had the experience of seeing each of these films and because you're saying that the process of seeing them is complete now.


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