Completed / Ongoing

Contrast present perfect completed vs. ongoing

 

Pisa photographic project
 

 

Unspecified Past vs. Past-to-Present

COMPLETED

The simple present perfect expresses that an activity or situation occurred at an unspecified time in the past and is completed. It may express (1) experience, or (2) a recently completed activity that has an effect on something happening in the present.

The art committee has photographed the entire Tower of Pisa. (They're done now.)

We have enjoyed our visit in Italy. (It is over now.)

Mr. Papaglia has worked on the project. (He's doing other things now.)

He has written a book on the history of Pisa. (You can buy it. It's done.)

ONGOING

The present perfect progressive expresses that an activity or situation started in the past and continues to the present. The activity may indicate repetition depending on the meaning of the verb.                                                                                    

They have been photographing the daily progress. (They continue to this.)

We have been enjoying our visit in Italy.  (We are still visiting.)

Mr. Papaglia has been working on the project. (He continues to work on it.)

He has been writing a book on the history of Pisa. (He is still in the process of writing it.)

 

recent (adj.) – having occurred within the present mental time frame of the speaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect

Without Adverb Use

 

 

 

No-Adverb Use Examples

SIMPLE PRESENT PERFECT

When the present perfect is used in a sentence without an adverb, unspecified, the activity is understood as recent past or past experience (general).

PAST COMPLETED / EXPERIENCE / RECENT?

We have seen the planners. 

 

We have worked on the foundation of the tower. 

We have improved the condition of the stones.

PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

When the present perfect progressive is used without an adverb, the timing is understood as continuous or repetitive.  The inherent meaning of the verb affects the interpretation.

CONTINUED / ONGOING / REPEATED?

We have been seeing the planners.

We have been working on the foundation of the tower. 

We have been improving the condition of the stones.

 

foundation  (n.) – the natural or prepared ground or base on which a structure rests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR SOLUTION

He has been knowing me for a long time.

He has known me for a long time.  (A stative verb is not used in the progressive form.)

The work has been becoming especially difficulty.

The work has been become especially difficulty. (A stative verb is not used in the progressive form.)

He has been calling several times.  We made him stop.

He called several times.  We made him stop.   (The focus is on the action not the duration of time. Use past.)

Children have been complaining about doing homework.
 

Children complain about doing homework. (general truth.)
Our children have been complaining about doing their homework.    (specific example)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

"Aspect" — Traditional and Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION
AZAR ET AL. (2009) HUDDLESTON ET AL. (2002)

Traditionally, both perfect and progressive aspects are described at part of the tense system. However, presently, tense is limited to the time (past–present) and aspect to the duration.

  • nonprogressive / noncontinuous / "simple" I go, I went, I will go
  • progressive / continuousI am going, I was going, I will be going 
  • perfect — I have gone, I had gone, I will have gone 

    (Combinations: present perfect progressive I have been going; past perfect progressive I had been going; future perfect progressive I will have been going)

 

  • perfect (perfective) — an event occurring in the past but linked to a later time, usually the present  [has, have, had + participle]
  • progressive (continuous) — an event that takes place during a limited time period [(be) + verb-ing] )

 

_____________

perfectiveI helped him. [a bounded time, unitary] [HAVE+EN]

imperfectiveI was helping him. [an unbound time – continuous or repetitive;   temporary] 

 

_____________

Aspect relates to "the flow of time"

  • indefinite aspect "simple tense"—  I went, I go, I will go
  • completed aspect — I had gone, I have gone, I will have gone
  • continuing aspect — I was going, I am going, I will be going

 

Source for "indefinite aspect" unknown.

"The general term tense applies to a system where the basic or characteristic meaning of the terms is to locate the situation, or part of it, at some point or period of time." 

"The term aspect applies to a system where the basic meanings have to do with the internal temporal constituency of the situation." (Huddleston 117)

The difference is a matter of how the speaker views the situation:

  • internal – viewing it as something ongoing, in progress
  • external – viewing it without reference to temporal flow(instantaneous or having duration)

While begin is a lexical aspectual verb focusing on the initial phase of the situation, finish focuses on the final phrase.

 

3.2.1-3 Classification of Situations

  • States [static – atelic]
  • Occurrences [dynamic]
    • Achievements [punctual – occurring at a point in time]
    • Processes [durative – having duration]
      • Activities [atelic – having no temporal bounds or limits, indefinite
      • Accomplishments [telic – having an inherent terminal point]

     

  • states – He seems tired. He knows you.  The cloth is red.[atelic]
  • achievements – I finished the book.  He announced the closure.[telic]
  • processes – He plays golf. [atelic] / He plays a game of golf. [telic]
  • activities –  I am reading. I wrote them.  [atelic]
  • accomplishments – He is washing his hands. He wrote the book.  [telic]

 

telic – having an inherent terminal point He's reading a book.

atelic – having no bounds, the activity can go on indefinitely He reads.

 

Singulary vs. multiple situations

  • singulary – He quit his job. He died.
  • multiple  – He married a few times. He usually gives up.  He gives up. He was dating a new girl.

 

(Huddleston 3 §3.1)

 

GARNER 2008 BIBER ET AL (1999)

aspect. A feature of a verb marked by an auxiliary form, changes in an internal vowel, or the addition or subtraction of an affix to express the duration and type of activity that a verb denotes.

aorist aspect. A  verb aspect that expresses past action as having occurred at some indefinite time without implication of continuance or repetition.

frequentative aspect. A verb aspect expressing frequent recurrence or intensity of an action, state, or situation.

imperfective aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as (1) incomplete (or having no reference to completion, (2) continuing, or (3) repetitive.

iterative aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as being repeated several times.

momentaneous aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as having been begun and terminated in an instant. "punctual"

perfective aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as complete— or implies that it is so.

Progressive aspect. A verb aspect formed with a be-verb plus the main verb's present participle showing that an action or state —past, present, or future— was, is or will be unfinished at the time referred to.

(Garner 883)

Tense relates primarily to past and present time orientation.

Aspect relates to considerations such as the completion or lack of completion of events or states described by a verb.

Perfect aspect – designates events or states taking place during a period leading up to the specified time.  [HAVE + ED]

Progressive aspect – designates an event or state of affairs which is in progress, or continuing, as the time indicated by the rest of the verb phrase [BE + ING]   Particular verbs, activities and physical events occur more commonly in the progressive (6.3.3.1)

(Biber 6.3)

 

 

 

Resources 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Restoring the Tower of Pisa

Decreasing the Lean of the Tower

 

 

Read and Compare

Workers have been trying to decrease the lean of Tower of Pisa.

Engineers have been reinforcing the foundation under the lower side.

Restorers have been cleaning the stones of the tower. 

Workers have been using scaffolds to reach the top stories.

Masons have been filling and sealing the cracks in the stone.

Workers have tried to decrease the lean of Tower of Pisa.

Engineers have reinforced the foundation under the lower side.

Restorers have cleaned the stones of the tower. 

Workers have used scaffolds to reach the top stories.

Masons have filled and sealed the cracks in the stone.

lean (n./v.) – tilt; difference from perpendicular ⊥ state, 90º

mason (n.) – skilled stone worker

scaffolding (noun) – a system of ladders, platforms and nets so that workers can work on the exterior of a large building

seal (v.) – fill with a water repellent product

solid (adj.) – firm, compact, without breaks

stone (mass noun) / stones (unit noun) – cut masonry, cubes

reinforce (v.) – make stronger or harder

restorer (n.) – a worker who renews art, buildings, autos, etc.

 

 

 

 

Still happening or done?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

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Practice 2

Rules for Visits Changing

scaffolding put for workers
 

 

Read for Errors

Over a million tourists have visited the Tower of Pisa in the past year. So many people visited that they have worn down the stairs and dirtied the walls by touching them. Others have written on the walls (graffiti) and left marks in the stone. The non-stop traffic have causing a great deal of harm.

Since the renovation, all tours have been taking place with a guide. Guides have asked people to help preserve the landmark by not touching the walls, or leaving graffiti or gum.

They have not been allowed people to carry large bags, such as backpacks.  Also, they have not been permitting people  to walk along the outside balconies.  Since the return of the bells to the belfry, guides have been taken people up to the 7th and 8th floors.

The staff is doing everything possible to preserve this unusual, leaning, 12th-century landmark so that future generations can enjoy it.

balconies (n.) – external walkways with railings,

belfry (n.) – bell tower

generation (n.) – the next group of young people (20-30 year difference)

graffiti (n. - plural) – illegally writing with paint on public walls

guide (n.) – a person who shows visitors points of interest and answers questions

harm (n.) – damage, destruction

landmark (n.) – a well-known or outstanding historical site of cultural or historical importance

lean (n./v.) – tilt; difference from perpendicular ⊥ state 90º

renovation (n.) – the renewal, restoring to almost the original condition, refreshing

 

Tower of Pisa rules link

 

 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 11-20" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

11.
Over a million tourists have visited the tower of Pisa in the past year. 

     

12.
So many people visited that they have worn down the stairs and dirtied the walls by touching them.

       

13.
Others have written on the walls (graffiti) and left marks in the stone.

     

14.
The non-stop traffic have causing a great deal of harm.

     

15.
Since the renovation, all tours have been taking place with a guide.

     

16.
Guides have asked people to help preserve the landmark by not touching the walls, or leaving graffiti or gum.

     

17.
They have not been allowed people to carry large bags, such as backpacks.

     

18.
Also, they have not been permitting people  to walk along the outside balconies.

     

19.
Since the return of the bells to the belfry, guides have been taken people up to the 7th and 8th floors.

     

20.
The staff is doing everything possible to preserve this unusual, leaning, 12th-century landmark so that future generations can enjoy it.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Woodpeckers

Woodpecker vs. Skylark head
 

 

Read for Errors

Scientists looked to nature to understand: Why don't woodpeckers get concussions?    Concussions commonly occur when people get hit in the head, often in car accidents or in contact sports like football.  

Scientists estimated the head-pounding action of woodpeckers against trees or telephone poles to be 1,000 times the force of gravity.  A human is able to survive a g-force of 46 times the force of gravity. In exceptional cases, race-car drivers reportedly survived crashes of over 100 times the force of gravity.

Researcher previously found that the neck muscles of the woodpecker were especially thick and well-adapted to their pecking action, and that  a third inner eyelid prevented the birds' eyes from popping out!

In Beijing, China, researchers at the Wuhan University are taking a closer look at the thick bone that cushions the woodpecker's brain. They are comparing the skull structure of great spotted woodpeckers to other birds.

They are finding that small adaptations in the structure of the bones, a micro-structure, acts as a protective armor to the brain. "The wood pecker's brain is surrounded by thick, plate-like spongy bone. At a microscopic level, woodpeckers have a mesh-like structure in the bone that makes up a spongy bone plate.  This mesh is closer together in the woodpecker than in the skylark." For this reason, the researchers are suggesting that this micro-structure gives the woodpecker a better "helmet".

At the same time, researchers are observing that woodpecker beaks are not very different from other bird beaks.  They believe that  woodpecker beaks may be designed to bend while pecking, thus absorbing some of the impact.  

This research could be important for preventing brain injury in humans.  Each year more than a million people suffer head injuries.  Understanding how to build better protective helmets, headgear, could save lives.

adaptation (n.) the process of changing something to make it suitable for a new situation

armor (n.) a strong layer of metal, leather or other material that protects the body in battle

cushion (v.) – to make the effect of a fall or hit less painful by having something soft in the way

estimate (v.) – make an educated guess, calculation, or prediction

g-force (n.) – a force acting on a body as a result of acceleration or gravity, informally described in units of acceleration equal to one g. For example, a 12 pound object undergoing a g-force of 2g experiences 24 pounds of force.

gravity (n.) – the force that causes something to fall to the ground or to be attracted to another planet

helmet (n.) – a strong, hard hat that covers and protects the head (worn by police, firemen, soldiers, etc.)

impact (n.) – the force of one object hitting another object

insights (n.) – a sudden clear understanding of something or part of something, especially a complicated situation or idea

mesh (n.) – material made from threads or wires that have been woven together like a net, or a piece of material

peck (v.) – the action a bird makes when it hits its beak against something; (also used for a small kiss)

spongy (adj.) – something soft and full of holes, usually to contain water; like a sponge

 

"Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Concussions?" LiveScience. 10 Apr 2012. Web.10 Aug 2013.

 

 

 

Edit for Errors

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21.
Scientists looked to nature to understand: Why don't woodpeckers get concussions? Concussions commonly occur when people get hit in the head, often in car accidents or in contact sports like football.


22.
Scientists estimated the head-pounding action of woodpeckers against trees or telephone poles to be 1,000 times the force of gravity.


23.
A human is able to survive a g-force of 46 times the force of gravity. In exceptional cases, race-car drivers reportedly survived crashes of over 100 times the force of gravity.


24.
Researchers previously found that the neck muscles of the woodpecker were especially thick and well-adapted to their pecking action, and that  a third inner eyelid prevented the birds' eyes from popping out!


25.
In Beijing, China, researchers at the Wuhan University are taking a closer look at the thick bone that cushions the woodpecker's brain.


26.
They are comparing the skull structure of great spotted woodpeckers to other birds.


27.
They are finding that small adaptations in the structure of the bones, a micro-structure, acts as a protective armor to the brain.


28.
For this reason, the researchers are suggesting that this micro-structure gives the woodpecker a better "helmet".


29.
At the same time, researchers are observing that woodpecker beaks are not very different from other bird beaks.  They believe that  woodpecker beaks may be designed to bend while pecking, thus absorbing some of the impact. 


30.
This research could be important for preventing brain injury in humans.  Each year more than a million people suffer head injuries.  Understanding how to build better protective helmets, headgear, could save lives.