1. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    Tense Harmony

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by yokone, Jan 4, 2011.

    Hi!


    Which one of the below is better adn grammatically correct?

    I hope everything is better since the last time we talked

    I hope everything has been going better since the last time we talked

    I hope everything has gone better since the last time we talked

    Is there any problem with the sentences below grammatically and/or semantically?

    I hope everything is better since the last time we talked, and you got over the problems.

    I hope everything has been going better since the last time we talked, and you got over the problems (or) you' ve got over the problems...


    In these sentences, I tried to provide the tense balance but I am not sure which tense is better to use after past tense or sim. present tense. I mean
    I want to learn how to write the sentences in accordance with the tense harmony.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    bit of tense confusion... 'is better' [which is asking about current state] doesn't work with 'since' [which refers to an ongoing state]...

    better...

    grammatically probably ok, but awkward...

    same prob as with the first example above...

    ok up to 'you got over' which isn't good either grammatically, or semantically... and 'you've got over' has to be 'gotten over'... with that change, the sentence would be ok...
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mammamaia's explanations for the tense issues are clear here, but I have to add that there isn't exactly a 'right' answer to all the points raised by your tense and word choice, Yokone.

    For example, the verb 'get' is conjugated:
    get--got--got
    outside the US. 'Gotten' is sometimes regarded as archaic or idiomatic in international exams. You'll need to look at your textbooks and check with your teachers--in Turkey the state schools use British English, for example, and 'gotten' is never used, accept maybe in a piece of dialogue.

    The semantics also look 'off' to me as a British speaker: we don't say 'I hope EVERYTHING is better' we say 'I hope things are better'.

    Our students get higher marks for using perfect tenses correctly because they don't have such a tense in their native language. I'm not sure what it's like with Japanese!

    As an ESL teacher, I would say your best bet would be:

    I hope things have been getting better/have got better/have improved since the last time we talked, and you have got over your problems (OR ...you have overcome your problems).

    'improve' and 'overcome' are the more formal synonyms for 'get better' and 'get over'.

    The collocation, at any rate for formal British English is 'go well' and 'get better'. We don't usually say 'go better'.
     
  4. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with all your other comments, but I don't see anything at all wrong gramatically or semantically with the original in this case: "I hope" governs a list of two things, and both are correctly constructed. And in British English "gotten" jars horribly.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i didn't know that british english doesn't call for the 'perfect form' ['-en' ending] when a verb is accompanied by 'have'... is that really the rule there?...
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It does for most verbs ("he has driven", "I have spoken"), but "got" is irregular. See, for example, http://esl.about.com/od/grammarintermediate/p/tip208.htm
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    sorry, duplicate post.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Get' is an irregular verb. 'Gotten' died out more than 300 years ago, i.e. it is now regarded as an archaic form everywhere in the English-speaking world apart from the USA.

    I seem to remember that in the 19th century, along with the so-called 'logical' spelling reform movements in the US, there were half-successful attempts to purify 'gotten' from the US lexis, so that it is now considered by many to be unsuitable for formal academic English. I expect anyone interested can Google some more information about this.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It might be worth mentioning that "gotten" does survive in British English, but only in some stock phrases such as "ill-gotten gains". I note that http://www.miketodd.net/encyc/gotten.htm says that "even on the other [i.e. American] side of the Atlantic it is, these days, seen as somewhat vulgar and not to be used in proper speech or formal writing".
     
  10. pennib
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    pennib New Member

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    Hi
    Apart from modal verbs English has so many alternative words to describe an events position in time when constructed as a tense-aspect-mood composition.

    Tense Harmony
    Is getting the right tense so fundamental
    Damn, is it always to be so judgmental,
    Chronologically verbs was, is, will be,
    Are past, present and future tense to me,
    Such grammatical terms used to define,
    Locate a phrase within conceptual time,
    But in linguistic approaches supplementary
    Use a tense-aspect-mood as complementary,
    So giving voice to a temporal reference,
    And ordering this moment of preference,
    Be careful in describing such an event,
    Tense Harmony being so easy to misrepresent.
     

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