6.1. Our linguistic gravity: the notional ground

Our grammar cognitive ground depends on our knowledge of language structure. Let us focus on our logic for Time. We could say,

 

5b. He loves to hear about Jim’s little cousin. He met the kid last summer.

 

__LOGIC__PAST AND PRESENT EXTENTS

 

We also could say,

5c. He says (that) he met Jim’s little cousin last summer.

 

__LOGIC__PAST AND PRESENT EXTENTS OVERLAP

 

The phrase “last summer” places the event in the PAST. We could not say,

5d. *He has met Jim’s little cousin last summer.

 

__LOGIC__PAST AND PRESENT EXTENTS BROKEN

 

(An asterisk can mark an incorrect expression. Informally, we may name a mistake a serious blunder.)

 

We also could not say,

5e. *He says (that) he has met Jim’s little cousin last summer.

 

__LOGIC__TWO PRESENT EXTENTS ONE PAST BROKEN

 

To speak about the present and the past or future, we keep one time reference for one sentence or clause head.

 

If we put two or more time references with one sentence or clause head, our time frame will be broken. We could say that we lose our cognitive ground for time then.

 

5f. *He (says that he) has met Jim’s little cousin last summer.

 

__LOGIC__BROKEN TIME FRAME

 

We use the Past Simple pattern when we have and want to include a past notional ground. This could work as gravitation, only linguistic. The phrase “last summer” tells where we are in our psychological or notional time.

 

Example 5g

 

The open time frame may suggest effects, highlights, as well as prospects.

 

Real time open frame

 

6. He has written ten books.

(He is likely to write more; his writing belongs with the PRESENT.)

6a. He wrote ten books.

(Maybe he is not going to write any more; his writing belongs with the PAST.)

 

PAST arrow CLOSED real-time frame

 

Let us now think about our cognitive ground as with gravity. Let us say we speak about last year. The time reference, last year, gives us the notional ground.

 

6b. He wrote the book last summer.

(It does not matter, if his writing belongs with the PRESENT or PAST. We have the notional ground and this makes our gravity work.)

 

To respond, we can pool our language information and say we never saw or read the book the author wrote last year. If we want to say we saw it, we would add some circumstance, for the sake of the cognitive ground.
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6c. I never read / saw the book.

6d. I saw it at our book fair/ that year, etc.

Pool

It is not just a concept that human brains can do logic. The sooner we begin to work on it, the better.

Jim and A-li
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Feel welcome to further language journey.
6.2. Grammar in situations: the Simple or the Perfect

 

Link 6.2. Grammar in situations -- the Simple or the Perfect
 

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