We people happen to share novelty, and that without a glimpse to the hour. More, to be capable of good syntax, we do not tie our comprehension to commas, dots, and other marks for language written shape. We learn to choose on those.

Our time extents, PRESENT and PAST, do not change for punctuation. They do not change for the Aspect, Simple or Perfect, either. To continue our work on the two Aspects, let us have a look at a few examples that all tell the same, but differ a bit in structure.

The Perfect Aspect may be of choice to highlight regards.

5. Jim hasn’t seen his little cousin in a year; he spoke with her last summer, and he loves to hear from her — Aspects Perfect and Simple.
5a. Jim loves to hear from his little cousin. He met the kid last summer — Aspect Simple.
5b. Jim loves to hear from the little cousin he met last summer — Aspect Simple.
5c. Jim says (that) he met his little cousin last summer, and he loves to hear from her — Aspect Simple.

The Perfect always invokes a span of time, and has an open frame. To close the frame, we do not have to divide our syntax for the PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE. We could say,
5d. He says (that) he met his little cousin last summer.

The phrase “last summer” gives a cognitive ground in time. The ground works like gravitation; we no longer use the open frame. It would be non-standard to say,
5e. *He has met Jim’s little cousin last summer.
In linguistics, an asterisk usually marks an incorrect expression.

It is worth thinking that phrases are non-standard or incorrect only when their language is confused. We do not speak or write merely to comply with tastes; we think about own regard. This thought may motivate us better to meet the language standard: we need the standard to be intelligible, as well as able to reckon on other people’s regards.

The Earth is a good cognitive ground in common. If we have cognitive ground, it can act like gravity and close the frame, as in 5d.


Spring Flowing Colors

The open frame may suggest highlights or effects, as well as prospects.
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 more; his writing belongs with a cognitive frame closed on a ground for the PAST.)

With a ground, our linguistic gravitation may bring a highlight.
6b. He wrote two books last year.
We do not consider if his writing belongs with the PRESENT or PAST. We have the notional ground about the time (last year), so the focus is on how many the books: those were two books he wrote.

To compare,
6c. He has written two books.
The focus is on the time span: so far, until this day, he has written two books; the years may have been many.

Classic grammar books might advise the Present Perfect in response to contexts as 6c:
6d. I have/haven’t seen the books.

Everyday American yet is likely to bring some cognitive ground:
6e. I never read / saw the books, and I was at the fair…
6f. I was reading one that summer, when…

Feel welcome to further language journey.

■→This text is also available in Polish.


In the first part of the language journey, feel welcome to consider a picture for
■ the grammatical Past, Present, and Future;
■ the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect;
■ infinitive, auxiliary, and head verb forms;
■ the Affirmative, Interrogative, Negative, and Negative Interrogative;
■ irregular verbs and vowel patterns: high and low, back and front.
Third edition, 2022.

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The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.
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