We began with with space, vast or not so big, and even compared the clock, to learn telling between the Simple and the Perfect (■→CHAPTER 6). We people yet happen to share novelty, and that without a glimpse around or to the hour. More, humans are capable of quite some syntax, and we should not tie our comprehension to commas, dots, and other marks for the language written shape.
We may resort to natural Earth and think gravitation, to choose on the grammatical time frame. Let us first have a look at a few examples where they all tell the same, but differ a bit in structure. We continue with our hike: we try to view language in extents.

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.

The extents, PRESENT and PAST, are not going to change for punctuation. Let us view other examples.

5a. Jim loves to hear from his little cousin. He met the kid last summer.
5b. Jim loves to hear from the little cousin he met last summer.
5c. Jim says (that) he met his little cousin last summer, and he loves to hear from her.

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. We could not use an open frame and 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 not incorrect if they do not comply with some people’s tastes, but only when their language content is confused. The thought may motivate us better to meet the language standard.

For the time frame and the Aspect, we may think about gravitation: if we have ground, it acts like gravity and closes the frame, as in 5d.


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 any more; his writing belongs with a closed time frame in the PAST.)

With a ground, the linguistic gravitation is going to bring a different highlight.
6b. He wrote the book last year.
(We do not consider if his writing belongs with the PRESENT or PAST. We have the notional ground about the time of the matter and this makes our linguistic gravitation work.)

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

The open frame would emphasize the time span. Everyday American is likely to bring some cognitive ground:
6d. I never read / saw the book, and I was at the fair…
6e. I was reading it that summer, when…

Feel welcome to further language journey.

■→This text is also available in Polish.


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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