Please, what is "the past emphatic" tense?

Donny   Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:58 am GMT
Please, what is "the past emphatic" tense?
Guest   Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:09 am GMT
Might that be somrthing like "I did go", as opposed to "I went"? (The stress would be on the word "do".)
Claude   Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:59 am GMT
Following is from : "http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000328.htm"

Emphatic Tenses

The two emphatic tenses receive their name because they are used for emphasis. More commonly, however, they are used with the negative not and with questions when the normal order is inverted and part of the verb comes before the subject.

The present emphatic tense is formed by adding the basic present form of the verb to the present tense of the verb to do (do or does).

The past emphatic tense is formed by adding the basic present form of the verb to the past tense of the verb to do (did).

Present emphatic: Does he run fast?

He does run fast.
He does not run slowly.
Past emphatic: He did come to work today.

Didn't he stay home?
He did not stay home today. "
Mxsmanic   Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:13 am GMT
This is one of those unnecessary complications invented by people who spend their whole lives studying and inventing grammar rules.

In general, if it takes longer to explain a rule than it does to memorize what it describes, it's a useless rule.
JJM   Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:57 am GMT
There is no such thing as an "emphatic tense"; the emphatic is a simple idiomatic construction using "do/does/did" plus the "base form" of the verb (what many would call an infinitive).
Mxsmanic   Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:05 pm GMT
> There is no such thing as an "emphatic tense"

There is if you can find a publisher.
Guest   Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:30 pm GMT
Quoting Mxsmanic :

"This is one of those unnecessary complications invented by people .....
and inventing grammar rules....."

I would say that English sounds like an par excellence improvised language. But English like every other language has got rules and grammar. Why are you condemning people trying to explain rules and grammar ? Improvisation is so difficult, indeed impossible to explain. Let them explain what they can. And as far as you are concerned go on appreciating the improvisation of this great language.

Cheers. Claude.
Mxsmanic   Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:54 am GMT
I'm not condemning anyone, I'm just pointing out that people tend to see what they look for, and specialists in grammar tend to find rules where there are none, thus they tend to invent new concepts like "emphatic" tenses. They overcomplicate the grammar of the language.

As I've said, if the rule takes longer to explain than the examples, then it serves no purpose. Explaining a highly contrived "emphatic" tense is an example of this. Learning the rule accomplishes nothing. It's just a way for grammar fanatics to occupy their time.

In ESL, you explain rules only when they serve a useful purpose. A rule that allows a student to correctly handle thousands of situations in English is a good rule, because it saves time and energy to learn it. A rule that describes only a handful of situations that a student is never likely to encounter, anyway, is a bad rule, because it takes more time to learn it than it would to learn the few and rare examples of the "rule" in practice.

Spelling is a good example of this principle. If a spelling rule can help a student to spell thousands of similar words without memorizing them, it's a good rule, worth teaching. If a spelling rule applies only to a handful of words that a student isn't ever likely to use, it's easier to just have him memorize those words on an as-needed basis than it is to try to teach him some arcane rule.
JJM   Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:12 pm GMT
"In ESL, you explain rules only when they serve a useful purpose."

I've run into this in a separate forum recently.

There was much chattering about the "accusative" and "dative" in English. I observed that neither of these two cases existed in English so it was not helpful to burden students with such pointless terminology. "Direct/indirect object" were perfectly sufficient.

Well, didn't that start off a debate...
Mxsmanic   Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:32 pm GMT
Accusative and dative cases are arguably the same as direct and indirect objects. It's just a question of terminology.

I usually don't bother mentioning either of these to students. However, this is in part because most of them are native French speakers, and so the direct/indirect distinction is already familiar to them (even if they can't put a name on it). They can transfer that knowledge more or less directly to English.

If I were teaching native speakers of a language that doesn't make this distinction, I'd probably have to say something about it explicitly.
M56   Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:25 pm GMT
<As I've said, if the rule takes longer to explain than the examples, then it serves no purpose. >


Sorry, but that in nonsense. Explain the use of the present perfect to me in less that the number of words in each example below:

I've lived in France for five years.

I've also lived in France.

I've lost my key.

Sally has just arrived.
Claude   Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:36 pm GMT
Hi M56

I would say :

I "have been living" in France for five years.

But what about your key ? I hope you got it back.

Cheers.
M56   Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:13 pm GMT
Claude wrote

<I would say :

I "have been living" in France for five years. >

I could also say that, but the sentences given were just a few of the many possible ones. BTW; why would you use "have been living" and not "have lived?

(Both are correct in English, but why would you choose one over the other?)
Mxsmanic   Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:01 am GMT
The present perfect relates past events or actions to present time.

There are millions of examples of the present perfect, not just four; and so explaining the rule (within limits) takes less time than enumerating the examples.

A present perfect continuous strongly implies uninterrupted action, whereas a present perfect simple can imply repeated action. The difference is quite small, though, and in many contexts either tense can be used without any significant change in meaning.

An example I sometimes give to students is that a full-time employee of a company would be more likely to say "I've been working for X" than a consultant. The consultant, having worked on multiple projects, would probably say "I have worked for X"; if he uses the present perfect continuous, it sounds like he is currently involved in a project for X at the time of speaking, or he has worked so much for X that he's practically there full-time.
M56   Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:46 am GMT
<There are millions of examples of the present perfect, not just four; and so explaining the rule (within limits) takes less time than enumerating the examples. >

As far as i know, there are only four main uses of the present perfect:

1. He has lived in london before. (The Existential/Experiential Perfect)

2. He has lived in London for the past year. (The Universal/Continuative Perfect)

3. Where's your mobile phone? I've left it at home. (The Resultative Perfect)

4. Four men have been killed in a boating accident. (Hot News Perfect)

<An example I sometimes give to students is that a full-time employee of a company would be more likely to say "I've been working for X" than a consultant. >

Wouldn't a full-time employee be more likely to say "I work for X"? And consultants have been known to be assigned to a company for one or two years.

Tell me if there is a real difference between these:

"I've been living in France for five years now."

"I've lived in France for five years now."