"conceive (of)"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Dec 10 01:01:02 UTC 2008

On Dec 9, 2008, at 1:00 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "conceive (of)"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> But, at this point in time, the development of English seems to be
>> trending toward the loss of the Present Perfect in favor of the
>> Perfect, whereas German and the Romance languages appear to have a
>> preference for the Present Perfect-equivalent, to the detriment of
>> the
>> Perfect.
> That paragraph confuses me; would you please elucidate your
> terminology?  In (AFAIR) all that I was taught and all I have learned
> of and about English, "perfect" = "present perfect", e.g. "I have
> approved" (unless you're speaking categorially of "the perfect
> tense*s*").

my guess is that wilson was referring to the (well-known) shift in
(especially american) english towards using the simple past
(corresponding roughly to the "imperfect" of some other languages)
where the present perfect would have been used earlier, as in "I
already did it"  (instead of "I've already done it").  but, yes, the
terminology is balled up somehow.


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