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Natives & Tenses: Chapter 3. The Perfect Family

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Part 3: The Perfect Aspect
The Perfect Aspect Family has a few members...including The Past Perfect, The Present Perfect, The Future Perfect and The Conditional Perfect.

There is a common idea about what the Perfect Aspect actually communicates...

So let’s start….

So in summary from Part 2, the Present Perfect describes time up until...

Up until NOW, the Present. So the Past and the Present. Not the Future.

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In fact the PERFECT is an ASPECT, what are the other two aspects?

The Simple and the Continuous.

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We spoke in Part 1 about what the Simple and Continuous Aspects may be viewed as... so the Simple can be viewed as...?

It was like a photo. Something done. Fact. State. Result. Unmoving. Completed. Event.

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And what about the Continuous?

It was more like a video, an activity. Something that could be interrupted. Temporary. Something in progress.

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So what about the Perfect?

The Perfect is the before. The Because. Previously. It is like looking back over your shoulder.

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Can the Perfect exist for other tenses?


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So what does the Past Perfect communicate? I had studied for the exam.

It means that BEFORE the exam I had studied.

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And the Future Perfect? I will have finished the report for the meeting.

It means that BEFORE the meeting starts the report will be ready.

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And the Conditional Perfect? I would have come to your party.

It could mean that on condition of something (being invited? being available?) then that event (coming) would have been true (in a hypothetical moment BEFORE now).

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Are the Aspects mutually exclusive? Can we use 2 Aspects together?

We can use the Perfect (before) with Simple (event/result) or with Continuous (activity). We will look at this again very soon!

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Finish the sentence: I am not hungry now because I....

...because I have eaten.

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Finish the sentence: I wasn't hungry at the party because I....

...because I had eaten.

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Finish the sentence: I won't be hungry when I come to visit later because I....

...because I will have eaten.

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And the Conditional Perfect? Finish the sentence: I would never eat at his disgusting house because...

...because I would have eaten before going.

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[Sourced: EnglishAdam.com]

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