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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:04 pm    Post subject: Grammar Questions Reply with quote

I found this on English Club site which seems quite good but I don't understand this at all :

perfect

continuous present It has been being washed.
past It had been being washed.
future It will have been being washed.
conditional It would have been being washed.

Can anyone give me a sentence which would include any of the above ?

Thanks in advance

SAM
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MO39



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1970
Location: El ombligo de la República Mexicana

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:27 am    Post subject: Re: Grammar Questions Reply with quote

Littlebird wrote:
I found this on English Club site which seems quite good but I don't understand this at all :

perfect

continuous present It has been being washed.
past It had been being washed.
future It will have been being washed.
conditional It would have been being washed.

Can anyone give me a sentence which would include any of the above ?

Thanks in advance

SAM


It reads like a lot of gobbledegook nonsense to me! This sentence makes sense: It has been washed, perhaps in reference to a load of laundry that once was dirty but now is clean. However, it makes no sense to me in the continuous form mentioned by the OP. The same goes for the other examples cited in the original post.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12294
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well with twenty-four tenses - yes, I know; they're not all REALLY tenses.

"Strictly speaking, in English, only two tenses are marked in the verb alone, present (as in "he sings") and past (as in "he sang"). Other English language tenses, as many as thirty of them, are marked by other words called auxiliaries. Understanding the six basic tenses allows one to recreate much of the reality of time in his writing. The six are

Simple Present: They walk
Present Perfect: They have walked

Simple Past: They walked
Past Perfect: They had walked

Future: They will walk
Future Perfect: They will have walked"

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_seqtense.html

some of them, while they can be formed, will never (or almost never) be used.
For example: It will have been being washed by then.

The Future Perfect Progressive Passive

This is especially true of the passive voice perfect progressive tenses.

So, while "technically" those forms are correct, they are also hardly ever (if at all) used in "real life."
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following is from http://folk.uio.no/hhasselg/terms.html :

Quote:
verb phrase (verbfrase): a main verb, sometimes preceded by one or more auxiliaries and/or catenatives. The syntactic and semantic features that may be present in a verb phrase are: tense (present or past), modality, aspect (perfective or progressive), voice (active or passive)
E.g. he watches; present tense, main verb
he is watching; present tense + progressive + main verb
he may be watching; unmarked modal + progressive + main verb
he should have been watched; remote modal + perfective + passive voice + main verb
he will have been being watched; unmarked modal + perfective + progressive + passive voice + main verb
he used to be watched; marginal modal, past tense + passive voice+ main verb
he will tend to watch; unmarked modal + catenative (usuality) + main verb
he keeps having to be watched; catenative, present tense + (marginal) modal + passive voice + main verb


Note that when it says 'progressive', 'perfective' or 'passive voice', these are shorthand for 'the form of BE that helps add progressive aspect to a construction' (an -ing form is also required and will follow later in the VP), 'the form of HAVE (or just HAD in the past) that helps add perfect aspect to a constructon' (a 'past participle' is also required and will follow later in the VP (and will constitute the main verb)) and 'the form of BE that helps add passive voice to a construction' (a 'past participle' is also required and will follow later in the VP (and will constitute the main verb)) respectively. (Note also the e.g. Lewis-ian label 'remote', which you might or might not like, depending on the strength of your preference for 'tense').

The implication is that unless you are dealing with simple verb phrases which contain only one element (a lexical verb, which is then also the main verb, and tensed/inflected accordingly), you are better to think in terms of the larger constructions containing an initial FINITE rather than tensed element, and all the following elements being NON-FINITE. Some people like to call these larger construction 'compound tenses', but however you view them, naming these more complex constructions can be tricky when they contain two forms of the verb BE (i.e. '...been being...') (you might like to try "building up" names for the constructions by going through each of the VP elements one by one and additively LOL).

But of course (and as the previous posters have said), VPs with the maximum five elements all present and accounted for are quite rare - four is the more usual maximum (i.e. constructions will be passive or progressive but rarely both)...the examples in grammar guides are usually more to illustrate the theoretical potential of the system than to reflect actual usage norms (give me as a student lots of practice in the two simple tenses and more importantly a wide range of lexis any day!); that being said, there is sometimes a need for complex sentences such as 'People have been being confused by grammar explanations since education began'. (PS: A direct link to the relevant English Club page would be nice, if only to see if the examples are contained within a 'passive tense' subsection (and incidentally, if you want to understand the passive and its use generally, you might like to look at more functional e.g. corpus-based e.g. LGSWE and/or text or SFG-based explanations of the reasons for variations in word order, or rather, variations in the order in which information is presented - in real communication, as opposed to grammars transformational or otherwise, is there actually such a thing as an "underlying" 'canonical' word order?)).

Edit: I forgot to mention how I would use your examples, or imagine them being used, but I see that others have made some comments. All I can now say is that it depends on if only a washing machine is involved, or a laundry service is also involved beyond it; that is, 'It...been: being washed (by the machine) (for hours/however long)' is a possible but slightly improbable sentence even in the context of "only the washing machine doing it" (compared to simply say, 'It...been in there for hours/however long (since finishing that wash cycle?)'), and when other people do our washing for us, they are more likely to be relatives and simply inform us 'I've done/did your washing (for you)', aren't they [I mean, how many of us could afford to call a service seemingly almost in order to start practising English constructions such as 'They (will) have washed/been washing my shirt (for...) (by now)' "<>" 'It (my shirt) will have/has been (being) washed (for...) (by them, by now)'? (or we could "simplify" matters by replacing 'It' with 'They/clothes plural' thus: 'They (the laundry service)...my clothes' "<>" 'They (my clothes)...(by the laundry service)...')]. (I doubt if I am adding much to what MO39 put or implied). Like I say, these are more hypothetical examples designed to show the potential of the system than reflect actual usage (or, if you really fancy some 4- or 5-element VPs, you'll want to look for better examples than this)!


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:31 pm; edited 6 times in total
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gaijinalways



Joined: 29 Nov 2005
Posts: 2279

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It will have been being washed by then.

I don't think anyone will or has said this.

'will have been being washed' (not okay)

will have been washed by that time (okay)
would have been doing s/t at that time (okay)
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject: Grammar Questions Reply with quote

Thanks everyone

The web link is http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-voice_passive.htm. Maybe I should email them and say that this is a load of rubbish. Anyone know any good grammar websites, please ? I've got a book.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12294
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the link I gave above for The Owl at Purdue is good and so's this one:

For other resources on the teaching of grammar in the ESL/EFL classroom, visit AzarGrammar.com — a teacher support website created by Betty Azar, where you’ll find:
Thousands of worksheets, exercises, games and activities to download and use in your classroom. All classroom materials are correlated to the Azar texts:
Teacher-created grammar exercises
Communicative games and activities (including Suzanne Woodward’s entire book Fun with Grammar)
Vocabulary worksheets
Song lessons designed to reinforce grammar structures using well known songs

Teacher Talk: A discussion forum on teaching grammar
Grammar Guy: Richard Firsten’s bi-weekly musings on grammar and the English language
Teacher’s Guides for the Azar Grammar Series
Essays, articles, book reviews and videos on grammar teaching in which Betty Azar shares her thoughts on teaching grammar
Grammar explanations as presented on the Azar Interactive programs

http://www.azargrammar.com/

Regards,
John
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Marcoregano



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 872
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gaijinalways wrote:
Quote:
It will have been being washed by then.

I don't think anyone will or has said this.

'will have been being washed' (not okay)


Hmm...hows about:

He will have been being washed when the bomb exploded.

Sounds OK, though I'd generally use 'would' rather than 'will'.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it difficult to understand why Azar is rated so much when her examples (and those from her contributing teachers) can often sound so robotic and unrealistic (there is a difference between a native teacher learning "a lot" about just "grammatical structure" from randomly lexicalized examples full of stilted and functionally inapproriate language, and giving those same examples to students as if they will work like a charm (more like, fail to charm!)). This is not the first time that I have detected an air of unreality about American versus British grammar books (perhaps this is due to the American reluctance to invest in computerized corpora, in order to capture usage way beyond the usual prescriptive bugbears), and if a student at some point realizes (and I believe that eventually, they do!) that they cannot 100% depend upon and therefore have to simply unlearn/forget a fair bit of what a teacher gives them, where then to turn?
http://www.azargrammar.com/assets/beginning/BEGTeacher-CreatedWorksheets/Worksheets4/AdditionalPractPrsntProgr.doc

I would recommend that you simply buy or somehow refer to (CUP may have a few links) one of Murphy's books instead (if you want grammar that is accessible and on the same level as the students' immediate and practical needs) - there is a world of difference to my mind between his examples and contexts (often illustrated, too!) and Azar's (you have to wonder if Azar actually makes use of the dictionaries e.g. the Longman Advanced American Dictionary that she endorsed). I would also recommend that you invest in and work through at least one guide/intro to (a) grammar, if not a reasonably accessible and/or abridged grammar itself, such as one of the following:

-Collins COBUILD English Grammar (Second Edition)
-Carter & McCarthy's Cambridge Grammar English ( http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6vWcHAAACAAJ&dq=cambridge+grammar )
-Leech et al's English Grammar for Today, Second Edition
-Bloor & Bloor's The Functional Analysis of English, Second Edition (or G. Lock's Functional English Grammar, or G.Thompson's Introducing Functional Grammar, Second Edition etc)
-Huddleston & Pullum's A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (see also: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=9183, a thread with several links, including one to H's 'Short Overview of English Syntax', and one to the IGE)
-Biber et al's The Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English
(Just ask if you want to know more about each of these books, as I own them all! Surprised Cool Smile ).

Then of course there are books like Swan's PEU or Leech's A-Z of English Grammar, which are great for quick reference but which may not give you quite the "overview" that you may at times be needing.

Which grammar book do you have, by the way, Littlebird?

Don't forget also that dictionaries can often answer questions about grammar (terminology) very quickly, as well as obviously be a good source of much more authentic (authentic-sounding, functional) examples:
http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
http://www.oup.com/elt/catalogue/teachersites/oald7/?cc=global
http://www.ldoceonline.com/

Obviously, the more you yourself know about grammar, the more you will be able to develop your own materials and methods, and the less you will be at the mercy of what is often somebody else's "help" (and printed sources are IMHO much more dependable than those found online (although there are exceptions, as presumably most of the links posted on this thread may well prove to you)).

Further links (first lot are drawn from the Teacher's Applied Linguistics forum's 'Interesting websites' thread - http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=2214 ):

http://folk.uio.no/hhasselg/terms.html (posted in my first post, above)
http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~radford/PapersPublications/glossary.htm (many Chomskyan terms, but many are not)
http://www.beaugrande.com/UPLOADGRAMMARHEADER.htm
http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/node00.html
http://www.personal.rdg.ac.uk/~llsroach/encyc.pdf
http://wals.info/languoid/lect/wals_code_eng

http://visl.sdu.dk/visl/en/info/engglos.html
http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary.html
http://www.dailygrammar.com/index.shtml (link supplied by Ouyang, on an AL thread)
http://www.onestopenglish.com/section.asp?sectionType=listsummary&catid=58088
http://www.bartleby.com/reference/
http://www.philseflsupport.com/language.htm

http://www.corpora4learning.net/resources/materials.html
http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/using/index.xml?style=printable

http://www.cambridge.org/elt/resources/adult/ (links to teacher support materials for various ranges of textbooks e.g. http://www.cambridge.org/elt/letstalk2/teachersupport/index.htm )
http://www.cambridge.org/us/esl/nic/support/home.htm

There are of course other sites around besides the ones mentioned above, but few that I myself am that familiar with and/or would be that inclined to make repeated use of, so I won't dig up and mention any further ones.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:08 pm; edited 9 times in total
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waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcoregano wrote:
gaijinalways wrote:
Quote:
It will have been being washed by then.

I don't think anyone will or has said this.

'will have been being washed' (not okay)


Hmm...hows about:

He will have been being washed when the bomb exploded.

Sounds OK, though I'd generally use 'would' rather than 'will'.


That's not a very good example.
Better would be something like:

By the time you get to the launderette tomorrow morning at 9:30, your towels will have been being washed for 20 minutes.

Of course it's basically never used, but that doesn't mean it isn't logically correct.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12294
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fluffyhamster,
I guess we're going to have to disagree about Azar. In the example you provided a link to, would you mind pointing out how they "sound so robotic and unrealistic?"

I. Change the sentences to questions.

1. The student is holding his grammar book.


2. Renee, the baby, is sneezing.


3. We are writing a composition.


4. Mary is sitting in the classroom.


5. John is reading a novel about life in England in 1603.


6. You are sleeping in class.


7. I am chewing gum.


8. Jane is standing on a chair.


9. An airplane is flying across the sky.


10. She is cutting the cake.


11. Anthony is holding his wig for the play.


12. They are playing our favorite song on the radio.


13. Ray is buying many airplane parts from Andy.


Myra M. Medina
Miami Dade College

Or, better yet. since it's Ms Azar we're really talking about, could you provide some examples of her robotic and unrealistic sentences?

Thanks,
John
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:48 pm    Post subject: Grammar Questions Reply with quote

Wow thanks a lot !!!

I have English Grammar in use 3rd Edition Raymond Murphy with Answers. I really need a thorough simple explanation of the IPA. I'm afraid your explanations go over my head Fluffy Hamster. BTW why has your hamster got big piranha like teeth ?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turning your question on its head, John, perhaps you could point out what is so fine and functionally dandy about the very first sentence there for a start (The student is holding his grammar book; Is the student...? > GAP-FILL: The teachers/students are left holding their ____ in their hands). If we are going to lexicalize present progressive, perhaps we should look for verbs other than 'hold(ing)' (or rather, "grammar" the lemma HOLD by means of different structures/grammar). And I did say 'can often' rather than 'always' (read the 'often' as 'sometimes' if you like). Still, I was perhaps being a bit unfair about the rest of Ms Medina's examples (I've had American friends who talked a LOT about sneezing babies, people standing on chairs and wigs for plays); as for Betty Azar's books themselves, there doesn't seem to be much available (previewable) on her site, so I am basing my views on a quick browse or two in a bookstore once (which to be honest left me with rather the same impression as that type of "worksheet"). Surely I am not wrong in saying that American grammar publications especially are pretty randomly lexicalized (and certainly, that one would not learn much about HOLD from them, not that that is their purpose - but then, what is, ultimately? Just to do "Grammar Practice", whatever that is?). Give me a COBUILD publication any day!

BTW I agree that the OWL from Purdue is a decent site (in comparison).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Grammar Questions Reply with quote

Littlebird wrote:
Wow thanks a lot !!!

I have English Grammar in use 3rd Edition Raymond Murphy with Answers. I really need a thorough simple explanation of the IPA. I'm afraid your explanations go over my head Fluffy Hamster. BTW why has your hamster got big piranha like teeth ?


My hamster has nasty teeth because he pulls his hair out over newbie requests, before gnashing them (both, first the requests, then the newbies) to bits LOL.

But yeah, a lot of what I say can be a wee bit "advanced", but at least it isn't oversimplified.

A quick way to get acquainted with the IPA as applied to English (the rest of the symbols will be of little or no use or relevance to you as an ELTer) is by studying the pronunciation guides in any of the advanced learner dictionaries that I mentioned. Here is the one from the LDOCE4 (you'll need to scroll down at least a third of the page to see the chart; sorry that it's a bit blurry):
http://www.ldoceonline.com/howtouse.html

EDIT: Or better yet, try this! (Just remembered/rediscovered it):
http://www.oup.com/elt/global/products/englishfile/elementary/c_pronunciation/


Then there is the second page at least of the Roach phonetics encyclopedia pdf (that I linked to in my post before last, above - but here it is again Wink : http://www.personal.rdg.ac.uk/~llsroach/encyc.pdf ).

You might also like to play around with this:
http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~danhall/phonetics/sammy.html

Wikipedia is obviously worth a try, as is this:
http://www.answers.com/topic/international-phonetic-alphabet

If I think of more, I'll post 'em.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:22 am; edited 3 times in total
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Strictly speaking, in English, only two tenses are marked in the verb alone, present (as in "he sings") and past (as in "he sang"). Other English language tenses, as many as thirty of them, are marked by other words called auxiliaries. Understanding the six basic tenses allows one to recreate much of the reality of time in his writing. The six a
This is sheer nonsense. The site you give is written by an idiot.

The CGEL gives four tenses in English because it considers the perfect not an aspect but a tense. It is out on a limb on this, because most authorities consider there are only two tenses.

There is no future tense in English. 'Will belongs to the modal system. which is tenseless. The guy at Purdue is clearly out of his depth.
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