banned (has banned?)

Phoebe1200

Senior Member
Russian-Russia
School of Rock, TV series
Context: Halloween is tomorrow and Mr. Finn tells the students that he's super excited about it but they inform him that they don't celebrate it at their school.

Summer
: Unfortunately Principal Mullins banned Halloween at Travis Prep.
Mr. Finn: What? You can't ban Halloween. Halloween is like rock'n'roll. It belongs to the people. And there's candy!


Is she referring to a particular point in the past with her use of the past simple?
Could she have used the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween..."?
 
  • Serious dude

    Member
    Arabic
    Present perfect is the same as past simple; there's a small difference between them. For example, if you want to say that you studied in this universal without stating a specific time. Then, you should use present perfect

    1.I have studied in this universal.
    2.I studied in this universal 10 years ago.

    Another thing, is that, when we want to talk that we have just done something from a small amount of time or now, we use present perfect.

    -I have just eaten my breakfast
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    Thank you, both for your replies.:):)

    Do you think she has a particular point in the past in mind with her use of the past simple?
     

    Serious dude

    Member
    Arabic
    Thank you, both for your replies.:):)

    Do you think she has a particular point in the past in mind with her use of the past simple?
    I think banning the Halloween happened from a near time because reporters tend to talk about somethings that have just happened recently. So, when she used the past simple, I believe she was talking about something happened 1 week ago or more. I am not quite sure though.
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    School of Rock, TV series
    Context: Halloween is tomorrow and Mr. Finn tells the students that he's super excited about it but they inform him that they don't celebrate it at their school.

    Summer
    : Unfortunately Principal Mullins banned Halloween at Travis Prep.
    Mr. Finn: What? You can't ban Halloween. Halloween is like rock'n'roll. It belongs to the people. And there's candy!


    Is she referring to a particular point in the past with her use of the past simple?
    Could she have used the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween..."?
    There's physics, and there's linguistics. In physics (think Einstein, Newton), there's just one "past" and one "present." Linguistically, we can refer to the one "past" and the one "present" in various ways, which means that there are "many" grammatical pasts and presents, the so-called "tenses" (banned, has banned, had banned, was banning, had been banning, is banning, etc.).

    In linguistics, the simple verb forms are always unmarked; what this means is that "banned" is neutral; it doesn't need any special feature to appear (other than the context has to be "past"). Compounds forms are marked, meaning that there is a connection (a "mark") to something else, and that something else could be another verb action or a psychological link to the moment of speaking.

    Unfortunately, Principal Mullins banned Halloween is "neutral;" it refers to what happened in the past. Unfortunately, Principal Mullins has banned Halloween is "marked" in a particular linguistic way: it "links" the past to the present, the moment of speaking, given that the "ban" applies to the present.

    This is linguistics, two ways of presenting the same information.

    Then, there's pragmatics, something beyond linguistics. The "link" to the present isn't just about the words used in a sentence. The whole demeanor of the participants, the atmosphere; the tone of voice, etc., all of that makes clear in the dialogue that what happened in the past (when the "ban" was issued) is connected to the present, so you don't need to use the "has banned" form. It's understood contextually.

    Of course, you can always use "has banned." Language is all about choices.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To me, she uses past to indicate it's happened and it's over. No one at the school considers there is an alternative any more. That decision didn't happen recently and is not connected to the present. It's a "permanent" rule enacted back in the set-in-stone past. Halloween was banned and always will be.
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    I'm very grateful to all of you.:)

    Let's say that Halloween was banned five years ago. And since Mr. Finn is new he doesn't know it, so when the students inform him about it, in this case, is it still possible to use the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween at Travis Prep"?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'm very grateful to all of you.:)

    Let's say that Halloween was banned five years ago. And since Mr. Finn is new he doesn't know it, so when the students inform him about it, in this case, is it still possible to use the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween at Travis Prep"?
    Yes, it would be possible.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Unfortunately, Principal Mullins banned Halloween is "neutral;" it refers to what happened in the past.
    The quote of #1 sounds odd to me, and I suspect there may be a difference between AE and BE around how neutral the simple past is. My reaction to #1 is to wonder why the speaker refused to make the present consequence explicit by using the present perfect. Has Principal Mullins died? Are we currently trying to revoke his disastrous policy, so it has only a precarious existence in the present? Can we philosophically justify present policy in terms of past policy?
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    The quote of #1 sounds odd to me, and I suspect there may be a difference between AE and BE around how neutral the simple past is. My reaction to #1 is to wonder why the speaker refused to make the present consequence explicit by using the present perfect. Has Principal Mullins died? Are we currently trying to revoke his disastrous policy, so it has only a precarious existence in the present? Can we philosophically justify present policy in terms of past policy?
    I too have noticed that AE tends to use the simple past where BE goes with (and expects) the perfect form, but I don't know if this is anecdotal or a distinctive feature of both languages. I'd love to see the actual episode; I keep thinking that Summer's demeanor (body language, facial expression, tone of voice) makes the present consequence of the past action clear enough, so we don't need to say "has banned" (but nothing prevents its use).
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    Thank you very much.:)

    I keep thinking that Summer's demeanor (body language, facial expression, tone of voice) makes the present consequence of the past action clear enough, so we don't need to say "has banned" (but nothing prevents its use).
    I think you're right about this. The situation is the way Kentix described in #7. The students love Halloween and would love to celebrate it but they're not allowed and so they're very bummed about it and about the fact that they're forced to celebrate Fall Harvest Festival instead. And they've been celebrating the Harvest Festival in place of Halloween for a couple years now.:)

    Let's say that Halloween was banned five years ago. And since Mr. Finn is new he doesn't know it, so when the students inform him about it, in this case, is it still possible to use the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween at Travis Prep"?
    Yes, it would be possible.
    So the present perfect in this situation doesn't make it seem as if the banning happened only recently like a month ago or so?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    As we have told you on numerous occasions, the lapse of time between the past action and the present is NOT one of the criteria we use in deciding which tense to use in this sort of sentence. Why do you keep asking this?

    In this example it is clear from the context that the ban is still in force, so there is no difference in overall sentence meaning between simple past and present perfect.
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    Thank you. I understand the OP already. I'm just using the context/situation of the OP and asking something different.:) Could you please help me with my question below?:)

    Let's say that Halloween was banned five years ago. And since Mr. Finn is new he doesn't know it, so when the students inform him about it, in this case, is it still possible to use the present perfect "Unfortunately Principal Mullins has banned Halloween at Travis Prep"?
    Yes, it would be possible.
    So the present perfect in this situation doesn't make it seem as if the banning happened only recently like a month ago or so?
     

    Serious dude

    Member
    Arabic
    So the present perfect in this situation doesn't make it seem as if the banning happened only recently like a month ago or so?
    We can't know for sure. You could use both: present perfect and past simple is stating the something happened in the past. It doesn't matter if it happened 1 year ago, but, in my opinion, I think when she used present perfect, she was talking about something that has just happened recently like 2 days ago or 1 week because you could use present perfect to talk about things that happened recently, but you could still use it for somethings that happened long time ago. Again, we can't know for sure.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Thank you. I understand the OP already. I'm just using the context/situation of the OP and asking something different.:) Could you please help me with my question below?:)
    So the present perfect in this situation doesn't make it seem as if the banning happened only recently like a month ago or so?
    No, it doesn't. The present perfect indicates that the ban is still in force, not how long ago it was introduced.
     
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