FR: La télé marche depuis ce matin

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Jaxfrxit, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Jaxfrxit Member

    New Zealand
    NZ English
    Bonjour à tous!

    I am having trouble with the use of the present tense to express unfinished actions/events that began in the past. Here is a sentence I found in my book (there's no context given): "La télé marche depuis ce matin."

    Does that translate into "the TV has worked since this morning" (present perfect)?
    Or "the TV has been working since this morning" (present perfect progressive/continuous)?

  2. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
  3. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I can't be quite so categorical, myself.

    As far as I am concerned, it is the context -- and in an exercise book, there isn't any -- that would determine which sentence an English speaker would use to describe the television. So I would argue that both translations (has worked / has been working) are possible here. :)
  4. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    The present in French suggests the action is still ongoing. In this case, wouldn't you prefer the present perfect continuous? In what context would you use the present perfect for an ongoing action?
  5. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Well, this isn't an action so much as a state, and we frequently use the present perfect for states that started in the past and continue in the present. The present perfect in such a sentence evokes the change of state that resulted in the current condition, whereas the present perfect continuous places more emphasis on the ongoing nature of the resulatant condition itself.

    Which tense would I be more likely to use, personally? The PPC, definitely. The split would be at least 80/20 in favor of the PPC for a positive sentence. But that doesn't make the present perfect any less correct as a translation.

    On the other hand, if the sentence were negative (La télé ne marche plus depuis ce matin) then I think the odds would flip 20/80, and I would be far more likely to use the present perfect.
  6. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    Je me demande si le Present Perfect Simple serait plus adapté si la durée mis en jeu (depuis ce matin) atténue l'action, au lieu de l'accentuer. Peut-être ai-je tort, mais je dirais :

    La télé marche depuis ce matin, mais personne ne la regarde! C'est inacceptable, on dépense de l'argent inutilement en électricité.
    → The TV's been working since this morning → ACCENTUATION.

    La télé marche depuis ce matin seulement. C'est une antiquité qui date de 1950, elle peut tomber en panne à tout moment.
    → The TV's only worked since this morning → ATTÉNUATION.

    C'est ce que je ressens, mais les locuteurs natifs voient peut-être les choses autrement.

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