*He has written another poem ever since he came home.

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language has this sentence marked ungrammatical (p 142):
*He has written another poem ever since he came home.

Under the heading 'Continuative restricted to atelic situations', CGEL says:
A further restriction on the continuative perfect is that in the non-progressive it allows only atelic situations (ones without an inherent terminal point)
In the ungrammatical sentence as shown above, CGEL says "writing another poem" is an accomplishment (i.e., telic) and is therefore incompatible with the 'ever since' phrase, which forces a continuative reading.

So, in order for the verb phrase "writing another poem" to have a continuative reading, does it have to be in the progressive as follows?

(1a) He has written another poem ever since he came home. :cross:
(2a) He has written another poem for three months. :cross:
(1b) He has been writing another poem ever since he came home. :tick:
(2b) He has been writing another poem for three months. :tick:
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, Jung Kim. 1b and 2b look normal to me. Those sentences tell me that he has been working on this poem for some length of time.

    If you used "written" in the sentence, I'd need to see some phrase that made sense with "ever since he came home" or "for three months": He has written a poem every day for three months. = For a period of three months, he has written a poem every day.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, owlman5.
    In your example do you mean that he completes a different poem every single day, as opposed to continuing to write the same poem for the entire period (e.g., three months or from the time he came home until now)?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome.

    In your example do you mean that he completes a different poem every single day,
    That is right. "He has written a poem" means that he has finished a poem. "He is writing a poem" means that he is still writing the poem and hasn't finished it yet.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    How about the passive construction?
    Is the progressive still required for a continuative reading even in the passive constructions as follows?

    (1c) Another poem has been written by him ever since he came home.:cross:
    (2c) Another poem has been written by him for three months.:cross:
    (1d) Another poem has been being written by him ever since he came home.:tick:
    (2d) Another poem has been being written by him for three months.:tick:
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Gee, JK, we seem to be venturing into the land of "theoretical English".

    (1d) Another poem has been being written by him ever since he came home.:tick:
    (2d) Another poem has been being written by him for three months.:tick:
    These passive versions look possible to me as examples of something that somebody could do with the language. I doubt I've ever heard such unwieldy sentences in the speech of any native English-speaker. They're just too clunky to have any place in normal speech.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    In any case, it's absolutely not possible to use the non-progressive versions (1c) and (2c), is it?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think it is impossible, JK. 1c and 2c look bizarre to me. Do these sentences exist? Yes. I see them on my screen. Do they sound like reasonable or grammatical things to say about somebody who has been working on a poem for some length of time? No.

    I think you'd do well to accept the advice regarding this construction that you found in the CEGL.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    And no one would ever say or write 1d or 2d. "Has been being written" is not a structure that is used in English.
    But there's this Canadian singer who uses the structure in this news article:
    Shania, whose most recent studio album, Up!, was released 10 years ago, hopes to record a new CD in the near future as well, if she can find the time. “New songs have been being written for several years now, so in this big gap that I’ve been off stage and out of the studio, I have been writing music. “I can’t wait to get back in the studio but then this whole Vegas thing came around and put this record on hold … Get Vegas on the way and then I will get back in the studio and start working on recording those songs.”
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "Has been being written, etc." does exist, Jung Kim. The structure is uncommon, but it does exist. Here are a couple of examples of its use that I found in COCA:

    From a report on CNN: ...top al Qaeda official who they have in United States hands, who has been being interrogated now for months.

    From some article in an academic journal: ...aim of this study is to evaluate the new Turkish education program that has been being implemented since 2005 gradually in light of teacher ...

    The structure has some use for those who need to describe a person or a thing as the passive recipient of some ongoing process.
     
    Last edited:
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