historic present sentence

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Mangxin2009

Member
Chinese
As soon as he reaches the station, he punches his time card and checks his vehicle----tires, fuel, engine, interior. Everything must be in good shape for the day's passengers. After he has made sure his vehicle is all right, Mr. Lee gets himself comfortable in his seat, adjusts his mirrors, and starts the engine. He pulls out of the station at 6:35.

Can "he has made sure" be replaced with "he makes sure" ? ---becauce there're so many historic present sentences.




Thank you.
 
  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    'has made' is also historic present, why would you like to change it, Mangxin?
     

    Mangxin2009

    Member
    Chinese
    A second thought:
    I think the present tenses in the passage are "habitual present tense". I mean all of them (except "has made") can be used with "usually" or have a meaning somewhat in line of a habit. So I feel "has made" is something strange, because we don't say " has usually made".

    Would you please help me out?

    Thank you.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    My personal opinion:

    I think you change the rules if you are talking in the present about something that he still is in the habit of doing ~ the habitual present tense. In that case you could use the tense you would use if you were narrating his day as it happened.

    However, the historic present is different. When the historic present is used, there is some marker in the context that already has made it clear that it is something that happened in the past. In that case, it does not follow all the rules for narrating something in the present. For the historic present, I would use "has made sure". It shows that this action has been completed before what happens next. I prefer this. To put "has made sure" into the present tense flattens the time sequence and makes it less interesting.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    I concur with Cagey.

    I think that what might confuse you may be the thought that only 'present simple', which you call 'the habitual present', can only be used as the present historic. This is misleading because ALL the present tenses can be used to express the present historic. This is indispensable to show to the reader all the nuances that the author has in mind and each present tense conveys an array of its own intricacies. The present perfect can express, among other things, the completion of an action as it is the case in your sentence. I think you could also use it in the following part of the excerpt you cite:
    As soon as he has reached the station, he punches his time card and checks his vehicle----tires, fuel, engine, interior. Everything must be in good shape for the day's passengers. After he has made sure his vehicle is all right, Mr. Lee gets himself comfortable in his seat, adjusts his mirrors, and starts the engine. He pulls out of the station at 6:35.
    in order to emphasise the completion of Mr Lee's reaching the station.

    One more thing: the whole passage looks to be a description of Mr Lee's work? routine. The fact that there is the present perfect, which you are asking about, doesn't mean that the action of 'making sure' is not a habitual action. The overall context of the fragment makes it clear that we are having to do with a habitual action of making sure (in the past which must be implied elswhere in the text, I assume). There is an implicit notion of 'each time/always/etc.' before 'after he has made sure his vehicle is alright.'
     
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