Is he still in Beijing

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windyvalley

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,


1)He has arrived Beijing.
2)According to our records, you have borrowed the books.

I am not clear about one thing:

When you read these two sentences without contexts, do you know
1) Is "he" in Beijing now?
2) Do "you" still have the book on hand now?

P.S.
I got the information that 1) is now in Beijing
2) not sure that " you" still have the books now, "you" may return the books or still have the books on hand.

Thanks for your patience!

Windy
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Windy,

    Without context, many things are possible. Some of them may be more likely than others. Let's look at your context-free sentences:

    1)He has arrived Beijing.
    With no context, I make the following assumptions about "He".
    1- He is described in something other than AE (American English). AE would normally say that he has arrived in Beijing or, in special cases, at Beijing.
    2- He may still be there, or have used Beijing as a transit point, and departed almost immediately after arrival, or a day or more after arrival.


    2)According to our records, you have borrowed the books.

    1- The records may be accurate or faulty.
    2- If the records are accurate, "you" may kept the books, returned them to their source, or passed them on to a friend. "Your" dog may have eaten them. We have no way of knowing without context.
     

    Mr.X Senior

    Senior Member
    Burmese & English (2nd Language)
    Both sentences are present perfect which mean:

    1. He subject of the sentence is still in Beijing. If he had left then simple past.
    2. The books object of the sentence are still with he subject of the sentence.

    Examples:

    I have lost my keys. ( Present Perfect )

    It mean I don't have the keys now.

    I lost my keys. (Simple Past)

    It mean I had lost the keys, it's not really clear whether I have the keys now. If we continue the senetence;

    I lost my keys this morning and found it later.

    It's clear.
     

    windyvalley

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi Mr.X Senior,

    Thanks for your help!

    There are some confusions here, just like what you have explained to me

    I read books, some have your explanations, but some have cuchuflete' explanations.

    :):confused: Windy
     

    Mr.X Senior

    Senior Member
    Burmese & English (2nd Language)
    If we are strictly talking about grammar, present perfect has lot of more sence.

    Example:

    He has left the office. ( Present Perfect )

    It's very clear that subject was left just not so long ago.

    He left the office. ( Simple Past )

    We don't know when subject left the office.

    However, majority is not really aware of difference of those, especially in speaking term.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    2)According to our records, you have borrowed the books.
    2) Do "you" still have the book on hand now?
    Let's look more closely at this one. Mr. X Senior tells us, " 2. The books object of the sentence are still with he subject of the sentence." That is a supposition that may be either true or false. From the point of view of the speaker or writer of sentence 2, it is likely that 'you' continues to have the books. However, we have no context. The speaker could be talking about a fine that is due, and merely trying to establish that the books were, indeed, borrowed by 'you'.

    There is no discussion of whether or not the books have been returned, by whom, or when. It is certainly possible that the books were borrowed by a relative of 'you', using a library card belonging to 'you'. These are things we do not know without context. All we know for certain is that, according to the speaker, the records show that 'you' has borrowed the books.

    One may imagine all sorts of plausible contexts in which that statement could be made.
    In some of them, 'you' still has the books. In others, 'you' never had the books. In still others, 'you' had them but no longer has them. These are all logical possibilities that can be derived from the lexical meaning of the words. The grammar points to one of them as more likely from the viewpoint of the speaker. That is different from an objective fact. The speaker, holding a certain opinion, chooses a grammatical construction that matches that particular opinion. The objective facts may be consistent with that opinion or at variance with it.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    If we are strictly talking about grammar, present perfect has lot of more sence makes a lot more sense.

    Example:

    He has left the office. ( Present Perfect )

    It's very clear that the subject was left just not so long ago.

    He left the office. ( Simple Past )

    We don't know when the subject left the office.

    However, the majority is not really aware of the difference of those between them, especially in speaking terms.
    I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence, that the "majority is not really aware of the difference".

    As Cuchu indicated, the context is what generally gives us the meaning, notwithstanding the grammar used. "He has arrived in Beijing" implies that he has recently arrived. "According to our records, you have borrowed the books" implies that you still have the books. They are only implications, however, based on standalone sentences without any context.
     
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