Help with grammar

Discussion in 'General Education' started by flowery dreams, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. flowery dreams

    flowery dreams Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2017

    hi everyone

    What tense do we use in the following sentence? Past simple or present perfect?
    Sally can't walk. She has broken her leg.
    Or
    Sally can't walk. She broke her leg.
    Which one is correct?

    Also..is it ok to use the word never in the following sentence.
    What time is your friend leaving? He has never left.
    Is the sentence correct?
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Cohort

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    Nov 5, 2017

    It seems like most of your posts are similar topics... are these homework assignments?
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2017

    I don’t think this person is a teacher but, rather, a student.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  5. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Nov 10, 2017

    Past simple. She broke her leg. Done. Over. Has broken is present perfect which would mean the action is ongoing. Make sense?
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 10, 2017

    I can agree with this part. It's totally past simple, and onto tricky! :p
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 11, 2017

    Present perfect isn't ongoing action, and certainly not for a verb like "break" that happens at a point in time. Present perfect combines present tense (to indicate that action or its result is relevant in the present) plus perfective aspect in the form of the main verb as past participle (to indicate that the action itself is complete in the past), and the result is a verb form that references the past while placing it in a span of time that leads up to the present. As the asterisk indicates, (a) is fine - the span of time is not yet at an end - but (b) is much worse because its span of time is in the past:

    a. I have posted on A to Z this week.
    b. *"I have posted on A to Z last week.​

    Once a specific point of time in the past is involved, the verb form must revert to simple past, as in (c):

    c. I haven't posted on A to Z since last night. When I posted at 2 a.m., that still counted as last night.​

    If the span of time in which the event occurred is shifted to the past, the correct verb form is past perfect, as in (d):

    d. I had thought about moderating that new spammer, but catnfiddle beat me to it.

    To get back to the OP, the first choice with simple past is sustainable in informal speech because one's hearers can interpret the leg-breaking as relevant to the inability to walk - and it would be the only choice if a point in time were specified:

    e. Sally can't walk. She broke her leg yesterday. ​

    But in the absence of a specific point of time for the leg-breaking, the present perfect is better.
     

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