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Re: Bug#169533: reportbug vs. ^z suspend and spurious message

Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:

> On Sun, Nov 24, 2002 at 05:23:37PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:
> > 
> > > > Accordingly, because I believe in the concept of causality, I am
> > > > closing this report.  (Present tense;
> > > 
> > > Present perfect.  ;-)
> > 
> > No, "am closing" is present progressive. :)
> Well, I don't have a grammar book handy.
> I guess this will teach me to argue the verb inflections of any language
> with someone who's fluent in Latin.  :-P

lol.  "present perfect" is something like "I have eaten the figs".

A list of the normal tenses you see in English, that have names:

"I eat the figs."  (simple present)
"I ate the figs."  (simple past)
"I am eating the figs."  (present progressive)
"I was eating the figs."  (past progressive)
"I have eaten the figs."  (present perfect)
"I had eaten the figs."  (pluperfect == past perfect)

Then we have a whole slew of modal "verbs".  I put verbs in quotation
marks, because these modal signs are not conjugated.  (That is, we
distinguish between "I eat the figs" and "He eats the figs" [or
between "I have eaten the figs" and "He has eaten the figs"] in the
conjugation of the verb.  For the modal signs, we do not conjugate

Those signs are:

can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might.

Each of these signs is followed by a bare verb form from any of the
preceding three present tenses, with the following whopping table of
possibilities.  Some of these have official names by analogy with
other languages, which I've put in quotes..  For the rest, I've given
the sense.

"I can eat the figs."
    (indicates present possibility)
"I could eat the figs."
    (indicates hypothetical present possibility)
"I can be eating the figs."  
    (indicates near future possibility)
"I could be eating the figs."
    (indicates hypothetical present possibility, with a more
    progressive aspect, or indicates a hypothetical near future
"I can have eaten the figs." *
    (very stilted, not normally used.)
"I could have eaten the figs."
    (indicates hypothetical past possibility, or present uncertainty;
     has a counterfactual connotation.)
"I will eat the figs."
    ("simple future")
"I would eat the figs."
    (future apodosis; there is an unstated "If ..., then I would eat
    the figs" sense to the statement.)
"I will be eating the figs."
    ("future progressive")
"I would be eating the figs."
    (present apodosis; like "I would eat the figs" but in the present
"I will have eaten the figs."
    ("future perfect")
"I would have eaten the figs."
    (past counterfactual apodosis)
"I shall eat the figs."
    (intensive future)
"I should eat the figs."
    (connotes present or future necessity/obligation)
"I shall be eating the figs."
    (intensive future progressive)
"I should be eating the figs."
    (present necessity/obligation)
"I shall have eaten the figs."
    (intensive future perfect)
"I should have eaten the figs."
    (past counterfactual necessity/obligation)
"I may eat the figs."
    (indicates present present permission or a less certain future)
"I might eat the figs."
    (future uncertainty with an indicative feel [as opposed to
"I may be eating the figs."
    (present progressive uncertainty, or else future uncertainty with
    an indicative feel; slightly more apodosis feel than with "might
"I might be eating the figs."
    (like "may be eating", but with more uncertainty)
"I may have eaten the figs."
    (past uncertainty)
"I might have eaten the figs."
    (past uncertainty, more uncertain than "may have".)

In the 19th century some people invented the idea that "I shall" is
similar to "you will", as simple future, and "I will" and "you shall"
as intensive future.  This has never really caught on and is not
reflected in older authors.  So I indicate above my usage: "shall" is
always intensive, "will" is simple future.

In addition to the richness of all these modal operators, we have some
weird aspectual things going on with perfects.  For example, consider:

A: "I ate the figs for ten minutes."
B: "I have eaten the figs for ten minutes."

Perfective aspect is supposed to mean the action is complete, but
sentence (B) implies that I am still eating the figs, and sentence (A)
implies that the action is over and done with!  So English perfects
are not really perfective in aspect, in at least some uses.  In these
sentences, in fact, the simple past connotes aoristic aspect, and the
perfect tense connotes *imperfective* aspect!

Indeed, English has the perfect progressive tenses, made analytically
in the expected way:

"I have been eating the figs."
"I had been eating the figs."

And of course, this can have all eight modal variants:

"I can have been eating the figs."  *unusual
"I could have been eating the figs."
"I may have been eating the figs."
"I might have been eating the figs."
"I will have been eating the figs."
"I would have been eating the figs."
"I shall have been eating the figs."
"I should have been eating the figs."

I'll spare the semantic gloss on each of these, but note that it is
not a simple matter of applying the preceding table.  For example,

"I could have eaten the figs" can suggest present uncertaity *or* past
counterfactual possibility.  But "I could have been eating the figs",
while it has both possibilities, is much more likely to be past
counterfactual possibility.

Note that we can't have progressive perfect tenses.  The following are
not allowed:

"I am having eaten the figs." *
"I was having eaten the figs." *

This quickly gets way more complex.  

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