Introducing the Past Perfect

Date
1983
Authors
Wallace, William D.
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Abstract
The past perfect has traditionally been described as one of the twelve tenses in English. A strictly grammatical definition of this verb form is inadequate for two reasons. First, the past perfect is not only a tense, but also an aspect. Often not explicitly stated, the interpretations dictated by the aspectual system are an integral part of past perfect meaning. Second, its use is often optional when contextual clues provide the relevant tense and aspect related information. Students may come to rely on these clues and fail to develop a complete understanding of this verb form. In this paper I will show the necessity of supplementing descriptions of the past perfect as a tense with consideration of its aspectual meaning. Exercises which focus on both tense and aspect, without relying on redundant contextual information, will be presented.
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Keywords
english grammar, past perfect, tenses, aspect tense, temporal lobe function, transference
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