By Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik
An fundamental shop of knowledge at the English language, written by way of the various best-known grammarians on the planet.
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Extra info for A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language
1 A l though these situations are not strict l y momentaneous, since it takes a certain period of time to utter even the shortest sentence , they can be conceptualised as momentaneous , e specia ll y in so far as the time occupied by the report is exactly the same as the time occ u pied by the act , i . e . at each point in the utterance of the sentence there is coincidence between the present moment with regard to the utterance and the present moment with regard to the act in q uestion. Another set of ex am p le s where there is literal coincidence between the time location of a situation and the present moment is with simultaneous reports of an ongo i n g series of events .
A good illustration of the need for a prototype definition of concepts is the definition of colour terms : there is no clear-cut boundary separating, for instance , blue from purple , but there are colours that are clearly good values for each of these concepts , along with many other colours that are not readily assignable to one or the other . I n most of the discussion in this book, the difference between definitions 22 Meaning and implicature in terms of necessary-and-sufficient conditions and in terms of prototypes will not play a significant role .
We must therefore ask whether the existence of such examples requires us to modify the definition of the present tense . The claim of this book will be that it is in fact not necessary to modify the definition . As far as the present tense is concerned , in its basic meaning it invariably locates a situation at the present moment, and says nothing beyond that . I n particular , it does not say that the same situation does not continue beyond the present moment , nor that it did not hold in the past .