ERIC Number: ED223099
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
The Perfect Aspect as a State of Being.
Moy, Raymond H.
English as second language (ESL) learners often avoid using the present perfect or use it improperly. In contrast with native speakers of English sampled from newspaper editorials, of whom 75 percent used the present perfect, only 22 percent of ESL college students used the present perfect correctly. This avoidance is due in part to lack of understanding of the function of the present perfect. Most common explanations of present perfect usage place undue emphasis on adverbials and label the present perfect as a tense that covers past to present time. This approach is an overgeneralization that is misleading for the ESL student because it does not consider the contexts in which the present perfect is used, especially in contrast with the simple past. In addition, the exercises used to give students practice in forming the present perfect do not provide insight into the function of the present perfect as a qualifying technique. Practice using the present perfect should be viewed as a composition problem and should show how writing about current topics can be enriched and varied by bringing in relevant past details. Graphs on frequency of present perfect usage and references are appended. (RW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (16th, Honolulu, HI, May 1-6, 1982).