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Hello everybody,Emotion: smile

I would like to know if people in Canada use the present perfect tense and the present perfect progressive tense differently than the Americans. Are Canadians following the British style instead of following the American style?

From Raymond Murphy’s "Grammar in Use:"
The ceiling was white. Now it’s blue. She has painted the ceiling.
"Has painted" is the present perfect tense.

This time, the important time is that something has been finished. We are interested in the result of the action, not in the action itself.

The car is working again now. Tom has fixed it.
Somebody has smoked all my cigarettes. The packet is empty.

Ann’s clothes are covered in paint. She has been painting the ceiling.
"Has been painting" is the present perfect continuous tense. We are interested in the action. It doesn’t matter whether something has been finished or not. In the example, the action has not been finished.

Tom’s hands are very dirty. He has been fixing the car.

I showed this text to an American English speaker. She said they don’t say it that way.
We don't say it that way. "Has been painting"----It says "it doesn't matter if the action has been finished or not." In American English, it matters. "Tom's hands are very dirty. He HAS BEEN fixing the car." We would say that if he's not finished fixing it.

When I was at school to learn English, I had to use the British spelling (grey, centre, colour…). What should I do about the perfect tenses? I don’t know much about how people speak English in Canada. I have been living mostly in a French Canadian town.

Clive, I saw on your profile that you live in Canada Emotion: winkEmotion: winkEmotion: big smile.

Thanks in advance,

SFB
Comments  
Hi,

Here are some comments. I was happy to get your questions, please write again if I can help you in any way, OK?

I would like to know if people in Canada use the present perfect tense and the present perfect progressive tense differently than the Americans. Are Canadians following the British style instead of following the American style?

From Raymond Murphy’s "Grammar in Use:"
The ceiling was white. Now it’s blue. She has painted the ceiling.
"Has painted" is the present perfect tense.

This time, the important time is that something has been finished. We are interested in the result of the action, not in the action itself.

The car is working again now. Tom has fixed it.
Somebody has smoked all my cigarettes. The packet is empty.

Ann’s clothes are covered in paint. She has been painting the ceiling.
"Has been painting" is the present perfect continuous tense. We are interested in the action. It doesn’t matter whether something has been finished or not. In the example, the action has not been finished.

Tom’s hands are very dirty. He has been fixing the car.
The above all sounds like what I'd hear in Ontario.

I showed this text to an American English speaker. She said they don’t say it that way.


We don't say it that way. "Has been painting"----It says "it doesn't matter if the action has been finished or not." In American English, it matters. "Tom's hands are very dirty. He HAS BEEN fixing the car." We would say that if he's not finished fixing it.

So, what would they say if he's finished? Just 'He fixed the car'?

I'd say in Canada it doesn't matter, so we follow the BrE style. Of course, there are other ways to talk about this. You could say 'He is fixing the car' if he hasn't finished.

When I was at school to learn English, I had to use the British spelling (grey, centre, colour…). What should I do about the perfect tenses? I don’t know much about how people speak English in Canada. I have been living mostly in a French Canadian town.


Outside Quebec, Canada has always had a strong British tradition. This has been a source of strength in the constant Canadian concern about resisting the influences of our huge neighbour to the south. In language, this has helped BrE grammar and spelling to persist here, although it is a constant battle. I usually tell students that Canadian English is somewhere in the middle, between BrE and AmE. Levels of formality are one area where AmE influence is strong here.

Something to note is that Canada is taking so many immigrants now that the traditional British/French cultural difference is becoming a little outmoded. This will have an impact on the English we use here.

I'd say you'll be fine in English Canada, using the BreE approach to the perfect tenses.

So you are French Canadian? Have you visited Toronto?

A bientot, Clive








Clive, I saw on your profile that you live in Canada .

Thanks in advance,

SFB


Hello Clive,Emotion: smile

Thank you so much for your answer. It is very helpful.

I’m Vietnamese but you can also say I’m French Canadian since I’ve been sharing their culture for 25 years. I’ve visited Toronto several times. I like the area where the night clubs are. Not for the night clubs but for the casual restaurants and coffee shops, and the nice atmosphere. I also remember the Greek Town. And you, have you been to Montreal?

My American friend would have said:
If Tom's hands are dirty after he finished fixing the car, we say "He was fixing the car."
Once again, many thanks.[F]

SFB
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Hi,

Yes, I was in Montreal last summer, around the Boul. St. Laurent. It's a great city to visit.

"He was fixing the car." Yes, you could say that, too.

Write again, when you have more questions about anything.

Clive
Greetings Folks,

Question:

Does Canadian English use the same grammatical rules on institutions as British English, or does it lean towards the American version? I am referring specifically to concepts like "government" being seen in British English as a group of people but in American English as a single institution - both requiring the requisite verb conjugation.

Thanks -

Tomek
Hi Tomek,

In general, you can do it either way in Canada. It depends on how you are thinking of the organization, in this case the government.

The government are all crooks!

The government has passed a new law.

Best wishes, Clive
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The first example is the more accurate. Emotion: wink

Thanks for your help.

Regards,

Tomek