Popular Misinterpretations & Equivocations with Disprooves

1. "Present Perfect may represent an ongoing (present) action".
Still undecided how to explain to your students that this tense "combines both past and present times"? "A past action connected to present with its result... result is still valid..."? An expression of confusion on your face for feeling that you are not sure of what you are telling your students? A relief has come. It's not "present" and never was, despite what its name says. This tense existed in Latin where it reflected an action completed in recent past. All the post-Latin European languages borrowed this tense having properly preserved both its essence and the word "past" in the tense's name (pretérito, passé, passato). The English language is the only one to have changed the name to "present" and hence to garble tense's essence. Reasons? None.

2. "Perfect Continuous may mean a perfect action"
Since English grammar decided to go its own way, different from international grammar, and to ignore the category of aspect, it also ignores the internationally accepted terms describing this key verb category: perfect and imperfect. Although the term ‘perfect' exists, it's not applied properly, while ‘imperfect' was substituted with ‘continuous' or ‘progressive'. In fact, it's what's known throughout the world as ‘imperfect'. So, if you rephrase the name of the tense to sound internationally, you will have ‘Perfect Imperfect'. Now, try to explain this tense to your students...

3. "Perfect Continuous (Progressive) is a derivative from Continuous (Progressive)"
Those two tenses indeed are quite kindred for both represent the Imperfect Aspect. But their relation is contrary to what has been thought. The pure Imperfect Aspect, which means a duration or continuity, is rendered by Perfect Continuous tenses, while Continuous tenses render only every moment of such duration or continuity. So, Continuous aspect is as a part of Perfect Continuous, as a dot is a part of a line.

4. "Stative Verbs Rule must be followed"
The disproof of that is not difficult, if you know (and care) what the aspects are. If you rephrase the rule, which says "The stative verbs can't be used in continuous tenses", in terms of aspects, you will come to this "The stative verbs can't have imperfect aspect", or "The stative verbs are those that have only perfect aspect". This is nonsense for anyone who has the category of aspect in his language. Because he knows that stative verbs in fact gravitate towards the imperfect aspect. It's their natural state. If there are stative verbs that indeed can have only one aspect (for example, "полагать" in Russian) that is imperfect aspect, not perfect. And that's only half of disproof. The rule, which, as we see, in fact is the rule about aspects, was introduced by a guy who was born in Hungary where his native languages were Hungarian and German, later he moved to the USA were became an expert in English language. But Hungarian, German and English grammars do not have the category of aspect, unlike the majority of European languages. So, he did not have a right to work with aspects which he didn't understand, let alone to create a rule that would garble the whole grammar. His name? Zeno Wendler.

5. "Stative Verbs Rule has been being applied throughout the history"
It was introduced in 1959.

6. "The category of aspect is absent in English language"
It's absent in English grammar, but not in the language, living there unnamed though. Have you ever had hard time trying to find a proper noun for adjectives like Simple, Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous to be applied to? Did you ever say "Continuous time"? It was wrong. Did you say "Perfect tense"? It was wrong as well. The only proper noun for those adjectives (I'm talking about the whole column in this table, not about particular cells)... Aspect. That's as a fundamental category for verbs as time is, despite that Wikipedia says: «Aspect is a somewhat difficult concept to grasp for the speakers of most modern Germanic languages...».-

7. Tense definition.
That is not even a misinterpretation nor equivocation, but rather an inability to properly define this grammar term. The already mentioned table...
... shows that tenses are table's cells. Since any cell in any table is the correlation between table's rows and columns, the tense is the correlation between time and aspect.

8. "Subjunctive mood is ...eeeeeh... it's quite difficult to explain".
The problems in understanding the subjunctive mood are generated, strangely enough, by Spanish grammar. Strangely, because Spanish has a separate conjugation for Subjunctive mood and presumably should boast of the biggest understanding of this quite controversial grammar notion. Instead, Spanish only adds mess, and twofoldly: first, the subjunctive verb form participates in construction of the Spanish conditional mood, and hence, many people throughout the world, including Spaniards themselves, confuse subjunctive and conditional moods; and second, for the fact that Hispanos use the same conjunction "que" for both indicative and subjunctive moods, they (the saddest Spanish grammar's problem) can't tell themselves those two moods properly, spreading this confusion outside of their language too. In fact, subjunctive mood means solely the expression of a wish, order of prohibition for some action to be done by another person/object ("I wish that...", "I want him to...", etc.).

9. "Mood is verb form"
A mood is more than a verb form. To say that "would do" is Conditional mood is incorrect. It's conditional verb form, while the mood implies much more. Conditional Mood implies two clauses, a conjunction and various verb forms in clauses for different conditional mood types. Subjunctive Mood implies a verb meaning wish/order/prohibition, two clauses, a conjunction and a subjunctive verb form (or one clause, infinitive, and a direct object). Imperative Mood can coincide with imperative verb form, if the sentence consists of one word: "Go!". Moods are for sentences, not for words alone.

10. "There are four types of conditional mood"
In fact, there are two more mixed types: dependent as in Second Conditional + main as in Third Conditional; and dependent as in Third Conditional + main as in Second Conditional. It's a well-known fact, but the explication of this phenomenon starts to make sense if also done from the Aspect point of view. In fact, the necessity to use either the verb in dependent clause, or the verb in main clause in a perfect tense is dictated not so much by realizability of the condition, but rather by completeness of the action itself.

11. "It has been hot for two hours" is Present Perfect tense, and thus, Present Perfect can render the ongoing actions"
No. This is not Present Perfect, although it looks like one. It's Present Perfect Continuous, where the gerund of the lexical verb "to be" was omitted for "euphony reasons". The complete sentence should look: "It has been being hot for two hours". If you don't like the combination "been being" (which does not speak well for your grammar knowledge, to be frank), omit it, but don't claim that the tense has changed as well. It hasn't.

12. English Tenses Table
Once again, please, have a look at it:
One of the biggest English verb system problems is in the fewness of those who can surely say, what category is represented by the columns in this Table. If you decide to present some data in form of a 2D table, the first thing to do would be to understand those 2D, i.e., to name the rows category and the columns category. Rows are known by everyone. It's time. Columns are known by no one. It's aspect.

13. "Active verbs sometimes can be used in Present Perfect for an ongoing action"
The main vice of the Stative Verbs Rule which "permits" some ongoing actions to be rendered by Present Perfect, is that ordinary people, who never heard about "stative verbs", nor care about them, use such cases as models to follow, and erroneously admit that they can do it with any verb, even with an active one. Hence, we got totally ungrammatical constructions like "I have lived here for 20 years (meaning I'm still living here)", "I have worked here for 2 years (meaning, I'm still working here)", etc. Among such "ordinary" people you will find the authors of "TOEFL Preparation Guide", issued in 1982.

14. "Perfect Continuous tenses are not used in Passive Voice constructions"
That's blatant. They are not fully legitimate. They are irreplaceable, since there is no legitimate way to replace the continuity. The rephrasing of the sentence into Active Voice is neither a good idea, since the reason of the Passive Voice is that we don't know who the doer of the action is, or don't want to reveal him.

15. "Passive Perfect Continuous tenses may be replaced by Passive Perfect tenses"
That would be the same as if you would have replaced night with day. Or white with black. Perfect tenses and corresponding Perfect Continuous tenses are as diametrical, as perfect and imperfect aspects are.

16. "Aktionsart solves the aspectlessness problem"
No way. Although this approach is based on sound sense, it does not give you the possibility to group the verbs automatically. Besides, the representatives of the aspectful grammars would reasonably insist that the difference between the aspects is significant even for those verbs which Aktionsart considers "aspectly disregardable".

17. "The "perfective" postpositions solve the aspectlessness problem. They give you the possibility to tell the aspects in Simple tenses"
An idea that sounds good too, but neither works. You can do this only with particular verbs. And which postposition to use with which verb? "I smoked off"? "I smoked out"?. No need to mention that postpositions (including the "perfective" ones) change verbs unrecognizably and unpredictably.

18. Passive in Simple Tenses.
A trap. Passive Present Simple, Passive Past Simple and Passive Future Simple all can be understood ambiguously, i.e., translated into other languages with both perfect and imperfect aspect verbs. Compare:
The work is done (the action is over, i.e. past). - The work is done regularly (the action is ongoing, i.e., present).
The table is made of wood. - The key is kept under the rug.
Warning your students about this ambiguity would reduce the number of sleepless nights for them in future.

19. "The combination "been being" does not exist"
It does exist. And what's more, the ability to use it shows your level of English grammar proficiency. Take this "being"-brick out, and the whole house collapses. Better not to touch it.

20. "We can trust English tenses names"
Do it - and you are doomed. Present Perfect is not present, Perfect Continuous is not perfect, Continuous tenses are not continuous.

Artem Ivantsov. All Rights Reserved. Quoting is permitted with the proper reference only.
disprooves = disproofs, sorry
(although, who, the heck, decided that "f" should be preserved in this very case? This root initially had "v" - "prove")...
Another misprint, and another sorry. The paragraph 14 should read :...they are not only fully legitimate...".