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"SIMPLE PRESENT EXPRESSES HABIT"

In the beginning of learning English tense, we students in young days had to accept the injudicious process to fill in the 'right' tense:
Ex: Tommy (go) to school every day.
== Even on internet, today one can easily find many such exercises to help children to understand the first step of English tense.
In school, teacher will help students a bit, I am sure. "Do you see the meaning of a habit here? Yes? Good. So we fill in Simple Present, because Simple Present expresses habit." And students will do it accordingly. They usually don't ask much.

But I don't know about Adult Education about English. I estimate an adult would have enough common sense to ask, “if from the sentence I have already seen the meaning of habit, why shall we redundantly use Simple Present to say it again?”

The adult is right in hitting the point. It is redundant to use Simple Present to repeat what has been already implied by the sentence. As most learners don't know, this is the first step to error. To be worse, after the adult has to accept the idea of using Simple Present to express habit, in later days she or he will totally forget that, at the very first, we have understood Habit based on the sentence, rather than on the tense. In all discussions over internet, people completely ignore the role of sentence, as we discuss the tense. I have always pointed out and proven that, as we think we talk about the meaning of a tense, we are actually discussing the meaning of the sentence.

TS
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Comments  (Page 2) 
HIGHLY SELECTED SELFISH EXAMPLES
Give me any newspaper of today and I will find lots of Simple-Present examples such as these:

Ex1: Recent polls SHOW Bush's standing with the public has weakened as Americans.....
Ex2: Several groups, including the National Abortion Federation and the Center for Reproductive Rights, PLAN to challenge the measure in court as soon as it is signed into law.
Ex3: The reality REMAINS that Tung [Hong Kong Governor] will be at the helm until and unless Beijing leaders think otherwise.
Ex4: The 30 new candidates COME from around the world, from Australia to Zagreb, Vietnam to Venice, and on the whole follow John Paul’s conservative bent.
Ex5: Seventy percent of Americans SUPPORT a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Ex6: Italy's U.N. Ambassador Marcello Spatafora, whose country HOLDS the EU presidency, moved between the two groups, sometimes with the British or French ambassadors alongside......

These examples convey the practical use of the tense. But grammarians have seen there is a trouble: they can't put them in their grammar books. As these very common examples should be no longer said in Simple Present some days, weeks, or years later, they may be in a wrong tense by the time the book publishes. Therefore, grammar writers want to keep them off their books. As a result, grammar writers forcefully help teachers to explain Simple Present by not reporting them whatsoever. Instead, they carefully select examples that may be very probably still valid in Simple Present -- as long as the book exists:

Exa: Birds SING.
Exb: The earth REVOLVES around the sun.
Exc: Two and two MAKE four.
Exd: Wood FLOATS in water.
Exe: I LOVE you.
Exf: Tommy GOES to school every day.
Exg: Babies CRY a lot.

Now with these carefully selected examples, they may even claim Simple Present is to tell Habit or Permanency or Universal, which can no way corroborate those common examples above. Unfortunately, it is incredible but true: grammar books avoid the most commonly used examples, to explain Simple Present tense. Worst of all, while the common examples are not there, they hit a wrong conclusion that depends on the disappearance of the common examples. They didn't hesitate to do it, because young students won't even ask.
Miriam said:
I might be wrong, but you seem to confuse the concepts of "time" and "tense".
"Time" is a universal concept in the sense that units of time are extra-linguistic, they exist independently of the grammar of any particular language.
"Tense", on the other hand, is the language-specific category which we use to make linguistic reference to time.
Time and tense are two different things; related to each other, of course, yet different.

My reply:
Why do we like to use such vague statements to serve our students? "Universal concept"? Are we using English to talk with the universe?

Actually, time is past, present, and future.
Tenses are used to express whether the time is past, present, or future.
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Miriam said:
1. Universal statements in which no reference to time is implied:
"Two and two make four."

My reply:
First, nobody can define what is "universal statement". It is invented to bully the students. Secondly, there is nothing that can escape from time. Even so-called "universal statement" must be able to link to some kind of time:
"Two and two have made four since we knew arithmetic."

In explaining tenses, people have to use vague terms to protect themselves, because they cannot explain tenses. To some young students, it may be hard to believe that we cannot explain tenses. But we teachers know the truth. We even hide away evidence from students. And I will show you that.
THE Past Family

In explaining tenses, most grammar writers have to hide away the family of past time adverbial "in the past *** years", which I call the Past Family, (such as "in the past, in the past year, in the past two months, during the past three decades, over the past four weeks, for the past few years", etc.) These past time adverbials stay with Present Perfect.
Ex: They have worked here in the past few years.

Intentionally or unintentionally avoiding to talk about them, grammarians may easily attain a fraudulent conclusion: "Present Perfect doesn't stay with past time expressions".

In short, they first hide away past time adverbials for Present Perfect, and then falsely claim that Present Perfect doesn't stay with past time adverbials. Now every grammar book is working at this kind of concealment, hiding the evidence.

Obviously, if they talk about the Past Family in their books, they cannot reach such a false conclusion. The falsity is based on young students' trust in them. Grammarians make full use of the innocence and successfully avoid to talk about a lot of time adverbs.
You're absolutely right, TS, in that I shouldn't even dream of trying to deal with things that are so beyond my reach and my understanding.

Please accept my sincere apologies for trying to do more than I possibly can. Emotion: smile

Now, you have a wonderful day.

Miriam
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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." G. B. Shaw Emotion: smile
I guess my irony was a bit too subtle. But it's just as well. ~winks~

Just, please don't bother to post to me again. I won't read this thread again. Emotion: smile
Easy now!

No squabbling
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Miriam has given you the most detailed explanation for all of your questions. She is remarkably knowledgeable about the oddities of English grammar which is full of exceptions.
I assume you have had problems with your teachers in the past. Grammar is there to help not to create problems. Where are you from?
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