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Why do you say:

What was that noise?

and not:

What has that noise been?
Comments  
Dear sir,

It is my opinion that the noise has finished. It is therefore not connected to the present. The present perfect therefore is not correct. Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund
We normally say the former because the noise is normally either completed (what was that noise?) or is still reverberating (what is that noise?). Your second form is also possible on occasion too: What has that noise been-- the one I have been hearing every night at midnight?

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GoldmundDear sir,

It is my opinion that the noise has finished. It is therefore not connected to the present. The present perfect therefore is not correct. Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund

But, dear sir, "I have eaten seafood many times" and "she has been to America" are also finished actions.
Mister MicawberWe normally say the former because the noise is normally either completed (what was that noise?) or is still reverberating (what is that noise?). Your second form is also possible on occasion too: What has that noise been-- the one I have been hearing every night at midnight?

<What has that noise been-- the one I have been hearing every night at midnight?>

The noise there is also finished - if you apply the logic of this:

We normally say the former because the noise is normally either completed (what was that noise?)
No, the noise has not finished; it is presumed that it will occur again tonight and in subsequent nights. As Goldmund rightly implies, a connection to the present for a series of actions (though each may be completed in and of itself) calls for the present perfect-- as is true for no action at all: there has never been any noise from the old motor.
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<What has that noise been-- the one I have been hearing every night at midnight?>

To me, in that sentence.there is no implication thet the noise will continue.

Here, there is.

<What is that noise -- the one I have been hearing every night at midnight?>
Thank goodness we don't sleep together, then.
Anonymous
Goldmund
Dear sir,

It is my opinion that the noise has finished. It is therefore not connected to the present. The present perfect therefore is not correct. Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund

But, dear sir, "I have eaten seafood many times" and "she has been to America" are also finished actions.



Dear sir,

It is my belief that «I have eaten seafood many times» is the expression of the present relevance of a series of events. The events are finished. It is the speaker's implication however that the series is unfinished.

I have found an example on the Internet: «I have eaten SEAFOOD, especially fried, in numerous restaurants in the area and none compare to The Clam Box». The speaker may again eat seafood in a restaurant.

We may contrast the past simple: «In the three and a half months between my mercury tests, I ate seafood only twice». The speaker may no longer eat seafood in the three and a half months between his mercury tests. Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund

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