Indefinite and Continuative Interpretations of the English Present Perfect


  • Katarina Dea Žetko ŠC PET



the present perfect, inherent meaning, interpretation


The objective of our paper is to demonstrate that the English present perfect is not by inherent meaning either indefinite or continuative. Notions like indefinite and continuative are contextdependent interpretations of whole constructions and their broader context. However, continuative interpretation can also be triggered by certain adverbials, negative constructions and verbs in the progressive form. But, even these factors do not always guarantee continuative interpretations. Construction, continuative meaning can be cancelled by the context in a broader sense, this fact being a proof that this meaning is merely an implicature. We will demonstrate how different factors interact and trigger either indefinite or continuative interpretations which are not inherent in the present perfect itself. Our paper will attempt to provide sufficient evidence that there is no indefinite/continuative distinction in the English present perfect, the inherent meaning or function of the present perfect is merely to locate the situation somewhere within a period that starts before the time of utterance and leads up to it.


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How to Cite

Žetko, K. D. (2005). Indefinite and Continuative Interpretations of the English Present Perfect. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 2(1-2), 107–115.