Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Eddie Williams (1): The present perfect in English media discourse in the UK. VIAL. Number 3/2006: 9-26.


This article explores a non-standard use of the present perfect which has hitherto received little attention in the literature. After first reviewing recent changes in English usage, we examine general rules for the use of the present perfect in standard English, noting that the "rule" that the present perfect may not co-occur with past time adverbials is often flouted. The novel use of the present perfect is then addressed, using examples form UK media. It consists of employing the present perfect, together with the past simple, to narrate events within a past frame. It is argued that the perfect is deployed to render certain narrative episodes more vivid; it is not susceptible to standard explanations, and is currently only available in non-standard English. Whether it will move from this point to be accepted into standard English remains to be seen.

(1) University of Bangor, UK.

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