The grammar is not to join critics of Emily Dickinson’s style. I do not agree with all grammatical canons, feel welcome to read my Common sense.
Here is a walk-through on my idea. 🙂
To varied extents, all grammar books are stories. There are no two people with identical language faculties. This is my real grammar story. I hope it can become your good friend (it cannot be true about lies only, if we remember Mark Twain).
The grammar idea has given good school results already. I am a Master of Arts, specialization American English and language psychology. I was also a teacher. My students brought successful results from their schools, one even went to become an English teacher herself (I was a private teacher).
I began inventing my story when I was a kid, which might part show. We yet deserve some sunshine also when we are grown up, I think.
Everyone has one PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE really. We can symbolize this reality as three fields. We can say figuratively that our knowledge is our light. Knowledge needs memory. Our PAST field can be as with a setting sun. We may forget the detail in a matter we have not studied in a long time, yet there is shine enough to return to it.
We cannot have memories of the FUTURE, but we are capable of planning our study. Our field for the FUTURE can be as with sunrise.
It is our PRESENT we have most cognitive powers to shape. We can symbolize the PRESENT as shiny daylight.
All tense patterns have the words BE, HAVE, or DO. We envision the words in the Fields (Chapter 1).
The picture lets us focus on the verb form WILL. It maps on the FUTURE already in the shape it has for the PRESENT. The observation is going to matter much in our further work (Chapter 2).
For a start, we compare the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect patterns. We use the word “Character”, for general patterns. Character of activity may come easier to think about than the grammatical term “Aspect”, which we get to know too, however.
We can extract our Character or general patterns, if we look to grammatical tense first elements, along with the words BE, HAVE, and WILL (Chapter 3).
We can symbolize the Simple first element with infinity. It can be any verb, and natural language is not mathematically calculable. Our ideas do not come from the Greek Anaximander, but we can compare thought. Feel welcome to read Grammar is always a project.
Human grammar is not separate from human living and thinking. We can associate our grammar and natural human mapping, as with geography and travel. We people do not have the outer space for our regular living space. We live on Earth. We usually view land or seas as extents. We give at least psychological borders to areas in which we are. We perceive routes and ways to places. We happen to be at landmarks and places.
Such are natural human variables for space, in English. We can use them for grammar (Chapter 4).
Arrows are very familiar symbols to show or indicate the way. We can combine our mapping and arrow symbols, to exercise target time. The ability will be vital in our language journey, especially if we want to fare with Modal verbs. Modal forms do note tell directly what time we are thinking about, so it is good to have an idea for a target time.
We never grow too old or mature, to use colors. They can help also advanced language work. We make a color palette, and combine patterns for Expression: the Affirmative, Negative, or Interrogative (Chapter 5.1).
We use visualization for syntax (Chapter 6). We learn to keep the head time. Our arrows are mauve, the color of head verbs (read: Colors can help read and learn). Head verbs can head phrases, clauses, or sentences. Auxiliaries always require another verb.
We get to use time frames. We keep the frame open for the Perfect, and we close it for the Simple. For real time, our frames are green.
All along, we mind we use concepts and inventions. We do not claim there is anything like time frames or logical extents in human heads. Common sense, if someone is an architect, it does not mean he or she was born with an idea for a house, or has a building in the brain.
After a comparison of the Simple and Perfect Aspects (Chapter 6), we compare the Simple and the Progressive (Chapter 7). Many grammar books might tell we need to learn “stative verbs”. They would be the words for thinking and feeling. We can stay with our mapping. It is up to our choosing, if we give our thought an extent or part an extent.
After we have compared our mapping variables ON and TO (Simple and Perfect), as well as ON and IN (Simple and Progressive), we try merging TO and IN.
We get another mapping value, AT, the Perfect Progressive (Chapter 8). This means we learn to manage all Aspects with variables as we want them.
We analyze if variable ON could be a basic value. We remember about “stative verbs”: we might not fancy memorizing lists of words to use with the Simple only. The analysis is favorable. It is always the first element in the tense pattern to adapt for the Time. First elements in all patterns behave the same in the Simple pattern (Chapter 8.1).
We can merge our symbols and continue faring with an earthling basic variable: ON. We merge the Progressive and Perfect features on our Simple arrow cue.
We can agree with classic grammars we may have stative uses of verbs, but we do not have stative verbs. No such special category works in the live, real language. We take our examples from the Corpus of Contemporary American English, COCA.
This is a dream come true. And I’m loving every minute of it.
(NBC_Today Sun as in the Corpus of Contemporary American English, COCA).
Modal verbs challenge our darts (Chapter 9). PAST Modal forms can work for the PRESENT, too. We can expand our logic as well as color palettes. Our gloss or forget-me-not can symbolize auxiliary time. Tea rose can help visualize Modal relativity.
We learn to perceive our grammar and notional time as related (Chapter 9.2).
We can observe that Modal form is only relative to real time. More, hypothetical time cannot be the same as real time. We can have gloss (forget-me-not) time frames.
With the frames, we can economize our use of darts to ON or IN values only. Our Modal phrases will become much simpler to make, and remain correct according to classic grammars (!)
(Should we think it is too simple to be true, let us mind there is no natural language to require looking up volumes on philosophy, to make Modal structures. More, all natural languages are spoken and written in real time.)
Further journey can help learn closing the frame or leaving it open, dependent on our focus. There is no universal guidance. Of the President quotes below, neither is grammatically incorrect.
If Lincoln were alive today, he’d be (would be) turning over in his grave.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, American President.
More than that, and breaking precedent once more, I do not intend to commence any sentence with these words ― “If George Washington had been alive today”, or “If Thomas Jefferson”, or “If Alexander Hamilton”, or “If Abraham Lincoln had been alive today”…
Theodore Roosevelt, American President
Our basic variable and relativity will work with the Conditional or Unreal Past, too. More, we will be able to keep our real PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE, our head, notional time.
We do not have to keep our visuals and symbolics forever. We try some independence of them already in Chapter 10.4., with exercise 67.
Importantly and very seriously, our work does not belong with computers. First and foremost, no computer could do our human thing: to begin, learn, and think on our infinity. Computers do not have cognitive variables, either.
To the Upper Intermediate level, the story consists of four parts.
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