3

First Sentence:

1. She had lived with the family since she was born.

Second Sentence:

2. She has lived with the family since she was born.

What's the difference between them?

look at these two sentences:

3. There have been many great inventions or things that changed the way we live.

4. There are many great inventions or things that changed the way we live.

What's the difference?

3

In the first pair of sentences, she has lived means she's still living with the family while she had lived means she used to live with the family but she isn't living with them anymore.

For the second pair of sentences, what I feel is that the first sentence means that there have been many inventions that have changed our way of living, they might not be in use now. The second sentence means we're still using those inventions/things in our lives.

  • 1
    I am not quite sure sure if your interpretation of second set of question is right. At least I don't think it that way, though fat chances are that I might be wrong. Both sentence #3 and #4 are more or less similar in meaning, only difference is that in #4 it only says those inventions changed our lives, in #3 it gives a sense of duration. – Man_From_India Feb 4 '15 at 7:50
  • @Man_From_India thanks for your help. in the second pair of sentences,I just aim at getting the difference between "there have been"and"there are". – christina lee Feb 4 '15 at 8:29
3

The first sentence employs the past perfect tense, thereby (in this case) inclining a native English reader to suspect that she may not live with the family anymore (though not necessarily). The second sentence employs the past perfect simple tense, thereby suggesting (to most native English readers, I think) that she still lives with the family. In both sentences, the explicit continuation or termination (of her living arrangement) is omitted, thus leaving the reader to infer the sense (that is, where she most likely lives) from the syntax alone. The reason for the differences in inferred senses is due to the frequent use of past perfect tense in conditional sentences in the English language (whereas it is not correct to use past perfect simple in a subjunctive mood). These two websites may help:

The third sentence is present perfect tense and the fourth is present simple continuous, which bears little syntactical semblance to the prior three sentences (although, aside from the third sentence's ambiguity on continuity, the sense of the last sentence is similar to the one prior to it).

  • the third sentence is in the present perfect and the fourth one is in the present simple. – Khan Feb 4 '15 at 10:50
  • Thank you @Khan! You are right. I will change my answer from my incorrect assertions that "The third sentence is past perfect tense" and "the fourth is present simple continuous". I appreciate your gentle correction. – Mavaddat Javid Feb 4 '15 at 10:52
3

If you can understand the difference between "up until then" and "up until now" you will understand how these tenses work.

  1. Christina had lived with the family since she was born.

UP UNTIL THEN
The speaker of these words is looking backwards in time at Christina's life. The action extends forward from a point in the past to another later point in the past.

  1. Christina has lived with the family since she was born.

UP UNTIL NOW
The speaker of these words is looking at Christina's life as it extends from the past forward into the present.

P.S. Examples:

On her twelfth birthday, Christina was given a puppy. She had never cared for a pet before and was not sure how much it should be given to eat.

Christina is taking her calculus final exam today. She has studied diligently all semester.

1

TRomano's explanation of the first two sentences doesn't really need improvement, but I will rephrase to reinforce.

1. She had lived with the family since she was born.

2. She has lived with the family since she was born.

The first sentence is looking backwards from a point in the past. Christina lived with the family from her birth until some date that is in the past, and we would expect to find it in the context. This sentence says absolutely nothing about where Christina lived after that date in the past up until the present.

The second sentence establishes an unbroken timeline from Christina's birth to the present timeframe, during which she lived at home.


3. There have been many great inventions or things that changed the way we live.

4. There are many great inventions or things that changed the way we live.

The third sentence notes that inventions have occurred in the past that changed how humans lives. These inventions may or may not still be in use - the important thing is that they were significant at some point in the history of human development. You could refer to the telegraph or the cell phone in this way: The telegraph and the mobile phone changed the way we live. The telegraph is no longer used; the mobile phone is. Each in their own time had a significant impact on human societies.

The fourth sentence is not great. The best interpretation is that there are technologiesstill in use that changed human's lives at some point in the past. (And may or may not continue to do so.) It would be better expressed as There are many great inventions or things that change the way we live.

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