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People often answer "Thanks for sharing this" when I share a document or information with them.

What I don't understand is why they don't use a past tense since I share the document before their answer. Would it be correct to say that instead: "Thanks for having shared this".

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    This is actually a really good question. I would use 'thanks for sharing this' if it is recently shared but I would use 'thanks for having shared this' if it was like a week later or if I had finished with the document. I too would like to know the proper answer to this though! – politicallycorrect May 31 '16 at 12:50
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    @politicallycorrect - Actually, we commonly do this with the word "thanks," even when quite a bit of time has elapsed: Thanks for coming over last week; thanks for praying for us last month; thanks for fixing my boat last summer; thanks for helping me get that job three years ago; thanks for introducing me to my wife back at that cookout in 1987. I can't find any grammatical flaws in any of those. I agree with you, though – this is a good question! – J.R. May 31 '16 at 13:08
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    Note, by the way, that you share something with people, not to them. – StoneyB May 31 '16 at 13:18
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    I think it's sharing, the gerund, because we thank someone for a noun. You say "Thanks for the fish" or "Thanks for my new trombone", and likewise, in this case, we're thanking someone for a particular act. "Sharing" in this context is the act of sharing; it doesn't mean that the person is sharing right at that very moment. – stangdon May 31 '16 at 14:31
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    Does that mean that by default this is past but we can use it for the future like in the following example?: Thanks for coming tomorrow to help me with my homework? – psql May 31 '16 at 15:23
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Thanks for sharing this has no finite verb. Therefore there is no actual tense expressed in this phrase. The sharing could have taken place in the past, be taking place now, or take place in the future.

What is expressed is one's current thanks for an event of sharing.

Without an adverb expressing when the "sharing" occurs, we don't know when it does/did/will do. If you attach an adverb, the adverb tells you when the sharing happened.

Consider:

1 Sharing the pie with you last week was terrific!

The sharing was in the past

We certainly would not say, in general

2 *Having shared the pie with you last week was terrific!

Now, consider two people walking toward the kitchen to get a pie. The pie has not yet been shared, but one can say

3 Sharing the pie with you is going to be terrific!

We certainly wouldn't say

4 Will be sharing the pie with you is going to be terrific.

So, consider all the following:

Thanks for sharing the pie with me (last week).
Thanks for sharing the pie with me (right now).
Thanks for sharing the pie with me (when we get to the kitchen and eat It.)

Sharing the pie with you (yesterday) was fun.
Sharing the pie with you (right now) is fun.
Sharing the pie with you (tomorrow) will be fun.

So, to call sharing the "present progressive" is misleading. It can refer to the past:

Sharing the pie with Bill made me thirsty.

or future

Sharing the pie with Bill will make me thirsty.

Note that you can say

Thanks for having shared the pie with me, and this refers to a sharing that took place in the past. Choosing between this and the non-finite Thanks for sharing... might depend upon the speaker or customary phrasing.

  • Could you please try to put your answer on this question too: english.stackexchange.com/q/328911/170668 I'm puzzled with this question, i will be waiting for your answer – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 1:50
  • I don't think you understand what "finite verb" means and how it functions. There is no way that "shared" could be considered as a finite verb. Also, "shared" can never be called "past tense". Seriously? – user24743 Jun 1 '16 at 15:01
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    I like your delicious example:) BTW, I wonder whether you are an epiqure;)) – user33000 Jun 2 '16 at 10:31
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I think the asker of the question is correct that the perfect aspect of the gerund is the more correct construction. That is, Thanks for having shared thisconveys the thought more exactly than Thanks for sharing this, unless there's some implication that perhaps (the file?) is still being shared and the listener is being thanked for the continued sharing.

However, colloquially (in American English at least), most speakers (unless being formal) would use the progressive gerund form in most contexts.

One source describes the perfect gerund as such:

Perfect gerund and infinitive forms are used to emphasize completion in both the past and the future.

The key point is that these constructs are used to emphasize completion, but in modern usage that emphasis is not strictly required.

In fact, I would argue that the use of the perfect gerund in American English sounds somewhat archaic and is going into disuse, at least for speech. It has some idiomatic uses (e.g., Having said that, I would now like to argue the opposite.), but a typical speaker would probably not say:

Having watered the lawn, I'm ready to go to the movies now.[Very correct, but formal.]

That is certainly correct, but it just sounds rather formal. A typical speaker would use periphrasis to state the same thought (and modern English is generally going in that direction; i.e., substituting periphrasis for complex grammar):

I've watered the lawn, so I'm ready to go to the movies now. [Correct but less formal.]

Or even more colloquial:

I finished watering the lawn, so I'm ready to go to the movies now. [Note that I've said I finished rather than I've finished, using the more modern colloquial dropping of the perfect aspect.]

One could lament the downfall of civilization due to our corrupted modern grammar, or one could rather note that the periphrastic version (which is also the less formal) is more verbose but also more exact semantically, pointing out more explicitly the cause-effect relationship between the act of finishing the chore and the readiness for the next task.

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Just to bypass the thundering scholastic jargon we are more inclined to call these verbs as —ING form of verbs and they do no longer mean continuing action which is just a limited version in tenses. They may be present participles(v+ adj), gerunds(v+noun) or verbal nouns in between 'the' and 'of'.

In the answer, Thanks for sharing this, SHARING doesn't stand for any continuing action, but the name of an abstract concept. Be it a participle or gerund, it may mean either— continuing action or completed action as context demands. Sharing is a finished product, not work-in-progress.

We find nothing wrong with the answer where we are, in a way, saying that ' I thank you as you shared this.' The name, present participle is the root of all the evils!

protected by Community Nov 6 '17 at 15:38

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